Back it up: A Cautionary Tale


On our last episode, we talked about tools we use to do our freelance work. We recorded it back in December, and when we released the episode I listened and had to laugh a little. I mentioned that I back up my hard drives to Backblaze--a cloud backup system. I'll be completely honest: I paid for Backblaze because my husband insisted on it. I resisted doing it for a while because I thought it would be time-consuming and I felt I didn't have time to do it. Luckily, I gave in, but I didn't really know how it worked. It took no time at all to set up the backup, and I quickly forgot about it. I went about my work and Backblaze just did its thing in the background.

Until January. My Macbook Pro had been randomly turning off in the middle of the night, disrupting my connected external hard drives. Then I couldn't get into the files on my 4 terabyte hard drive. And then I couldn't get into my 8 terabyte hard drive. My computer started shutting off more and more, particularly when I tried to work with the 4T drive. I spent many, many hours on the phone with Apple working on my computer. Ultimately, we were able to repair the 8 terabyte drive, but my 4T was toast. I could see the files, but I couldn't retrieve them or copy them or duplicate them--there was no way for me to get them. 

My next step was to take my external hard drive to a repair shop, in hopes they could do a disc recovery. I had to be prepared to spend a couple of hundred dollars and hope my files would be there. At this point I started to panic. This drive was about 3 terabytes full of photos. Lots and lots of photos... from my entire professional photography career. I had some photos on my photography website, but that was a fraction of the images I'd taken. I can't even guess how many files were on that hard drive.

Then my husband reminded me of Backblaze. With all other avenues a bust, I pulled up the website to see what could be salvaged. To my surprise and utter relief, I quickly found the 4T external hard drive information. The company offers several ways to get your backed-up files: zip file, flash drive and external hard drive. If I had fewer files, I could just download what I needed right there. But since I had so many, I sprung for the external hard drive. For $189, Backblaze sent me an external hard drive with all of the files that were on my fried hard drive. ALL OF THEM. Within 10 days! And in the meantime, I was able to download the files I needed for various projects from the website. The company offers a great option where you can return the drive for a refund, or you can keep it as your own.  I've finally finished transferring all of the files to another external hard drive, so I'm going to return the Backblaze drive.

Freelance Remuda, I'm here to tell you that backing up your files is really important. Back them up in a couple of places. More than one drive, and especially on a cloud. We use Dropbox and Google Drive for most of our work because it's easy to share files with clients and editors. For a hassle-free way to back up lots of data, I have to recommend Backblaze!

*I've added affiliate links to this post, but I've used Backblaze for a year now--it's a program that saved my tail so I wanted to share the information with you too!


Abigail Boatwright