What do you do when you want to back up your information on an external hard drive, but worry about corruption, house fires, and floods?
Well, perhaps you don’t worry about those things, but I do. I was in the market for an external hard drive a few years ago, and read dozens of reviews for them. The vast majority of brands and models got as many bad reviews as good ones. This scared me away. I also worried about fires and floods. Fires are annual events in arid Arizona, and the built-in sprinklers in my house could easily cause water damage if a fire ravaged the area. So I didn’t want to buy a little wimpy hard drive that got as many bad reviews as good ones. If I’m trusting something to be a backup for my main hard drive, I want it to be reliable.
In my original research, the only brand of external hard drive that had no or very few bad reviews was ioSafe. Though it costs more per GB or TB than most other solutions, it is also fireproof to 1550°F for half an hour. You can search the internet for images of ioSafes in fires, even one of it in an oven with an egg cooking on it. ioSafe hard drives are also waterproof. Not just water resistant. Waterproof. You could toss this thing in a pool and your data would be safe. It protects against data loss in up to ten feet of water for 72 hours. I knew I found my hard drive.
So I bought a 500GB ioSafe Solo hard drive at the time, and have been using it ever since. It’s given me no problems, no corruption, and it also doubles as a great foot rest under my desk.
After my recent post about the cloud backup service CrashPlan+, the ioSafe folks wrote to me since I’d mentioned my love for their products. They now have a new generation of external hard drives called ioSafe Solo G3, and sent me one of their 1TB models to test.
I really love it. This new generation is as reliable and useful as the last, with even bigger capacities. It also has a near-silent fanless vent design. As with all external media, you can use it as additional storage or as a backup to your main storage. I use mine to back up important files periodically.
Here are some technical specs for the ioSafe Solo G3 line:
- Fanless FloSafe Vent Design for near silent operation
- Fireproof – Protects data from loss up to 1550°F for 1/2 hour per ASTM E119
- Waterproof – Protects data from loss up to 10ft for 72 hours
- Data Recovery Service – Up to $2500 for forensic recovery
- USB 3.0/USB 2.0 Connectivity – Mac and PC Compatible
There is also a hole in the back of each hard drive where you can padlock it to the floor or other connection if you are worried about theft. For more specs, check out the full spec sheet on their website.
The ioSafe I was sent for review came with a free download of Genie Timeline Professional. I had been using the (free) Cobian backup 10, but I thought I’d try out Genie. It has a great interface, and does more than just back up what files you tell it to back up. It has a “Smart Selection” option where it will make sure to get various kinds of files backed up, like email, iThing data, Pictures, and others. It may not fit your particular setup (Mozilla Thunderbird isn’t mentioned in the email list, for example), but with some fiddling it can do what you need it to do. You can also edit the backup list manually, making sure it gets certain file extensions.
Well, maybe it was just me and my setup, but Genie Timeline crashed every time I used it. It did seem to eventually do what it was supposed to do, but it slowed down my computer so much that I went back to Cobian. Cobian plays nicely with my computer and the ioSafe drives.
While it’s always good to have your data backed up in more than one place, local storage does have some advantages over cloud backup. You stay in control of your data, it can’t be lost due to a problem with your online backup service, and you don’t continually pay a fee. So regardless of your online backup status, local storage is also a must.
The ioSafe Solo G3 hard drives come in 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB models and retail from $300-450. ioSafe also has other types of rugged hard drives, including more portable ones. Check out their website for more information. I cannot recommend these hard drives enough. If you want reliable external storage, and are sick of battling with lost data or worry about natural disasters, you can’t go wrong with ioSafe.
Because of the development of this newer model, ioSafe is offering a deal on the original ioSafe Solos. If you purchase one, from anywhere, and register it by August 31, 2012, you get a free five year extended warranty and Data Recovery Service upgrade worth $100. To get this special deal, use Coupon Code UPGRADE812DRS in order to qualify.
Note: I received an ioSafe Solo G3 1TB for the purposes of this review, but have loved my original, self-financed ioSafe external hard drive for years.