Off-Premises Backup using iDisk (MobileMe)


I’ve been using DTP 1.x since about 2006 and absolutely love it (my life revolves around this application) :smiley: I don’t use it for academic research or anything, just personal/household documents that I wanted to create digital archives of and shred the original document. After 3 years of use, I’ve become obsessed with my data and now hate really having any paperwork lying around.

Now that I’m getting older… I have started to worry more about backups of my data. I use Time Capsule for all 3 of my Macs and it backs up hourly, so I know my data is sort-of safe locally. However, I’ve started to become paranoid about possible loss of data through fire/theft/water damage etc. This has got me thinking that I should really have off-premises backup of my DTP db. I have MobileMe and just recently noticed that I can “clone” my iDisk to my local finder, thus allowing me to work on files directly in my local replica of iDisk, which then gets synchronised up to the cloud.

Now… What I’m thinking is… If I store my DTP database on my local iDisk, and work with it locally, all changes etc would be synced to the cloud and therefore basically “off-premises”. I’d be happy knowing that if anything horrible should happen to my setup in my house, then at least my data is safe in the cloud.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this approach? My main concern would be data security in the cloud, i.e. do you think MobileMe is safe enough to store my personal/financial records? Also, what about reverse-curruption? i.e. if something should corrupt my db in teh cloud, would this replicate down to my local iDisk and basically destroy my DTP db on local?

Any input would be great thanks… Colin

I wouldn’t trust any cloud as the backup of last resort. For what you pay Apple annually for MobileMe, you could have a safe deposit box at a local bank and keep your data offsite there. (Buy two drives; swap them.) Personally, I don’t put anything I really want into a cloud without also having a hard, physical copy someplace where I can see it, hold it, and control it. One can never fully trust and control clouds. Remember, Apple not long ago without warning changed .Mac into MobileMe and changed terms and services. It can do it again.

Thanks for the input korm. I’m not a fan of having to physically organise a bank safety deposit box, and all the hassle that comes with taking manual backups on ext drives… plus there is the logistics of actually managing to get to a bank during office hours, which is not possible for where I work (in the middle of nowhere).

I’m like you too… I don’t really trust my data being in the cloud, but it’s the only solution I could think of that would require practically no manual intervention.

Anyone else have any thoughts/ideas?

You don’t have to leave your extra harddrive in a safety deposit box. Mine lives at my husband’s work (he has an office door that locks!)

Good Luck.

I use the cloud (Mozy) as a secondary off site backup and while Mozy still has restore issues See:

It still only forms a third (and experimental) part of my backup system. Read Bill_DeVille’s comments in particular as they contain excellent advice.

Off site doesn’t have to mean a long way away. For example, I store my external backup in my shed which is well separated from the house. If you are on good terms with your neighbours or have a relation that is close by you might see if you could use their place as off site storage.

At my former place of work we had a small ‘fireproof’ safe that we stored our daily backup tapes in. Perhaps you might see if you could get hold of a small, second hand ‘fire proof’ safe?

As part of my backup drive equipment I have recently purchased a Newertech Voyager Quad Interface Docking Solution. This allows me to buy drives without cases (cheaper) and rotate them easily for offsite storage. An anti stat bag for each of the drives would help protect them from Electro Static Discharge.

Hope that this food for thought.

Re iDisk/MobileMe, we don’t recommend trying to run a database and/or synch a database among multiple computers on MobileMe at this time. (But the DEVONtechnologies Skunk Works has a project for that.)

However, DEVONthink Pro/Office 1.0 pb7 includes scripts for saving compressed database archives to iDisk or JungleDisk – Scripts > Export >.

wongaone, thanks for the mention of that Newertech device. I immediately ordered one. That’s a lot more convenient than swapping drives in and out of external cases. ‘Naked’ hard drives have gotten really cheap these days, and are great for offsite backups of my databases and photo collections.

The first hard drive I saw for an Apple II had 4 MB storage space and cost $4,000. Yes, that was rated in megabytes, not gigabytes. :slight_smile:

A few years later I got a 15 MB hard drive for a bit more than $1,500 and it ran a pretty large database containing thousands of solid waste site inspection reports and enforcement actions for several years. The database was “smart” enough to produce reports for inspection and/or enforcement action followups and schedules. (Back then, you had to write your own databases.) After some 5 or 6 years the department moved to a centralized mainframe for all data systems and spent millions for software development – which was never able to match some of the reporting capabilities of that little Apple II system, and often ran more slowly to print reports. Progress, it’s wonderful!

Do0d! The Corvus was awesome!

I use BackJack for offsite backup. Backups are all they do, so they have encryption, redundant servers, and all that good stuff. I would not trust something like iDisk that is intended primarily for file sharing.

Read labels for “fireproof” safes very carefully. Paper can tolerate much higher temperatures than electronic media, and most low-end safes are only rated for paper. I looked into this option a few years ago and decided a bank safe deposit box was much more cost effective.