Raging Swan Press’s lifeblood—our books, source files, original art and so on—is all electronic. They are our greatest asset. Losing them would be catastrophic for the business.
As the owner of an online business, I take back-ups tremendously seriously. Peace of mind and data security are beautiful things. It should come as no surprise, then, that I have a robust and comprehensive back-up strategy. If you publish from home, you should as well.
Like many things, simple is best, when it comes to back-ups.
Automatic Desktop Back-Ups
I do the bulk of my work on my desktop machine—a M1 Mac mini. Thus, it enjoys the most comprehensive backup strategy.
Automatic Back-Up #1: My desktop uses Time Machine to back-up via USB-C to a Samsung T5 SSD. The system backs-up automatically every hour. (Time Machine backs-up the entire machine so in theory I could plug the SSD into a new Mac, restore it and be back in action in mere hours).
Automatic Back-Up #2: My desktop uses Time Machine to back-up via ethernet to an Apple Time Capsule. The system backs-up automatically every hour. The Time Capsule uses a spinning hard drive so at some point I'll have to upgrade it, but as a back-up back-up it is more than adequate).
Manual Desktop Back-Ups
Manual Back-Up #1: Every Friday, I plug in another Samsung T5 SSD. Time Machine automatically detects its presence and runs a weekly back-up. For this back-up, I have two SSDs in rotation and one is stored offsite. I switch them around every two weeks or so.
Manual Back-Up #2: Every Friday, I plug in a Kingston USB key which I always carry (except when I’m running) with my keys. Carbon Copy Cloner (another excellent back-up tool) detects the presence of the drive and automatically backs-up my Raging Swan Press directory (not my whole desktop) to the key. All I have to do it plug it in; everything else is automatic.
Doing my manual back-ups takes under ten minutes a week. That's time well spent, in my opinion.
Automatic MacBook Back-Ups
I also work on a MacBook. Most of my machine’s document and so on are in the cloud; I use the laptop for content creation and not much actual data lives on the device. Thus, its backup regime is not as comprehensive as my desktop.
Automatic Back-Up: The Macbook use Time Machine to backup over Wi Fi to my Apple Time Capsule. The system backs-up automatically every hour.
Manual Back-Up: Every Friday, I plug in a Samsung T5 SSD via USB-C. Time Machine automatically detects its presence and runs a weekly backup. For this back up, I have two SSDs in rotation and one is always stored offsite. I switch them around every two weeks or so.
Who Cares What Cables and Devices You Use?
Creighton, why have you told me what cables and devices you use? Are you trying to sell me something? Are you that boring a person?
On the subject of selling you something: no—this site is affiliate link free; I’m not trying to sell you anything.
I’ll leave you to decide if I’m boring or not.
I use ethernet and USB-C because they are fast connections that get the job done quicker than using a standard USB-A device. Similarly, SSDs are so much faster than spinning drives. When I run my manual back-ups, I don’t want to be standing around waiting for the backup process to finish. I want to get on with my day.
Sadly, my Time Capsule still uses a spinning drive, but you can’t have everything (and it runs automatically in the background so it’s not like it holds me up in any).
This system requires only minimal input from me once a week. Simple is best, and my regime protects me from data loss in all but the most serious situations.
For example, if I lost all my onsite and offsite backups along with the USB key I always carry with me I probably have more things to worry about than data loss. In this instance, I assume zombies are roaming the streets or some other calamity has occurred.
Finally: remember that any back-up regime is better than no backup regime. Design a back-up regime that works for you. (And store at least one back-up off-site).
Creighton has been the Publisher of Useful Item at Raging Swan Press since 2010 and has over 1,200 products available at DriveThruRPG. They are all backed-up in a variety of places.