IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding what constitutes a good backup
Deciding what hardware and software to use for backups
Backing up one Mac (or several) with Time Machine
Cloning your startup disk
Storing backups online
Keeping backup media safe
Using a RAID to protect against drive failures
Of all the security measures you can take to protect the data on your Mac, backups are among the most important. Think about all the valuable information on your hard disk: photos of your kids, years worth of email correspondence, your unfinished novel, business and tax records, and countless other files. If your Mac were to be stolen; if its data were to be damaged by a hacker, malware, or simple user error; if a disaster such as a fire or an earthquake were to strike; or if some electronic or mechanical error were to make your machine nonfunctional, you could lose any or all of it. Good backups provide peace of mind and enable you to recover from almost any type of data loss.
Even if you don't need to be convinced to back up your Mac, the specifics of how you go about doing so may be unclear. There are lots of products claiming to be the ultimate backup solution and lots of ways you can approach the problem of how to keep your data safe. In this chapter, I provide an overview of the backup landscape, help you decide what to back up and how, and address some of the common myths and misunderstandings about backups.