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Easily encrypt Time Machine backups
Authored by: TrumpetPower! on Oct 07, '10 11:23:58AM

I'm compelled to observe: encrypting backups is almost (but not quite) universally a very, very, very bad idea.

The whole point of backups is to be able to recover your data in the event that something goes worng.

The whole point of encryption is to make it impossible to recover your data in the event that something goes worng.

Encrypted backups only make sense when the backup medium cannot be physically secured and when you'd rather lose the data entirely than have it fall into the worng hands.

If you have a good backup system in place but want to protect against catastrophic damage to the storage facility where you keep your plain-text backups, you would have at least one additional set of off-site backups. Ideally, your off-site facility would be well secured, but that might not be practical. For example, you might be running a small business and keep a backup set at a relative's house. In such an instance, you would encrypt the backups and only go to them in a "Hail Mary" all-else-is-lost situation. And you'd have multiple encrypted backups at multiple locations, in addition to the unencrypted backup you keep in the bank's safety deposit box.

Most people don't need that level of redundancy. If you can't trust a plaintext backup in your safety deposit box, you've got far bigger problems. (And multinational corporations do, which is why some have redundancy designed to let them keep going even if entire cities or regions drop off line.)

And, of course, as always, a backup simply doesn't exist unless you've successfully restored it. Regularly restoring your backups and checking the integrity of the restored files is about the only part of a backup system that really matters. If you don't do that...then don't kid yourself into thinking that you're making backups.



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Easily encrypt Time Machine backups
Authored by: NoComment on Oct 08, '10 07:31:32AM

I've a backup disk at my main client's office, I use it during the times that I'm with the client. There is no safe way to store the disk when I'm not at the office, and I can't take it with me each day. So I've used the encrypted sparse bundle for over a year now, and I know if someone steals it at least he can't use the data on it. And accessing an encrypted sparse bundle in the case of an emergency recovery is not that big of a deal as the tools are available on every mac, so no special software is needed to gain access to your backuped data as long as you know the (long) password.

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Easily encrypt Time Machine backups
Authored by: JYF on Oct 08, '10 11:12:46AM

This is exactly why I submitted this hint to the site: storing an external hard disk at the workplace. I do not want my coworkers to peer into my data.

I also have another external disk at home for regular, non-encrypted Time Machine backups.

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