Online Backup Service
Backup over the Internet
Online Backup Service has been getting quite a bit of press,
with some writers really touting it. In fact, PC World went so
far as to call it "the safest way to protect data". How they
decided that I have no idea. Certainly it has its place and I'm
glad it's an option, but it's an option I have
recommended against in the past.
Things have changed!
Since I originally wrote the material below, many things
have changed in Online Backup Services. Unknown companies have
been acquired by solid, brand name, trustworthy companies.
Others have made their own name. All of the online backup
products I review are now encrypting your data at your desktop
before it heads out over the internet.
Also, no one at the online backup company can decrypt your
data, only you.
These are the online backup services I recommend:
Free trials, no credit card required!
Mozy Online Backup
Mozy offers 2GB free (beyond just the free trial) for
personal use. Mozy Pro version accommodates small business
needs and network share backups.
Carbonite is one of the most trusted names in online
Special Note to my clients. Click
speeds, the speed that you can transfer from your
computer to the internet, are typically very
restricted. Ostensibly this has been to prevent
customers from hosting a website from their home or
business without paying for that privilege (and
Unfortunately, when you backup to an online backup
service, uploading is exactly what you need to do -
quickly. Most users with data to protect these days
have pictures, MP3's and video. Read that as HUGE
amounts of data. Transferring that over the internet at
upload speeds of 256k (typical) to 512k can take
If you only need one file restored then fine, this
should work pretty well; and unless it's a full length
DVD movie, shouldn't take too long. But even if you
have 4meg download speeds, restoring a whole drive of
MP3's & pictures to the tune of 20 - 80 GB has to
happen via the service sending you some type of media,
that you can read (ie, not a tape for a tape drive you
don't have), via Fedex.
Do you trust the online backup service to:
- Not go out of business
- Actually protect your data from loss
- Protect your data from thieves (and please
don't say it's not worth stealing! You would be
- Not offer your data to government agents (or
their computers) to peruse
- Offer your data back to you in a timely (your
timely, not theirs) fashion
At a cost of $10 per month and up, it doesn't take
long to pay for an alternate solution
As you can see, I prefer to have more control over my
backups than what is offered from an online backup service.
But that doesn't mean that it's not for you. Carefully
analyze your backup needs and concerns and then decide
I do realize that some users don't have a lot of options.
Remember me telling you about the time I carried 5¼ floppies
around with me everywhere? With a good internet connection and
a trustworthy service, this may be the route for you to go.
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