Online Backup Solutions for Artists

October 9, 2013by NormThoughtsTips and Tricks0



Last week a friend of mine had a scare with his computer. As computers will do, his PC hard drive decided to just die on him. As you can imagine he had the normal response for someone put in this situation “Oh no what have I lost!”. It turns out that he had almost all his client work backed up but he lost some of his personal work and years of accumulated information. I thought that now would be a good time to share my online backup solutions I’ve used.

Upfront I’d like to make a confession. I am really anal about backing up my artwork and computer. I’ve worked hard to create my collection of work for the last 15 years and I couldn’t imagine losing it to a fire, my computer being stolen or a hard drive crashing. Especially now that I work mostly digitally it is important that I am always backed up. Not only for my sake but also the clients I work with. I work on a Mac and use the Time Machine backup software that Apple offers with their operating system, but that is still only on-site backup which would not help against fires or other disasters to my office. So here are the three online backup solutions I’ve used.

The first backup option I’d like to talk about is Dropbox. For a basic plan its free and you get 2 gigabytes. You installed the Dropbox app on your computer and then start placing files in the folder called “Dropbox”. Anything you put into this folder will be synced with your Dropbox account. All your files are also accessible via the Dropbox web site. The drawback that dropbox has is that it’s not an automatic backup service. You have to put your files in a particular place on your computer for them to back it up so this wouldn’t cover your applications folder or anything on your system. To me this is a service that is great for transferring files but as an online backup service it’s a little lacking. We all know that artist’s files can get rather large quickly so you’re free two gigabytes will fill up fast and even if you’re paying for the service it won’t back up your entire computer. If you’d like to learn more about dropbox check out this other article I wrote.

The next online solution I tried was Carbonite. Carbonite starts off with 3 home plans—the $59 per year Home, $99 per year HomePlus, and $149 per year HomePremier. I got going with the standard Home version and found it to work great with a few stipulations. Carbonite installs software on your computer and the software will continuously backup your data to carbonates servers. Great feature. Not having to remember to back up my files was awesome. Once it had backed up all my files my files were accessible through a web-based interface when away from my computer. They also offer an application for smart phones that let’s you see your files as well. They also offer a feature that if your computer dies you could use Carbonite’s application to restore all or some of the files. The “Home” plan offered unlimited back up storage of one PC which was great for me but any other computers in my office were left high and dry. Other things that Carbonite left high and dry are; video files, data on external drives and files over 4GB. Some of Carbonite’s competitors let you back up more than just one PC to your account, but they normally have data caps.

If you would like to try Carbonite for your self you can try their free 15-day trial.

Which brings me to CrashPlan. The reason why I switched from Carbonite was they were offering a special that if you signed up you got a years worth of service for five dollars. It was a great deal and I’ve found that CrashPlan offers specials like this fairly often. I signed up for CrashPlan’s service called CrashPlan+. It offers a lot of the same features that Carbonite offers but the real benefit to CrashPlan is that I can back up 10 computers on my one account. Now, this isn’t the basic plan which is one computer Unlimited Storage for $60 a year. The multiple computer plan now lets me save all my important data on all my computers. Now that I have a little one, I need all those precious photos of him growing up backed up. Maybe most importantly, it is very simple and intuitive to set up on all my computers. Which is great because backing up my data is very important to me. If it was a pain I would be less likely to do it and subsequently my family members would probably never do it. The price for this is a little steep at $14 a month or $150 a year but as I find my life becoming more and more “digital” I find it important to back up the important files and memories.

Try CrashPlan for free by signing up for a free 30-day account – no credit cards, no commitments.

I know there are lots of other solutions out there like Mozy and SOS Online Backup but these are the services I’ve tried and I wanted to let you know how my experiences have been. For additional information on online backup solutions, you can check out this comprehensive comparison chart of back up services and if you have any other suggestions for online backup or comments please let us know.

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