Michael On Everything Else

That Oh Shit Moment

The one thing you never want to find out is that no backup exists of an extremely important file that has come up missing.

That happened to me late last week. A single, encrypted folder containing all of my critical, digital information is missing from my computer and it does not exist anywhere in my online backup service.

Why would I only have one copy of this file? I only had one local copy of the file for two reasons;

  1. I was confident in my backup service. I have used Backblaze for years and have restored many files with them and until recently have never had a problem with backup or restore operations. Unrelated to this file loss, I did start having problems with slow backups beginning two weeks ago.

  2. Prior to our move to Singapore I did a major clean up of my digital life by consolidating and organizing my files. I have always kept a large encrypted folder for personal files but with the move, I consolidated data from multiple laptops and external drives into one location and again, felt confident because of a solid backup regime.

What I did not know was that Backblaze deletes files from their servers thirty days after they have been deleted from the computer. That means that you have to discover you have deleted a file within thirty days to be able to recover it or it is gone forever. Buh-bye to ten years of tax info.


I have now moved to SpiderOak for backups and I now have new features:

  1. Their ‘Zero Knowledge’ policy means my backups are encrypted on my machine with my secret passphrase before the files are sent to their servers. This means they can not view those files even if they were forced to by court order.

  2. SpiderOak never deletes files from your backup.

So Backblaze is out and SpiderOak is in…