A straw poll of my broadly arty and literary friends showed up something truly shocking. A large minority (a third) of people I know for whom a computer is the sole tool of their trade don’t back up their files. One pal, who like me has 20-plus years of work, social and financial material on his Mac’s hard drive, responded to my email asking whether he backs up material thus: “No. Do I need to?” I barely knew how to respond. It is simply the dumbest thing imaginable, worse than leaving your car keys in the ignition or posting your bank details and passwords on Twitter.
For the sensibly paranoid then, this hefty new external drive from ioSafe, whose outrageously tough and resilient backup products are used by the US Navy, McDonald’s, Oracle and Sheraton, among others, and which I have featured in the past both in this column and on Technopolis TV, is almost nirvana.
The 214 is nothing less than a black box for computers (plus it really is both black and a box). Customisable up to 8TB capacity, it can withstand fires of up to 845°C for 30 minutes and submersion in up to 3m of salt water for 72 hours. With (albeit muscular) thieves in mind, the 12.7kg beast can also be tethered using its Kensington security slot or bolted to the floor.
The 214 isn’t just an external hard drive, either. It’s a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive, like those used for whole-house entertainment setups. So the ioSafe links to your wifi network, where it can be accessed by several computers, and can also serve as a private online “cloud”, but one that isn’t owned and controlled by a global corporation. You could also try to second-guess the fates by investing in an additional ioSafe 214 for a different location from your home or workplace, or even a different country if you wanted your data to survive an asteroid hit or nuclear attack. It would sync data with its sister. And don’t worry about the 214 being noisy – it has a big fan that whirrs sometimes, but quietly.
An important last word on installation – you can’t just plug in and play the 214, so unless you’re a competent network installer you’re going to need to pay an expert to set it up, make it secure and run you through its functions. It will be money well spent.