Losing data is one of my biggest fears, so I try to make sure this never happens by using sensible backup solutions for all my data.
One of the most important components of my backup strategy is the Synology Diskstation. In this post, I’ll talk about some options and my suggested setup.
The assumption here is that you have a home or office in which all important files are stored in a Synology Diskstation, probably using Shared Folders.
Apart from those files, I have several Mac laptops and an iMac which are being backed up to the NAS (in a separate folder) using Time Machine. I don’t typically keep any important files on my devices to avoid cluttering the hard drives and also to help me keep organized and keep all the data in one place (the NAS).
Let’s move on to how I use the Synology Diskstation for my own backups.
A handy feature that the DiskStation has is a USB port on the front. I use this for local backups once a month. I have the NAS set up to automatically copy its files onto a particular external drive as soon as I connect it. I then connect it myself at the end of every month and verify that the backup was done correctly. It’s a manual step but it’s a fairly easy one and it gives me a good local backup for my most important files.
For local backups, you can use either USB Copy on Hyper Backup. The latter has the advantage of providing more efficient backup options, versioning and encryption. USB Copy allows you to set a schedule and choose between incremental backups, mirroring and multi-versioned backups. The latter can take up a large amount of space as it creates a dated folder with all the data every time a backup is run, so I don’t suggest it.
I use the USB Copy system, and use Hyper Backup for offsite backups, as detailed later in this article.
Think of USB Copy as a smart interface between your DiskStation and any USB device. It’s an ingenious tool that enables automatic data transfer between your NAS and USB drives, serving as an easy-to-use solution for both backing up your USB drives and importing data to your DiskStation.
Setting up the USB Copy feature on your Synology DiskStation is a walk in the park. The first step is to locate and install the USB Copy application from the Synology Package Center. Once installed, the application intuitively guides you to create customized copying rules for each of your USB devices.
For instance, you can set your DiskStation to automatically transfer photos from your USB device to a specified folder within your DiskStation. Inversely, you can set your DiskStation to backup certain folders to your USB device as soon as it’s connected. The sheer simplicity of the process is commendable and the time-saving element is appreciable.
You can use a cloud storage solution like Google Drive or Amazon’s various cloud storage options to take backups of your NAS automatically, and you can even encrypt them before uploading them, of course using a running schedule for completely hands-off.
To set up cloud backups you need to use the CloudStation app on the Synology DiskStation.
Unfortunately, Cloud Sync does not have integration with pCloud (one of my favorite cloud storage providers). However, they do have easy integrations with OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon S3 and other popular big providers.
Off-Site Backups Using Hyper Backup Vault
Hyper Backup takes data stored on the NAS and backs it up to external media or cloud destinations. It can be configured to store multiple versions of files so you can go back in time and “roll back” to a prior version if it was included in the backup job. This is similar to Apple’s Time Machine backup system.
I’ve been using Hyper Backup for quite a while now and have multiple jobs running on my personal NAS. You can have multiple jobs that backup different files to several locations., so it’s extremely flexible. For example, you can set it to do a full backup to a USB hard drive at night, while another job backups up only a selected number of work files offsite to Amazon S3. The data is encrypted before it gets sent to the cloud provider for added security, so you don’t even need to rely on the cloud provider for encryption or security.