Image: Hugh Threlfall
October 06 2009
Let me tell you how paranoid I am these days about backing up. As the years go by, my backlog of documents increases, as yours doubtless does too. We’re now talking nearly 20 years of stuff. Then there are my precious music, picture and video libraries – 10,000 or so painstakingly collected tracks, 20,000 photos, 200 films and videos. Oh, and all my software. Whoever said the average computer contains 100 times its worth in data was rather underegging the pudding. The loss of my data would now rank between a house fire and a bereavement; seriously, I would mourn the loss of my stuff. It would be a personal blow and a professional disaster.
What do I do? Online backup, I’m not 100 per cent sold on. It tends to be hideously complicated and it’s rare to find a broadband connection fast and stable enough to upload large amounts of data. Uploading the hundreds of gigabytes I need to include all my music etc would take months, even if there were such a dream connection. Hardware wise, I’m belted and braced, though. I have a terabyte external hard drive under my main work desk, which, when I’m there, regularly backs up everything on my laptop. I also update a second big drive at another office. And when I’m away, I never leave the laptop in a hotel room without backing up relevant files and folders to a 120Gb TrekStor DataStation Microdisk drive, which I keep on me when I’m out.
All this, however, is still a bit gappy for a back-up paranoiac. If my office were robbed, burned down or flooded and, in a freakish parallel, a meteor hit my part-time London office, I would then have lost all my music, films and photos.
So this new product from California company ioSafe is incredibly welcome. The ioSafe Solo fireproof and waterproof external hard drive seems to be the first of its kind. Like an aircraft black box for data, it is made in 500Gb, 1Tb and 1.5Tb flavours and will sail through a typical house or office fire, shrug off water from sprinklers or hoses and even survive in three metres of sea water for three days. Oh, and you can bolt it down. Obviously, you won’t be able to plug your ioSafe drive straight in when it’s fished out of the flooded, burned-out wreckage of your premises, but the UK importer includes data recovery to the tune of £500 (if it needs that much) – and also offers reasonably priced plans to extend that cover beyond the built-in 12-month period.
The ioSafe is a hefty beast at 15lb, but it’s remarkably home-friendly, as its fan-cooling system is exceptionally quiet. It has a normal USB 2.0 Interface and is a simple plug-and-play with both PCs and Macs. It also works as a normal back-up drive to save you from the results of hard-drive crashes, viruses and good old-fashioned idiotic I’ve-deleted-all-my-stuff error.