NEVER Use A RAID As Your Backup System!


Photographers acquire A LOT of images, and that translates to terabytes of data that need to be saved and protected.

Like their shooting styles, their archive/backup schemes can be just as diverse. From RAID systems, like a Drobo, to triple redundant drives, to no backup at all.

One of the first things to remember is that an archive and a backup are NOT the same.

Backing Up Your Data

To borrow a quote from a fellow photographer’s blog, “Repeat after me three times: RAID is not backup. Period.”

For those who never heard of it, RAID stands for “Redundant Array of Independent Disks” or “Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.” And for those who use the phrase “RAID array,” thats redundant.

The concept of a RAID is to combine multiple, less-expensive drives into a single, higher-capacity and/or faster volume. It is designed for redundancy so that the array and its data remain usable WHEN (NOT IF) a drive fails. The terms 1-disk or 2-disk redundancy refers to the number of drives that can fail with the array remaining usable.

There are many different types of RAID configurations:

RAID 0: Its primary purpose: faster performance. RAID 0 spreads the data across multiple drives. For example, block A is on drive 1, block B is on drive 2), and this permits increased write and read speeds. This is called striping.
RAID 0 offers no protection against drive failure, since this mode does not write any duplicate or parity information.

RAID 1: This mode writes and reads the same data to pairs of drives which is called mirroring. If either drive fails, you can continue working with the other until you can replace the bad one.

RAID 5: This mode is about both speed and redundancy. RAID 5 writes and reads from multiple disks, and it distributes parity data across all the disks in the array. Parity data is a smaller amount of data derived mathematically from a larger set that can accurately describe that larger amount of data, and thus serves to restore it. Since parity information is distributed across all the drives, any drive can fail without causing the entire array to fail.

RAID 5 needs a minimum of three disks to implement. Since data is read from multiple disks, performance can improve under RAID 5. This makes RAID very good for video editing systems.


Other options include RAID 6 or RAID 10, but they aren’t often found in consumer-level RAID units. RAID levels 2, 3, and 4 are not commonly used anymore.

The problem with considering a RAID as your backup is that it doesn’t help you with file deletion, corruption by applications, operating system or viruses.

So if you accidentally delete a file, it will instantly be removed from both mirrored copies. If your disk is corrupted by a software bug or virus, the corruption will be done to both mirrored copies simultaneously.

Having all the drives in one box that is being served by one power supply and controller has its problems too. A bad enough power surge will probably fry all disks in the RAID. If your house burns down… well, you get the point.

A RAID is still a single device and because of that, also a single point of failure.

None of this means you should not use a RAID. Many photographers I know love the DROBO system. This is fine. JUST BACK IT UP! (I have never used a DROBO, but for another photographer’s opinion on DROBO see Scott Kelby’s post here:

A BACKUP needs to be a complete and recoverable copy of your data that resides on a separate hard drive possibly even a RAID. Just DO NOT USE SOFTWARE THAT MIRRORS THE PRIMARY DRIVE TO THE BACKUP or you will run into the same problems as above with at RAID 1. Proper backup software will perform a full backup and then hourly or daily backups of changed files.

My operating system and work disk (containing the current year’s photography) is backed up daily using Apple Time Machine software and a SEPARATE 3-terabyte drive. The drive is also plugged into its own surge protector. This software does not mirror the primary drives but backs up files and changed files. This gives you the opportunity to go back and recover something that may have been accidentally deleted.

The work disk contains ALL RAW files from the current year.

Images that are worked up for publication are exported from Adobe Lightroom and stored on my Photoshelter Archive. I trust Photoshelter and their geographically redundant archive to protect those images. If disaster were to strike, I could still export the images again from the backed up Lightroom archive.

My ARCHIVE of RAW images is stored on a separate drive that contains the last two year’s work. These images are also backed up on the primary backup drive.


Every year I rotate the oldest year off to a small portable drive. For these backups of the archives, I use Western Digital My Passport 2-terabyte drives. They are small and easily portable for off-site storage.

Basically everything exists in two or three places.

Whatever method you use for backing up and archiving, make sure that your data is stored redundantly and housed in more than one place. It will be the only way to guarantee its safety.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!

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36 thoughts on “NEVER Use A RAID As Your Backup System!

  1. Looking at your diagram, am I correct that you have four separate drives coming off your desktop: one for the system software, one for work files, a third for images for the last two years and then a large 3TB drive holding everything? If so, mind if I ask what type of drives, sizes and enclosures you’re using for each of those. It also looks like you’ve foregone RAID. Are you using Time Machine for backups or making bootable backups with something like SuperDuper?

    • Hi PJ

      There are actually 5 drives attached to the Desktop machine, 4 of them are internal to the tower. (The system disk 500MB, work disk 2TB and 2 scratch disks 1TB each). The 3TB backup is external. All drives are Western Digital.

      I have a bootable backup of the system disk which is simply another internal drive that is not installed. I can pop it into a docking station that is generally used to diagnose disks if I need to boot from it. Of course since the system disk has nothing on it but the system and the applications, I can also do a pretty fast recover from TIME MACHINE of that drive if needed.

      Yes I use TIME MACHINE.

      The problem with the RAID 1 as your main drive is this. If you delete a file, it is deleted on the mirrored copy as well. Same issue with corruption. The drives in the enclosure mirror themselves in real time. The only thing a RAID 1 protects against is a crashed drive.

      RAID 5 would offer better protection and the RAID 5 draw is speed. But truly, unless you are doing a lot of video or sound work, I don’t see the need. AND even though you can recover from a crash, you should talk to people that have had to do so, IT CAN BE PAINFULLY SLOW to rebuild the failed drive. It is doing so by using parity data. It is not a simple copy to reload the data. Of course this drive would also have to be backed up. I am unclear as to whether you can recover a single deleted file from a RAID 5. Its main purpose is speed and ability to rebuild a lost drive.

      My laptop is backed up with TIME MACHINE to a portable drive. Here I am mainly concerned about the SYSTEM files and other things like accounting that I have on the laptop. I transfer daily work off each night, so I am not too worried about that. Usually by that time, worked up images are on the way to the client and have been sent to Photoshelter.

      Yes the small WD My Passport Drives are great for long term archive storage. I simply buy 2 at the end of every year. If you look for deals at Staples or Office Depot you can usually get one for about $120.00.

  2. Thanks for this article Pete – PERFECT timing for me and I plan to adapt this myself. I’ve had a Drobo, it was a nightmare, finally turning into a brick. As I rethink my backup system, I’ve gotten myself totally confused with RAID 0, 1, 5, etc. I embrace the concept of backup being more than drive failure replacement.

    If I use Time Machine to for my main backup, what [software] do you use for your on-site and off-site backups? I thought that TM could only backup a working computer – might you elaborate a bit if you drag and drop, or maybe use another program front the archived backups?



    • Hi Greg. I do not have an off site backup for the general system. The image files from each year are exported from Lightroom as a catalog to separate externals for off site. And of course all of the “worked up” images are stored on PhotoShelter.

  3. Pete,

    I have just spent the best part of the day looking for a longer term solution to back up my photography. I have learnt a lot about the pros and cons of RAID and proprietary systems to then find your article, the best on the net for my purpose. It also turns out that it is pretty much what I am already doing, though I am doing it manually. What software do you us for your differential backups? (possibly time machine? I am PC so if that is the case I will need to explore some more).

  4. Use a Seagate 1 TB USB drive, built in software allows you to choose the time of day and daily schedule of the backups to the drive. I will be using a 6 drive Raid 10 solution for a t620 enterprise server. I will be using the Seagate for a backup of the sql database. The seagate will be left in a fireproof safe with a hole in the back for wiring.

  5. Nice right up. Raid 5 is not for speed, its actually slow on rebuilds. Raid 0 is for speed then raid 1 then raid 10. Raid 0 if one drive fails you are dead. Raid 1 you can loose one drive and still keep working. Raid 6 and raid 10 can loose 2 drives with 6 being slower on rebuilds. Raid 10 is probably the best for speed with Raid 6 being better for getting more space per drive when you go past 4 drives. None are for backups but for preventing downtime and data loss.

    But I think your backup drive should be raid 6 or 10. ZFS files system is also nice to prevent bit rot. Lets say you need your backup and its on just a solo drive and that drive has bad sectors. That backup is no good. That same backup on a good raid with zfs is very unlikely to ever go bad. Of course if the building they are in blows up then its all gone so offsite is smart.

    • I think RAID 1 can be used for redundancy, but not backup. As the author here write, if you delete one file, you delete them both – this is true also of some backup schemes, though also.

      I think RAID 1 will beg you back up and running faster than no raid at all. But I am inclined to agree, redundancy is not quite the same as a backup. For day to day recovery from mistakes or misplaced files, a regular backup is better. But I am not so convinced that it replaces RAID 1 for a catastrophic failure. I think both backing up files and RAIDing systems is a best approach.

  6. Thanks for this article – I just read one today suggesting to use RAID – for now, due to the small volume of photos, I use a couple of external drives to save my work.

  7. I was about to impulse buy a Drobo and at the last minute I found your article! Thanks! It gave me the pause I needed to do some research first! I’m sticking to my three WD My Passport drives for now.

  8. Great article, its january 4th and Im sitting here wondering if I need to change my system… a disc has just got filled up, so I need to buy new ones…. I use large storage discs and back them up with chronosync, which is excellent. Many thanks for this piece, it helps to know that Im not the only one with this eternal headache! Mark (interior and lifestyle photography) (Fine leather camera straps, made in England)

  9. The biggest issue with RAID are the unrecoverable read errors.
    If you loose the drive, the RAID has to read 100% of the remaining drives even if there is no data on portions of the drive. If you get an error on rebuild, the entire array will die.

    A UER on SATA of 1 in 10^14 bits read means a read failure every 12.5 terabytes. A 500
    GB drive has 0.04E14 bits, so in the worst case rebuilding that drive in a five-drive
    RAID-5 group means transferring 0.20E14 bits. This means there is a 20% probability
    of an unrecoverable error during the rebuild. Enterprise class disks are less prone to this problem:

  10. Questions:
    Q1 a&b: What is is the problem with Raid-1 using Time Machine? …Won’t I end up with TWO Identical Time Machine on the Raid-1 external drive dedicated to back-ups using Time Machine program? … that isnt that superior to having just a single external drive back-up?

    Maybe there’s something I don’t understand in your article “NEVER use Raid for a back-up”. I will appreciate your answer as I plan to purchase a Western Digital “My Book Thunderbolt Duo 4TB Dual-Drive with RAID” to replace an older 2TB “Iomega Companion for Mac’ that I’ve using… and use the new WD MyBook external drive in Raid-1 conficuration so I always have two back-up time-machine copies of everything.

    My thought is that for additional back-up security, I could even switch out one of the removable/replaceable drives in WD “MyBook Thunderbolt Duo 4TB Dual-Drive with RAID” the on a weekly so I have also have an offsite copy thats no more than a week-old at any given time in case of fire other catrastophe at the physical site of my digital workstation.

    Any answer or further explanation will be appreciated. Thanks

    Becase the WD …. and a third off site if I follow-thru w/ the

    • RAID software instantly mirrors one drive to the other in the RAID. If your time machine backup software fails or corrupts during the backup, both sets of data will be corrupted.

      RAID gives redundancy, IT IS NOT a backup. Yes you can use a RAID array as your backup drive, BUT if the array fails you still need a backup that is stored on an entirely different physical disk. The second drive in a RAID 1 array IS NOT that different disk.

      When you configure the RAID 1, you will never see two drives mounted on the desktop. If one of the drives in the RAID fail, you will be notified by software that the drive needs to be replaced and once you do, the firmware will rebuild the mirror. RAID 1 is NOT an automatic backup!! But in situations where you cannot tolerate downtime, this will keep you running until you can make repairs.

      The best best option is to use TWO SEPARATE DRIVES for backup and let Time Machine do the work and eliminate the complexity of the RAID.

      Time Machine can be configured to work with multiple drives and alternate backups between them. This way if one of the backups were to fail, the other will be available.

      Hope this helps.

  11. Thanks for this! I found extremely helpful. I’ve inherited a small personal library of some pretty great footage. It all on lives one shared RAID drive. Editors work directly on this drive and once their down they create a new folder called, “exports” but it still lives on the shared RAID.

    I’m trying to fix this, and feel a bit lost in the process.

    Here’s how I understand the workflow (please correct me if I’m wrong):

    Original files get imported into the RAID as a new project name (with a batch rename of all files for future ease). This gets backed up through Time Machine at the end of everyday. Editors can then go in and create complete projects, which will ALSO get backed up through Time Machine.

    HOWEVER, what about an off-site storage. This is where I’m getting lost. How often do you have to bring the off-site 3 TB drive to get updated? Does it automatically know which files are new and where they belong? How do you make sure projects stay complete and together when it backs up and updates files?

    Thanks in advance!

  12. When I was looking to backup my RAW photos and files in general, first of course I do ue time machine. But, I wanted offsite data (home office) and looked at dropbox as a solution. I can backup the same data as I do on time machine and it has the added feature of being able to recover deleted files (extra fee). Now I’m also looking into Amazon’s cloud storage, haven’t looked into it much beyond around $70 a year for unlimited storage. If that’s true, I could even mirror my time machine if I wanted.

    Is using multiple cloud storage for backup like this come off as just inane or is it a practical solution for backup? If Amazon is basing their cloud on their S3, wouldn’t it be both reliable and with unlimited storage, can both mirror time machine and store older data in conjunction with other cloud services which now includes Microsoft getting into the game with enormous storage at a very low price.

    I don’t know where and how secure dropbox is if they had a major failure, but certainly Amazon and Microsoft are likely to be secure even if major failures occur.

    One last note is that while it’s not a cloud solution yet, Google has nearly completed their system for “perfect” reliability. Impossible for their search engine and the data they collect to be lost.

  13. Hi!

    Your article is very learnable to read, as I the last four years used to save all my photos I´ve been taking the last 10 years on a RAID 0 using two 1 TB internal hard drives.

    Last week, the PC lagged and there was some strange clicking noise from it, and after rebooting, I get an error message the RAID 0 was failure and it will take a long time to start Windows. And in the BIOS I can see only one of the disc´s can be reqognized.

    I know I should blaim myself to be stupid for having no backup! But may it be some change to retrive some of the lost data, without leave to a professional costing up to $1000?
    Are all files splitted to the two disc´s, or may some files be at only one of the disc to maybe be recovered if take the RAID away?
    And if I try do so, can´t it be set as RAID 0 later if I will then try to start the bad disc again? Or maybe I should try the freezer method!?

    Best regards: Mikael Markstrom

  14. Very helpful info – thanks.
    Just as a side note ~ I came here as my Time Machine backup has failed. So I’m not sure it is trustworthy software. I have random folders & subfolders to the tune of 150GB missing from my 800GB TM backup. Apparently your OS X system records of what has been modified can get errors & then that stuff is ignored by the TM backup over time. Luckily I noticed this before I actually needed the backups!

  15. another problem with RAID: even the most elegant pre-configured solution in the market, Drobo, has tremendous risks, as famous photographer/author Scott Kelby complains in 2012-06 there’s no point in raid that constantly monitors the health of HDs & auto-shifts data to healthy drives if the drives keep failing due to software/os/virus/shortcircuit etc. + if you use proprietary system as Drobo you can’t plug drives into different system to recuperate files

  16. Hello everyone! When I recently upgraded my internal drive on my iMac 2009 27″, with a new HDD combined with an SSD for the OS and applications and found out that although we technically have a infinite amount of knowledge and information about back-up systems we seem to omit talking about the actual experience of having to restore your system within our blogs, which in my opinion is just as crucial. The user thus has to search about restoring a computer, which to my opinion requires just as must research than the time spent on understanding back-ups. Why are both subjects so appart from one another. For months I spent time looking up solutions (softwares and hardwares) and they all sell how good they are with backing up and how easy it is restoring, which to my surprise IS NOT as simple as one might think. From a blogger (and god thank him) I took the following precaution which saved me a huge headache. Even before I started, I created a bootable drive on a USB key in order to install my OS back onto the new SSD. From what I read and experienced, this saved me huge problems not mentioning a lot of time!

    I also found out that Time Machine has issues with backing up huge files and often stops the restore process when the size of files are too big. If you use softwares such as iPhoto and Aperture and your libraries are consolidated, then that creates an issue you would not have with a “Referenced” library. Look this subject up.

    This being said, I feel that regardless of your approach with back up systems, you need to test and document restoring your back ups before you system does crash. This will ensure the user has a plan and knows how to proceed when all fails!!!…..


  17. RAID, especially RAID 1 (AKA Mirroring, is indeed a viable backup solution. However, it is NOT a whole backup solution. In the heyday of the mainframe, before PCs and the Internet, mirroring data was highly desirable way to backup your data.
    The reality of how safe your data is using TAID is contingent upon severak factors::
    1. What level of redundancy do you really need?
    2, How much do you Have to spend?
    3, How well protected is your data>?
    Most home users do not require 24/7 by 365 uptime. Some businesses might. This will determine how deep your redundancy needs to be…. RAID, Mirrored disks with dual controllers, Mirrored systems ae all options depending on specific needs. The bottom line is that RAID mirroring protects against a single disaster; hard disk failure. It does that very well.
    However if you get hit by a virus, accidentally delete data or have corruptions not causd by hardware failure, RAID will most likely not help you. Remember that hard disks are mechanical devices with are expected to fail eventually. This is the specific purpose of mirroring.

  18. Mike Chambers is exactly right.
    I would like to point out that there are software and hardware RAID solutions with hardware being the preferred and safer option.
    My workstation has a single RAID 5 array consisting of three 2TB SAS drives plus one hot spare. If one drive fails, the hot spare is automatically used to rebuild the volume. The RAID controller’s software would have notified me of the impending failure, actual failure, hot spare rebuild…etc. I also use a RAID 5 NAS device with the same configuration. Unfortunately, off-site/cloud backups are not an option due to my bandwidth limitations. Any single hardware RAID option is superior to a single external drive and I would feel much better having a good RAID 5 setup over multiple external USB drives. The only benefit to external USB is its portability.

    • Anyone who just uses a RAID as a backup is asking for trouble. As Mike Chambers said…. “RAID mirroring protects against a single disaster; hard disk failure.” Also, if you delete a file, it is deleted on the mirror. If a file corrupts, there is a excellent chance it will corrupt on the mirror. Saying that off-site backups is not an option is ridiculous. You may not be able to use a cloud option because of the bandwidth, but you still need off-site backups. of the RAID. RAID IS NOT A BACKUP.

      For more information please read:

  19. Yeah??? But Raid1 is my backup! What happens if your 3 tb drive crashes? Everything older than two years is gone unless you got another backup some wheres. Get another 3TB drive and make a 3TB raid 1 array. Don’t use Raid 1 for your main drive. Instead, use it for you 3TB backup system. Make incremental backups to the Raid 1 backup system Any file you accidentally delete from your main drive will still be available on your Raid1 backup device. If one of the 3 TB drive crash, you will still have your data on the other one. Never delete data from the Raid 1 array. Let your backup software do that. I use raid1 for a backup up array. It works fine without all the difficulty trying to use Raid1 for your main drive entails. Yes, a raid1 main drive is not good idea for data preservation. Instead, it’s better used for main drive to allow a system to keep running if one of the hard drives fail. Put data somewhere else. I do incremental backups to my Raid1 array all the time. It works fine. It doesn’t delete a file from the backup when that file is no longer present on the main drive. I don’t let it delete anything I don’t want deleted. Deleting something on my drain drive doesn’t cause the file to be deleted from my backup raid1 array. I use Ubuntu’s Backup utility to backup my data to a software Raid1 on another machine. The incremental backups take no time at all. Use the imagination! Main drive raid1?? Nah, not for data preservation! Instead, backup your data somewhere else. That way, if you accidentally delete a file from your main drive, you can go get it from your raid1 backup device. You can even get older versions of the file from your raid1 backup device if you changed it at some point.

    • You apparently did not read the post closely. If the 3 TB drive (this is actually now a 6TB drive) crashes I get a new one and back up the system again. It is the BACKUP not the work disk or the system disk (these are on two separate drives). As for the drive with the last two years of work, if you look at the bottom of the diagram, there is a separate drive with each years work stored in a watertight case on site. There is also another copy of each of those drives in a safe deposit box.

      Now when talking about your RAID1, you say “If one of the 3 TB drive crash, you will still have your data on the other one.” Yes that is true, UNLESS there is a controller error (which effect BOTH drives), or if the data on the first drive corrupts (and this happens), it will automatically be mirrored to the other. If the RAID software reads garbage from the first drive, it WILL write it to the second drive. It does not know it is garbage. The software does not know if a file is corrupt, it is all 0’s and 1’s and they all get copied. RAID doesn’t protect you against a file being deleted or overwritten.

      One last thing, there is also a difference between a backup and an archive. Backups are for a recovery process and archives are for the retrieval of information. Backups are copies and archives are originals. Backups are usually done with proprietary technology and archive technology is usually open standards, so material can better be retrieved years from now.

      The idea behind archiving is to take that material out of your system and putting it somewhere safe.

      • I can’t argue your points. They all seem valid to me. I originally didn’t understand that your approach had backups offline. I’ve heard that I don’t need to be able to read fast, I just go to be able to read! However, I don’t differentiate between archives and backups since my system contains every data file I ever created and which I want to keep.
        To prevent loss of data, I back up my system routinely to a raid 1 array. I recovered a couple files I accidentally deleted from my system. Otherwise, I’ve never had to use it. After the initial backup, I make only incremental backups since it seems unnecessary to backup something I already backed up before. If the array completely fails, where it isn’t recoverable, then I still I have my original data and can simply create a new array after replacing the failed components on the backup device. I was only suggesting that Raid 1 is a perfectly suitable medium for backup data. The idea is not to run the system on a raid 1 array and expect that you don’t have to backup. Instead, run a raid 1 array for on another device for backups. To loose data, I need to have my mains system drive crash as well as both drives in the Raid 1 array. I feel lucky!

  20. Just FYI, Drobo is NOT a RAID array. It performs in a similar way to RAID, but with a lot fewer restrictions (i.e., maintaining disk order, same disk sizes, etc.) Having said that, you are correct about disaster recovery vs. archiving.

    • This post was written originally before DROBO deployed their “BeyondRaid” technology. But truthfully, the only thing scarier to me than the traditional hardware based RAID would be a proprietary software based RAID.

  21. Wow, amazing wealth of info here. I may have missed it, but where do I learn how to setup a RAID 5? I do tons of HD video editing on my MacBook Pro and have almost filled all THREE of my external 5TB USB 3.0 drives (yes, 15TB is a lot!). I think what I want to do is connect them together as one (a RAID 5) and then have another setup as a backup. This would avoid the nightmare of plugging drives in and out and trying to figure out which things have been backed up.

    Sound logical / correct ?

    If so , how do I create the RAID 5?

  22. I must say for a Non tech (I am assuming that) or in your case a photographer you are quite adept and your methods are solid. You can recover data from Raid drives but it will be expensive. Have had to do it several times in my career for clients that simply had no backups or never tested the backups. Never lost data in 25 years in IT doing storage and Server management. Not that I am sure it is possible data is irrecoverable but I have been lucky enough to always be able to recover though it has cost some big dollars a few times for the client that did not listen.
    I have trained many Photographers and Photo Booth Operators and know that you are a very smart group in general. Rarely am I asked more questions after the first 6 months unless its things outside the scope of the shop they are running.
    As to Raid I would highly suggest Synology devices for your backups. They are extremely well made, very versatile and I have heard so many positive experience reports and few bad ones. I do agree 100% in the policy of having 2 backups of your data. One is simply not enough. Plus an offsite cloud copy is a great idea as it is so inexpensive. BackBlaze is $50 per year unlimited for one machine. Other deals offer 1 TB at $50 a year unlimited machines and there are offers with Synology now for some cloud backup that is very reasonable such as $10 TB per month. Amazon has a new low cost offering as well. JungleDisk is another excellent choice. For Windows software SyncBackPro is excellent as its Touch add on software can backup even Android phones. Quite amazing,

    So if it was my choice I would have Raid 1 on the OS drive and I agree as you stated it is only to avoid being down if a hard drive fails as it serves no other purpose. But it does that very well and drives fail. I just built a Raid 1 SSD machine for a client. He loves it.
    Next a Raid backup unit and as large or as small as you need are available and Synology has been extremely solid from low end to high end.
    Lastly a USB hard drive as secondary backup. An 8TB USB Drive from Seagate is $250. So you really could buy several if needed or smaller drives if not including the Passports you are using which are just fine or the smaller Seagate backup drives.
    Great writeup but I believe the most important thing is off site backup as well as on site. If you use only 1 drive for OS and data, then 1 USB drive for local daily backup (using TM is great) and then something in the Cloud with a copy of the local backup drive should be the minimum. That way it would be very hard to lose everything especially if you use a good cloud backup with differential backups allowing you to go back as many days as needed to get before possible corruption or the Spyware that Encypts your data and holds it hostage till you pay. The FBI says you should pay. Seems like they must be behind it to say that. Why not say HAVE DAILY BACKUPS. JungleDisk is a perfect cloud backup system. I sell it but I am not giving my links here as I mention it only because it is great. Go to their website and try it..

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