Fast Mac Backups for faster and safer workflow
Mac backups have always been something that I have found to be tedious and disruptive. When Apple introduced its Time Machine backup system it looked to be a very promising option for backing up work. Time Machine is great for creating snapshots that you can easily revert back to in a very visual way. It is perfect if you are just working with small documents on your Mac, but for people working with large images and video it is simply too slow. Even with the fastest USB 3.0 solid state external hard drives Time Machine can be very slow to create backups. Forget about trying to do large daily backups over a wireless network drive, you will need to leave your Mac on pretty much 24/7 and connected to that same network which is obviously not ideal, especially when using a laptop.
I am not saying that Time Machine is not an invaluable tool, but the last thing you want is to lose work in the middle of working on a project. Some work you can spend time trying to redo, but if you lose for example any footage from a location shoot then you are in trouble. Those little sprints of time you spend working on projects are always time sensitive and you cannot afford to spend time worrying about redoing work.
Just for my piece of mind I always make sure to do a full drive backup at the end of each work day using Carbon Copy Cloner. You can buy this for £27.50 but there are other options out there like SuperDuper. Carbon Copy Cloner is a great little tool that allows you to do everything from backing up selected files and folders to creating fully bootable backups of drives. It also offers some features for automatic backups if you choose to work in that way. A fully bootable backup can initially take a few hours depending on how much data you are backing up, but once it is done it will only backup and archive changes on the drive. I have found that backing up selected files is a very quick process even with large files.
Although nowadays there is a huge shift in to working and backing up in the ‘cloud’ using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and iCloud we are simply not at a stage where this is fit for purpose. I have tried this workflow using fibre lines with huge up and down speeds of up to 1gbps and it is still not quite there yet. I am a big fan of a lot of the new cloud storage services and use them a lot day to day, but I think for now the external hard drive is still the best option to keep your large project files backed up and safe.