How Dropbox saved me from an SSD faliure

I've long held that laptops are an inherently unsafe place for your data. Laptops can be stolen or lost, HDDs are prone to damage due to frequent transportation and of course:  laptops tend to be used in dangerous places and are consequentially prone to drops and liquid spills.

About two months ago I figured I'd remove one risk factor from the equation, and got myself a spankin' new SanDisk SSD (the 60GB 'Ultra' model). Unfortunately, that disk just died without warning this morning.

While that SSD contained several academic assignments due in mere days as well as the images from my latest commercial photo-shoot, you might expect to find me up a certain creek without a paddle.

Fortunately, I was well prepared for such occurrence:
All my critical data, including my image catalog reside within my Dropbox folder. This reduces my risk of data loss - as I can only lose un-synced files.
Since I rarely venture too far from a high-speed internet connection it's unlikely that I'd lose more than a days work. In this case, I lost nothing (excluding possibly some saved StarCraft II replays).

Backup is actually a secondary function of my Dropbox setup, the main perk is immediate synchronization with my desktop. By the time I get home, my lecture notes are already on my desktop. I can spend a weekend away from home, work on my projects, and return to my desktop without ever worrying about merging file revisions.

A convenient smartphone app even allows me to send out links to my Dropbox files on the go. This is very handy for sending out a resume at a moments notice or submitting a paper at the last minute.

Dropbox only comes with 2GB of free space, which would usually cover any schoolwork you might have but hardly a photography catalog. You can get more space by refereeing customers to the service (you'll notice my deviously placed referral code in the previous links), or pay for 50-100GB plans.

I manage just fine with a free Dropbox account and some referral awarded space. If you need more, Google Drive, Apple iCloud and *shudder* Microsoft SkyDrive offer similar services. Depending on your needs, you may find one suites you better than the other. Engadget has a nice comparison article up here. Note that Dropbox is the only provider that allows you to earn extra free space.

If you are unfortunate enough to be using a laptop as your main computing platform - you should consider CrashPlan as a backup solution. They offer unlimited backup plans for about $50/yr. which is much  cheaper than the above mentioned services and well worth the price if you can do without folder syncing.

I use CrashPlan to backup my desktop(s), and since my Dropbox folder syncs to my main desktop - it is automatically backed up with CrashPlan as well!

As for SanDisk - I'll be replacing the drive under warranty. I hope the next one lasts longer...

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