My law office is located in Colorado Springs Colorado – the location of the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire. On June 26, 2012, the fire broke over the ridge and started to come down the mountain quickly rushing into Colorado Springs. Foothill neighborhoods burst into flames. And no one knew how far the fire would go. Would the fire rush through all of Colorado Springs?
We quickly packed “go bags” with three days of clothes along with water, food and supplies, in case we had to evacuate.
But what about the office? We are paperless, so everything is digital. A couple of hard drives and we have everything. Smart, right? Well, there’s nothing like a disaster to put your finest plans to the test. The local backups are all on the full-size hard drives. They require their own power supply. This means a separate cable, power-brick, and of course, power. Three full-size drives and cables (one for the server, one for the laptops, and one for the Time Machine). Once you add in padding, you are looking at a carry-on sized bag. You think you have room for everything, until you actually start loading the car. You quickly find yourself running out of space. The trunk sags, and you need to make some hard choices about what you’re going to bring and what you will leave behind. Survival gear takes the priority: food, clothes, water, sleeping bags, medicine. However, with your “digital” office, you still have your laptops, and backups requiring the same space as a gym bag. It’s not big, but what do you leave behind so you can bring this?
In case you are wondering, I do use cloud backups. However, in a disaster, I am not counting on good conductivity. If I have to leave, I have no idea when I will be coming back, or even if I will be back. I need to be able to keep the office running and plan for contingencies, in case something happens during the evacuation. I need my first data location (on the laptop), and a backup.
Fortunately, we did not have to evacuate that night and I won an extra day. The next morning, I went out and bought two 1 terabyte bus powered hard drives, wiped them, reformatted for the Mac, and did a full image.
Two drives. Now I’m down to backing up the office onto something smaller than two paperback books. No long cables. No separate power supplies. Just a short USB cable. I slipped them into the pockets of my go bag.
Now, it is Friday, June 29, 2012. Three days since the fire came down the mountain. The weather has been favorable. The winds are blowing fire back into hills. There has been no growth in the fire and the firefighters are starting to gain containment. However, the fire still isn’t out. So, we stay ready. The car remains packed. I keep backing up: local, off-site, in the cloud, and onto the USB bus drives that come with me.
Remember, good backup strategy is about layers. You may have things backed up. However, if you have to leave in a hurry, give some consideration to how much space and weight those backups take compared to everything else you will need to take for yourself and your family. Add some bus powered drives – your business may depend on it someday.