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How to Backup Your Data: The Biggest Mistake in the Tiger King?

Watch the full video above or read the automated transcript below.

Hey, all you cool Cats and Kittens!

The Tiger King has taken the world by storm. It’s given us a very needed distraction. There’s definitely a lot of troubling things about it. The animal abuse, which I absolutely cannot stand or stomach, the human rights violations that we’ve seen portrayed in the show. And then there’s, there’s another topic which is what I really want to talk to you about today, which is probably, you know, one of the most shocking for me personally, and that is the abuse of data. Of course, it doesn’t compare to those other two. Let me be clear. I’m not comparing, but something terrible happened in the show and, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I want to just say this will contain spoilers. So I would recommend that if you care about that sort of thing, pause, go watch the show and then come back. So what am I referring to? I’m referring to Mr. Rick Kirkham. Bless his soul. He had all of his video footage for his documentary in one location and that location burned down and destroyed all of the video footage.

Oh, it’s so brutal. This could have been prevented. So what I want to talk to you guys today is really data backup best practices so that you can avoid that situation. Just don’t be like Rick Kirkham. So there’s actually a pretty simple rule when it comes to correctly managing your data to prevent loss. And it’s summarized by the three, two, one principle. Easy to remember. What does that actually mean? So it means that you should have three copies of your data and two of them should be local. Two of them should be on some sort of physical drive locally at your disposal that you can access. And then one of those copies should be in the cloud. So we’re going to talk about three two one and how it applies to different devices.

It’s important to think about the most important things on your phone, which is typically going to be photos. That’s going to be one of the biggest things that you’re gonna want to try to back up to make sure that those are protected and safe so you don’t lose those. Contacts are another kind of big thing that people worry about when it comes to data on their phone and then there’s kind of everything else, right? There’s app data, there’s all these other things. Okay, so I’m going to be talking about iPhone primarily because that’s what I have. That’s the platform I use the most, I’m most familiar with. There’s lots of other good Android resources out there, but when it comes to the phone, typically I actually don’t worry too much about doing a second local copy. So what you can do if you really wanted to do that would be you can go into iTunes and basically create a full copy of your phone. So you would plug it into your computer and then create a local backup.

Now, I don’t actually think that that’s necessarily what comes to the phone. And here’s why I say that. If you turn on the right cloud settings and you lose your phone, you won’t actually lose anything. You’ll be able to restore from the backup very easily and you’re going to feel like the phone is exactly the same. You’re going to have to log in and everything is going to be a pain in the butt. But I do think that that is primarily the the best path to go. So here are the settings that you want to definitely make sure are set correctly on your phone. So first is going to be some sort of photos storage. So again, photos of course are super important. Everyone take lots of photos on their phone. Fortunately you can turn on iCloud photo, which is Apple’s integrated photos backup solution.

So you go into your settings, you go into iCloud, and then you want to turn on iCloud photos. So that means a copy of your photo, whatever you take on your phone is automatically going to be uploaded to iCloud servers. And you don’t have to worry about it. It’s in the cloud. That’s the 1 principle, right? Then you have two options here that it gives you. So you can either optimize iPhone storage or download and keep originals. Now this is really just going to be dependent on the storage size capacity of your device, but it’s really just a practical setting. Do you need to really have the most highest quality version of every single photo or video you take live on your device? And the answer is probably not. So I would recommend checking optimize iPhone storage, which again still keeps the copy in the cloud.

You don’t lose the, the high-res original, that’s it saved in the cloud, but it just helps keep things a little bit lighter in terms of what’s actually saved on your device. That is the photo option. And on Android of course you have Google photos, which is their proprietary photo app and it’s going to work very similarly. So you can definitely back things up there. The next thing is contacts. Okay. And now contacts are a regular part of iCloud. And the trick is though, that you have to actually be storing your contacts in iCloud. And the way that you check that. So first of all, as as I was here, you have to turn on the switch, right? So this is part of iCloud. You have to flip that switch to on and just make sure that that is where your contacts are being saved.

And then again, you don’t have to worry about it. They are automatically backed up. Okay. So that is the two biggest, most important things that people are most worried about. And then there’s kind of everything else, right? And so that’s why it’s really important to turn on what’s called iCloud backup. And this automatically backs up data such as accounts, documents, home configurations, settings when the iPhone is connected to power locked and on wifi. So basically every night I plug in my phone and it’s obviously locked and it’s on wifi. And so, so this backed up last night at one in the morning. So I just let that run every night because I just know that it’s going to be backed up. This is important. If, again, if you lose your device for, for some reason you are able to restore from iCloud backup and pretty much get your phone back and pretty much the same place.

Apps are going to be in the same place, right? Everything’s gonna be there as you left it. So I think that that’s pretty cool. Pretty important. Something that you definitely want to do when setting up your device. You might run out of storage depending on the capacity that you have. And so, you know, it’s telling you how much storage you have and what types of things are using that up. You can share storage with your family so you can buy an iCloud storage plan that other people can also leverage, which is really nice. So you don’t have to have individual plans for everybody. It just really, again, depends on how many photos and videos you have and then you can just increase that storage capacity if you really need to. So that pretty much takes care of the phones. I don’t worry about this. The only thing that I would recommend is some sort of redundancy and redundancy is the keyword, right?

Redundancy is the principle behind this is that you don’t trust any one particular source to take care of everything. So for photos – these irreplaceable things that are really special. Those, I actually have two redundant systems. I have Dropbox, so I save a copy of all of my phone photos into Dropbox just as a secondary precaution. And then Amazon Photos. So if you’re a Prime Member, you have the ability to upload photos to Amazon Prime as much as you want. And so I think that’s just a good backup. I never trust any one solution completely or any one storage provider or any one company to forever take care of my data. So it’s about taking control of your own digital life and digital assets so that you just don’t have to worry about these things. So that is the phone. You know, when it comes to a computer, the three, two, one principle is a little bit more straight forward and actually applies a little bit more closely.

Right? Because you are more concerned about two copies of things locally. And then the third in the cloud when it comes to those local copies, this again is going to vary depending on your device. And so for Mac there’s actually a pretty straightforward way to do this and it’s something called Time Machine. So this is something that is in every single Mac computer in the world and it’s built in software that’s supposed to automate your backup process and recovery process to make it really easy again, to get that second copy. The easiest way to to install time machine is first of all, you just need to buy an external hard drive and what size do you need? Probably they recommend at least twice of the amount of size of the files that you’re going to be backing up. If it’s just your computer, which is for a lot of people, you know, you don’t necessarily have an external drives of additional storage, then it would be twice the size of your computer’s hard drive.

But you can go much bigger than that. The bigger you go, that’s totally fine. Basically, it just creates more version history of your files. So it just gives it more space to kind of do its work. Once you buy that external hard drive, you just hook it up to your Mac. And then the cool thing is that, you can just let that run in the background, right? So it is going to back up on a regular basis depending on the changes in the files that it detects as it’s working through. And the coolest thing about Time Machine is if again, oh man, God forbid something happens to your computer, your drive dies, you spill something on it. When you restore from Time Machine, you’re basically restoring everything exactly the way that it was, which is super cool. So it’s definitely a worst case scenario, easy way to get back up and running on your Mac computer.

And the other cool thing is, let’s say you make changes to a file, something happens and you did not mean to do that. You want to go back in time, get it and jump in that time machine and go to an earlier version of that file. You’re able to do that with Time Machine. So it’s going to store snapshots of files over time and you’re able to go back and restore your machine as if you were going back in time to that point in time before you know, whatever happened, whatever changes that you didn’t intend to make, you’re able to fix that. Right? So that is a super cool feature. Time Machine is easy to set up and honestly I just let it go. Just let it run right. Now let’s talk about the true online backup solutions that are out there. Okay. And there are several big players out in the market.

I personally use a software called Backblaze. So what Backblaze does is it’s a software that lives on your computer, Windows or Mac. And again, just like your internal local backup solutions, it’s constantly scanning your hard drives and monitoring for changes to files. Okay. When it detects that it is going to automatically send that file up to the cloud, you don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to do a thing. You can exclude certain areas from being backed up if you don’t want those sent up in the cloud, but it’s a really easy way to then send everything up to the cloud and you don’t have to worry about it. You can also do this with external drives that are attached. Backblaze is pretty affordable. I think it is, again, just an investment in that 3-2-1 to get that one copy off into the cloud.

And then the greatest thing about Backblaze is, so again, let’s say for whatever reason, God forbid all of your local storage options are destroyed. So a big fire comes through, water damage. So your main copy, copy one, copy two on your Time Machine on your external backup, that’s gone too. So Backblaze can send you a hard drive with all of your data on it. And it’s the quickest way to get back up and running if you run into that situation. Because then you know, instead of downloading gigabytes and gigabytes or terabytes of data, you have a drive, you can return that drive to them and get a refund back. So that is the reason why you would want to go with a cloud provider like that is there is a pretty quick way to get all your data back. Backblaze also has the ability to download and restore individual files, access files on mobile apps on iOS and Android.

So that’s another kind of bonus feature. I don’t personally use that that much because I just don’t, I haven’t had an issue yet. Now all this has been said, I’ve never had to restore something from Backblaze, knock on this particle wood. So guys, that is overall, again, how you can avoid data catastrophe. It’s really important. I know it’s a pain but now is actually a great time to do this because a lot of internet providers due to coronavirus have waived their data limits. So it’s a great time to upload and backup all of your stuff because you’re not going to have to worry about going over your, Comcast or AT&T data cap, which is usually around a terabyte. So for the average person, again, these solutions are going to work pretty seamlessly without a lot of hassle, but you have to set them up.

If you have any questions about how to set this up or anything, just leave them in the comments below. But again, this is super important, something that it should be part of your quarantine hygiene organization list of things to work on. So don’t be like Rick Kirkham – please back up your data. Thank you so much for watching this edition of Stuff Adam Likes. Stay well and stay home if you can. Thank you Healthcare heroes. We really appreciate everyone on the front lines. Just so important that we all kind of work together to flatten the curve. Whatever we can do. Thank you so much. Take care.

Tl;dr: Backing up your data is critical, but not everyone does it. If you’ve watched the Tiger King Netflix documentary, you know what I’m talking about. I review the basic principles behind a good backup strategy (3-2-1) and show examples of that in action, specifically with iPhone backup and Mac backup (although the principles similarly apply to Android and Windows computers). Then I share my pick for top online backup solution for both Mac and Windows.