New Backup Strategies (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

12 Aug, 2009 By: Robert Green

Mobile methods for backing up your key CAD management data can enhance accessibility — and save money too.

I've always been a big fan of timely data backups, both at the server level and on my individual workstations. After all, nobody is ever sorry they have good backups, right?

Over the last year or so I've been redefining my backup strategies and would like to share a few methods I've come to rely on as new mobile technologies like smartphones have become a bigger part of how I work.

No More Hardware!
I no longer purchase portable drives every 18 months to perform my backups. I'm now using a totally online backup solution called Carbonite to backup all my office machines and my travel laptop. I've found the application's automatic incremental backups to be very convenient, and the fact that all data is stored online saves me the trouble of storing media at an offsite safe-deposit box. The other great benefit of Carbonite is that I can access my backup data via any Internet-connected PC — that feature came in really handy during my European trips last year! And at roughly $50 per machine per year, Carbonite costs me less than what I used to spend on portable hard drives. (Note: There are other applications similar to Carbonite on the market, so explore those possibilities as well.)

Smartphone Mini-backup
When I'm in the middle of projects, I typically store all key documents in a folder on my laptop for easy reference. But what happens if the customer needs a file when I'm away from the office or hotel where my laptop is? Good question.

I've begun using my phone's memory to include a synchronized folder of my key files so I'll always have them with me. I simply use Microsoft's Sync Center application to replicate the files on my phone. That way any key file I might need can be easily e-mailed or accessed using the Office Mobile operating system on my phone. (Put your PowerPoint files on your phone too and you'll be ready to give a presentation anywhere!) Most of my projects have less than a gigabyte of live data, so this barely impacts my phone's memory.

Backups Are No Longer Static
I realize that nothing I've discussed here is rocket science, but I do think all CAD managers should rethink their backups and how mobile those backups must be. It is now cheaper and easier to have backups on mobile devices (and/or web sites) than on dedicated hardware devices at a single office location. So why not think about how you're backing up your key CAD management data and adjust as required — you may even save some money while you're at it.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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