backup and synchronization

How to set up the ultimate cloud backup and synchronization

How to set up the ultimate cloud backup and synchronization using Google Drive and Jottacloud for maximum security. Here you will also learn how to backup your data from Evernote and Todoist.

This is part two of a two-part series about the importance of backup and synchronization of data. If you haven’t read the first part, I would recommend that you start here: What if you lost everything? This is why you need backup.


How to never lose important data

The below setup is put together for maximum redundancy. If you follow these steps, you will have your important data stored four places; synced between your computer, your NAS or another network drive, and in Google Drive. A backup will be available on Jottacloud, in case your data is corrupted or Google Drive is down.


How to decide what data to synchronize and backup

I split my data into three categories.

  1. High use / high value
    This is data that I want to protect at all costs. Here are things like email, documents, music, and pictures. I want to have access to these data everywhere.
    These data are synchronized between my desktop computer, my laptop, my NAS, and Google Drive. The music is also synced to my phone. In addition, these data are backed up using Jottacloud.
  2. Low use / low value
    This is older documents, software, and miscellanies reference material. This is things I only need every now and then. I can wait until I get to my NAS drive before doing this.
    These data are synchronized between the NAS and Google Drive. In addition, these data are backed up using Jottacloud.
  3. Temporary data
    This is typically the raw files from my pictures as well as anything I download or save for temporary purposes. These data are saved locally on each computer.
    For extra security while on the road, the temp files on my laptop are synced with Jottacloud, but there is no backup. This is a good way to take advantage of Jottaclouds sync service and minimize the risk of losing any data if my laptop is lost or stolen.


Before you start to set up your backup and synchronization

Before you start to set up your backup and synchronization, make a plan. In order to sync data between devices, you would have to have an identical folder structure in all places. I have three root folders on my computers.

  • _Shared data
    This is where I would place everything that is synchronized with other computers and Google Drive. All category 1 data from the list above will go here. This also includes the Evernote data folder. Your Evernote data folder should NOT be placed inside the Google Drive folder. Read more in the section about Evernote, below.
  • _Local Data
    This is where I would place any local folders. These are not backed up. I synchronize these data from my laptop only.
  • _TEMP
    This folder is for temporary files. All category 3 data from the list above will go here. These are not backed up. I synchronize these data from my laptop only.


The NAS/network drive has these folders

  • _Shared data
    This folder is for the Google Drive folder and other shared data folders.
  • _Data
    This folder is for all my category 2 data. This is not synced, only backed up to Jottacloud.
  • _TEMP
    For temporary data.

Why the underscore _ in front of the folder names? Because that makes Windows sort them on top, making them easy to find.

backup and synchronization
Picture: Stockvault.


How to set up Google Backup and Sync

Google recently changed the name of their synchronization software from Google Drive to Google Backup and Sync. The name change reflects the fact that Google is now offering a backup service as well as the familiar synchronization, both services are based on Google Drive.

I have not yet tested the backup service from Google, so I cannot tell you anything about speed or ease of set-up and restore of data.

The use of Google Drive and Google Backup and Sync requires a Google account. With your Google account, you get 15GB storage for free in your Google Drive. If you need more space, this can be yours, starting at $2/month.

The Google Backup and Sync software can be downloaded from this page. Setup is easy.  Make sure that you have finished setting up all your data folders prior to installing this software. Then, you can easily customize the file setup in Google Drive afterward. Be sure to remember to place your Google Drive folder in the _Shared data folder.


How to set up Jottacloud to backup your data

Jottacloud is a Norwegian company that, like Google Drive, offer both file synchronization and online backup. You get 5GB storage for free. The rest is truly simple. If you pay €7.5/month, you have practically unlimited storage. You can find out more about Jottacloud here.

The Jottacloud software can be downloaded from this page. Setup is easy.  As with Google Backup and Sync, make sure that you have finished setting up all your data folders prior to installing this software. Also, be sure to remember to place your Jottacloud folder in the _Shared data folder.

IMPORTANT: To get the maximum backup speed, you have to go to Settings / Bandwidth / Uploads, and set both the upload and download sliders to max. Also set maximum simultaneous uploads/downloads to “6”.

backup and synchronization
Jottacloud offers both backup and synchronization services. (Picture: Jottacloud)


A word of caution about deleting files in synced folders

File synchronization does also mean deletion synchronization. If you delete a file in your Google Drive folder of Jottacloud sync folder, it will be deleted in Google Drive/Jottacloud and in all synced devices.

  • If you want to remove a file from your computer
    You need to stop synchronizing this in the Google Backup and Sync or Jottacloud program. The file will then be removed by the Google Backup and Sync/Jottacloud program.
  • If you want to keep a file on your computer only.
    You will need to copy this under your _Local data folder before you delete this in your Google Drive/Jottacloud folder.


How to backup Todoist

Please be aware that you need a Todoist Premium account in order to get a backup.

All premium accounts are backed up daily by the people at Todoist. You can download your backups by going to Settings / Backups. I would recommend placing your most recent backups in a folder in Google Drive. I would also recommend renaming the zip file to “ Todoist backup” i.e “2017.11.17 Todoist backup.”

Detailed information about backup and restore of Todoist can be found here.

Unfortunately, there is no way to automate this. I would suggest having the task of backing up Todoist as a part of your GTD weekly review.

Todoist GTD setup

How to backup Evernote

The only real effective way to make a backup of your Evernote data is to first install the Evernote desktop application on your computer, then you make sure that you place the Evernote data folder in the _Shared data folder, besides your Google Drive folder.

Do not put your Evernote data folder into Google Drive to keep it synchronized. Let the Evernote desktop application do the synchronization for you.


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Moving your Evernote data

On Windows, the Evernote data is located in the C:\Users\[PC Name]\Evernote\Databases\ folder.

  1. Make sure that Evernote is finished synchronizing your data.
  2. Shut down Evernote.
  3. Create the folder at C:\_Shared Data\Evernote
  4. Go to C:\Users\[PC Name]\Evernote\Databases\. Copy all folders.
  5. Go to C:\_Shared Data\Evernote\. Paste all folders here.
  6. Open the Evernote desktop application.
  7. Go to Tools / Options.
  8. Under Evernote local files, set the path to C:\_Shared Data\Evernote.
  9. Click OK. Wait for Evernote to start synchronizing again.

As far as I can see, moving the Evernote data is not supported on MAC.


Backup and synchronization on a budget

If you are on a budget and have to choose between the two, pay for Jottacloud. This is simply because Google gives you the most for free, and Jottacloud has the best price per GB.


That’s it. Now, with backup and synchronization in place, all that’s left to do is for you to share this blog post. Thank you!




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