Mac backups are one of the more popular topics around here. We routinely field questions about how to perform backups, which backup software to use, how often to perform backups, and how to restore data from backups.
I usually answer that Time Machine, the backup app included with the Mac OS, is a great place to start. It's easy to use, easy to set up, and perhaps best of all, you can set it up and then pretty much forget about it.
This week I was asked a slightly different question: Is Time Machine alone a sufficient backup strategy?
My answer to that question is a bit different. It depends on how you use your Mac, and what would happen if you lost all of your data and needed to restore everything from a backup.
Time Machine's restore function is easy to use, but it's no speed demon. It can take anywhere from an hour or two, to a full day and night to restore a backup, depending on how much data you're restoring. If you lost all your data, it may be because your Mac's hard drive is having problems, and you're going to have to take time to repair or replace it.
That waiting period may be fine for many Mac users; it's good to get away from the Mac once in a while, and get a few things done around the house or yard. But if you use your Mac for business, or you're working on a time-sensitive project, then you may not be able to afford a delay.
There are many backup strategies that can address the time issue, but I use a very simple one that can have me back up and running in a minimum amount of time. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg, although you may need to purchase an external drive, if you don't have an extra one lying around.
For details, take a look at Time Machine and SuperDuper Make for Easy Backups. And one quick note for all you Carbon Copy Cloner users: This method works just as well with Carbon Copy Cloner. I just happen to use SuperDuper on my system, but Carbon Copy Cloner will work equally well.