Mac Backup: A How To Guide for Business
Macs have always been popular in schools and design agencies, and have recently become common among executives in many industries. Carrying an Apple notebook has become a status signaler.
Apple provides the Time Machine backup application, which works with a local drive, and also their wireless Time Capsule storage appliance (which is basically an Airport Extreme Base Station and a server-class hard drive) for use with Time Machine, everything has to be on the same network.
Since Time Machine uses a local drive to backup an individual machine it obviously doesn’t address having an offsite backup, which is an important criteria for business users interested in disaster recovery. Also, Time Machine is really a consumer-grade product and may not meet requirements for security and availability in a business environment.
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So, whether you’re using Time Machine or not, it’s important to be able to include Macs in your organization’s overall backup and DR strategy.
Here’s the points to consider when looking for an company-wide solution for Mac backups.
1. Look for support for MacOS in addition to Windows and maybe also Linux.
Backup services that support both MacOS and Windows, tend to be consumer focused. Business and enterprise-grade solutions often exclude Mac. This means a choice between having two separate backup solutions or unnecessarily limiting users’ (remember they’re executives) choice of machines.
2. Make sure you can back up remote/mobile Macs.
Since many Mac endpoints will be users who’re away from the corporate network, make sure that you can back their data up — either directly to a cloud-based solution, or to an on-premise appliance that’s backed up to the cloud.
3. Be sure you can select the right files and directories for backup and exclude non-data files or file types that don’t need to be backed up.
Like Windows, MacOS has default location where it puts a user’s data files — but these aren’t the same places as in a Windows file structure:
- MacOS, like Linux and Unix, has a “home” folder (directory) for each user, where data created applications goes, by default.
- Library folders — these hold files that your apps and the OS creates, such as Safari Bookmarks, address book and calendar data, Keychain (passwords) file, personal fonts, and other preferences.
- Other folders which have data that should be backed up, such as in Sites, or Public.
4. Be sure you can back up all the file components.
Determine whether you need the backup to also save the “resource fork” portion of the MacOS files and whether the backup solution can do this.
5. Be sure you can recover to both Mac and non-Mac platforms.
Being able to back up data from employees’ Macs — for example, Microsoft Office files — is essential. But you also have to be able to recover it, and not be limited to recovering to another MacOS machine.
As with Windows, a cloud backup solution for Macs should, of course, support incremental backups and provide quick, easy access to the backup, whether to the current state or to previous versions.
And there you have it, the best way to go about preserving apple [data].