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Data Backups while on the road

March 18, 2016
Backing up Data

Now days people travel with so many electronic devices that they often forget that they should continue their backup process (if they have one at all).  Whenever you use your GoPro, digital camera, or download music or videos you are adding new content to your devices.  Until you do a backup somewhere this is also the only location that this data exists.  Backups ensures that in the case of accidental file deletion, device failure or theft that you still have a copy of all your data.  There are a number of good strategies for backing up data while on the road.

There are a number of strategies for doing backups, but the single most important thing to remember is if you have one copy of a file and you lose it, you have none.  If you have two copies and you loose one, you still have one.   It is not always enough to have a backup.  A good backup routine should consist of two backups on two different media stored in two different locations.   This can get tricky when on the road.  But there are a number of strategies to help with it.

Backup types:

  1. USB keys or DVD’s- this is a good way to backup files selectively and usually requires manual backup being done
  2. USB hard drives- they are quite large and can often backup everything on a single drive.  They can also be configured via Microsoft File History or Apple Time Machine to automatically backup whenever the drive is connected.  This also makes it easy to encrypt data and in both cases the data is compressed to save storage space.  USB hard drives are quite cheap and you can often get several Terabytes for under $100 and when travelling you can often get 1 Terabyte in a ultra small drive like the WD Passport for under $100.  You can also manually backup devices like you iPhone to these drives as well.
  3. Online drives like Google drive, Onedrive and Apple iCloud.  These solutions will automatically backup devices like phones and tablets and will auto upload photos from your devices as well.  They can also be used to manually copy other files for storage as well.  There are also options to buy additional storage if you need it.  However these solutions need internet access and generous speeds and monthly caps which may not be ideal when you do not have access to free WIFI.
  4. Online Backup services like Carbonite.  These are excellent online backup solutions that provide encrypted storage that only you have the encryption keys to.  They also are more cost effective when you need very large amounts of data.  Like Online drives they also require internet access.  The business model of these solutions tend to be that it is very cheap or free to store online but it costs big money when you need to do a restore.

So how do you manage two different types of backup when on the road, especially when you have limited access to internet.  My solution of choice is using two WD 1TB USB hard drives.  I swap them back and forth regularly and always have one stored in the trailer secure and out of sight and one stored in the car secure and out of sight.  Once I get home I can also add the data to my alternate backup solution.  But the only way I could lose all my data while travelling would be if both my trailer and car were lost at the same time ie theft while the trailer is hooked up.  Otherwise it is very unlikely any theft or fire or other damage will affect both at the same time.

From → RV Tech

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