Reviewing backup software is usually a chore. There are a legion of products out there, some good, some very comprehensive but just too difficult to use. A few are awful, including some from supposedly big software houses.

The problem with almost all of them is that they demand that the user set up a backup schedule, something that works well enough until the day where one or more variables fails (such as the backup device not being attached or available, or the PC to be backed up is not turned on). Schedules also pick random points in time to carry out their duty, which might still lose important files if they turn out not to be on the last backup run prior to a data loss incident.

Yosemite’s FileKeeper Pro is one of a newer breed of products, designed specifically for workstations or laptops, that abandon the scheduling idea for one based on continuous backup. This concept, more accurately, works through two elements – ‘continuous’ protection and ‘snapshot’ protection. As the names imply, continuous protection makes a compressed backup of files being worked on - word processing or spreadsheet files - every time they are saved by the user, saving only the changes from the last save. Snapshot backup applies to large files that are left ‘open’, such as Outlook email and databases, whereby a copy is made on a set basis, say every hour.

Backup stores can be to one or more directly-attached locations, or to a networked store. If one or more of these is not connected, the software just queues files locally until they are next available, without pestering the user with annoying error messages as would most conventional backup programs. Once the stores have been chosen, and the files to be monitored for backup have been selected according to one of a number of policies (i.e ‘office documents’, 'pictures', etc, or new policy created from scratch), that’s pretty much it, apart from deciding whether to encrypt data. FileKeeper just gets on with it, saving only file changes for added storage efficiency.

The software comes in two versions, Pro (protection for up to 30 computers) and Corporate (for greater than that number). Apart from the number of PCs being protected, the Corporate version is geared towards backup stores on networked drives, and centralises policies and logging. To that end, Pro is much more informal, saving data to simple devices such as external USB or stick drives, handing control to the end user to define a backup regime.