A sweeping statement perhaps but this next product I am going to talk about literally made my life so much easier, I just have to recommend it to you.
The issue concerns making backup copies of your work – and it doesn’t just have to be work. It can be family photos, games, documents, well, anything computerised and digital really.
OK – so here’s the scenario – up until the middle of last year I was painstakingly backing up all my voice over files, emails, customer data, photos etc. once a week onto a 20GB hard drive, plugged into my computer via USB. Every Friday afternoon, I would wipe the previous copy of my data and upload the fresh and changed data to the drive and carefully place it on top of my PC for safe keeping.
Then I thought:
“What happens if there’s a fire in my studio?”
So I started to take my hard drive around to a friend’s house each week – not ideal, obviously, but this seemed like a more secure way of doing things.
Then I started to think that there must be a better way of backing-up my data – and a better use of my time! So I researched the online storage companies and frankly couldn’t come up with a solution (and a pricing point) that I felt comfortable with. There were companies offering underground storage in secure bunkers, old nuclear facilities, banks and tanks – but nothing that really suited my needs as a self employed voice over, working largely from a home-based vocal booth.
Then in July last year, a colleague, hearing about the ridiculous lengths I had been going to, to secure my data, recommended a product called Amazon S3. At first, I didn’t believe this kind of service existed, but after much research (I always look into these things to the n’th degree) I was amazed at how simple and effective this service really is.
To keep it brief, in 2006 Amazon (yes, Amazon the book people) , realised that they had created far too much storage for their ever expanding bookstore (OK, so they sell a couple of other items too) and decided to sell some of it off to developers. Now, at this point you had to be able to write techy-type code and API’s to actually access this storage so it wasn’t really for the likes of you and me (me, especially!).
Rolling on, 2007 brought a rash of companies providing simple, graphical, web-based interfaces to access the Amazon S3 storage offering. My favourite is Jungle Disk and I highly recommend it to you – it’s fantastic!
Very briefly, you can buy the Jungle Disk software for a one-off cost of just $20 (whatever that is in real money) and that includes lifetime updates (not great if you’re planning to die anytime soon). And then it just costs 15cents for each GB of data you upload – billed by Amazon. And yes, if you already have an Amazon account, you can use that.
So, why is Amazon S3 / Jungle Disk so good?
* Well, you can automate absolutely everything. You just “tell” Jungle Disk what to back-up (folders, files, photos, whatever) and it does this seemlessly, automatically and in the background at whatever time of day you specify. A good friend of mine backs up his email every minute!
* The Amazon network, I believe, is one of the most secure, stable and reliable storage networks out there. Amazon, quite simply, can’t afford to have any outages – after all, it’s their business!
* The restore process is extremely simple. If you actually do have a fire or other disaster, getting your data back from Amazon could not be more simple I know, I’ve tried!
Anyway, my advice to you would be to try it – you have nothing to lose and this service just might change your life too.
These days I don’t even think about storing and protecting my data on a Friday afternoon. I’ve got better things to think about – like going to the pub!
Check out: www.jungledisk.com – you wont regret it!