how online backup works

Today I want to take some time away from our normal talks about training and racing and look into something that could seriously derail your training if it happens to you.

This danger has nothing to do with your bike. It’s not your diet or nutrition habits, either.

I’m talking about hard drive failure and other computer disasters.

Back when I started racing many years ago, my computer played virtually no part in my training. I created my training log template on my computer, but then I printed out a bunch of copies and recorded all my data by hand.

Today, I have a variety of logs and spreadsheets on my computer. I bet you do, too. You probably also have GPS tracks, power files, maps, digital training plans, workout videos, etc.

Not to mention, pictures from your rides in exotic locations and fun group rides with friends, and that treasured image of you winning the finish line sprint at the local Tuesday night crit!

That could all disappear if something happens to your computer.

Actually, let’s make that “when” something happens to your computer.

Your computer will fail eventually. The question is when.

The odds are in your favor initially – there’s only a 5.1% chance your hard drive will die in its first year – but 22% of drives are dying within four years.1 I’ve seen it happen more than once myself. Quite a few times if you count family and friends’ computers.

And that’s just hard drive failures. Other dangers, such as spilling coffee on your laptop, aren’t considered in the numbers (yet remain very real possibilities!)

Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent all this, and it’s called online backup.

In a nutshell, online backup allows you to store copies of your data (documents, photos, etc.) on other computers in remote locations. So if your computer dies, your data lives on, and can be easily restored to a new computer.

Now, I don’t want to sound too geeky here! 😉

So let’s just say that hard drives fail, accidents happen, and external hard drives can get lost. Online backup, or “cloud backup” as many people say now, is very important. It’s much cheaper than data recovery services, too.

Right now, I’m using a service called BackBlaze.

It’s probably the simplest online backup service there is. Once you install the software, it does everything for you. You only have to update the settings if you want to. It will automatically scan your computer, back up your files, and it will continuously back up your documents when anything is changed or added.

It works for both Mac and PC, gives you unlimited storage space, and costs only $50 per year.

Their website will give you more info on how it works.

If you wonder what really sold me on them, it was this:

backblaze keys to happy life

It says, “Keys to a happy life: Eat well. Exercise. And backup your computer.”

They share my philosophy!

There are a few other computer backup options, too.

Online backup is gaining popularity, and that means there are plenty of choices out there for backup services. Backblaze is what I use, but another might be the better choice for you.

For example, if you want a family plan to backup multiple computers, consider CrashPlan. I actually use CrashPlan’s software too and love it.

If $50/year is outside your budget, you could save a little bit of money using Zoolz, although it’s a newer service I’ve never used personally.

If you are extremely secretive and worried about security and privacy, consider SpiderOak, who pride themselves on how secure your data is with them.

Finally, for anyone who values a large company with a stable history, and will pay a premium for that, Mozy is the one for you.

Each has its merits, but for the average person, I think Backblaze is the best bet. I use it personally and pay for it out of my own pocket, after all.

Go ahead and download it – you’ll get a 30-day free trial to see if it’s right for you.

[I’ve used a variety of methods and services over the years so feel free to ask any questions in the comments or email me directly.]

Did I mention it makes a great gift?

fruitcake gift

Backblaze makes a great gift! If you know someone who saves important data on their computer but doesn’t yet know the importance of backing up that data somewhere else, online backup would be extremely useful for them.

It might not be an exciting gift, but it shows you care about them!

You get it instantly too! So if it’s Christmas eve, you still have time to order!

Visit their site and you can buy a gift subscription.

Note: Since I have my computer backed up, you’re welcome to send me a fruitcake!

Product Review Details
Company: Backblaze
Product: Backblaze Online Backup
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date of initial review: 2013-12-18
Date last updated: 2018-07-27
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer. Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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1. Statistics based on this study conducted by Backblaze. They’d be biased here, sure, but I expected the hard drives to fare worse than they reported.

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