On the Mac, you have four options to backup your data: Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner, ChronoSync and Arq Backup. Of these, Arq Backup is the only true backup system. Time Machine is OK but doesn’t have incremental backups, compression, de-duplication or encryption. CCC 6 comes close but is true to its origin as a cloning solution first. You can say about the same of ChronoSync. Arq 7, on the other hand, backs up to a large number of cloud backup services, attached disks, NAS, and more and even supports multiple types of backup storage simultaneously.
Arq 7 backs up your files with end-to-end encryption if you don’t turn off the default setting. Arq uses filesystem snapshot technology to make point-in-time backups of your files, even if they are changing during the backup process. It keeps a backup history, so that if you discover a file was corrupted, accidentally deleted, or encrypted by a ransomware attack, you can go back and get the old version.
Arq 7 integrates with many different cloud providers, including BackBlaze B2, Dropbox, Google (Cloud and Drive), OneDrive and more. It supports SFTP, Wasabi and S3 compatible servers. The app even mounts network shares for you if you’re using a NAS for backup and you can select an option that allows it to back up even when you’re not logged in. You can run multiple backup jobs in parallel too, although performance will depend on your Mac’s brain power and memory as much as on the performance of the backup storage and the network.
I tested Arq 7 with an external drive. Arq 7 is flexible in the way you set it up, and it is incredibly fast with a local drive. Arq 7 also supports SFTP. SFTP is secure, while FTP is not, which is why Arq will not work with plain FTP. SFTP backups turned out to be as transparent as local backups; there’s no difference in the way you go about except for entering your network credentials.
Setting up a plan is straightforward if you have simple needs, but you can fine-tune a plan to a granular level, including such things as preventing backups from running over specific network interfaces or WiFi networks, limiting bandwidth usage and backup retention, to name but a few options.
Arq 7 is very efficient at taking up as little storage space as possible. It uses data compression when available, applies de-duplication to ensure unique data is stored and uses a block-level incremental backup. A block-level incremental backup is more efficient than a file-level incremental backup, because it finds the portions of a file that have been changed since the last backup and copies over the data blocks that have been modified instead of the entire file.
The app keeps multiple versions of your files, so if you discover a file is corrupted, you can go back in time to get an earlier version. That combined with backup media rotation means Arq 7 delivers the most surefire way to safeguard data.
It even features files restoration right from within Arq 7, so you won’t have to download zip files from a network to start a restore process.
Arq 7 is available as an app-only licence for $49.99. You can also buy the Premium version which includes 1TB of cloud backup storage and allows for use by five (5!) computers for $59.99/year. Arq 7 is available for Windows computers as well as Macs, so if you work in a mixed environment, it is the only viable backup option on the market.