Monday, December 03, 2007

Battle of the Online Backup Services

Lifehacker writes "You already know that backing up your data online is one of the best ways to secure it in case of theft or disaster. But where do you store your stuff online? There are lots of cheap and free-but-limited online backup and storage solutions out there. Tell us which one you use."

There are a lot of interesting comments but the joint winners are :

Mozy Online Backup
$4.95 per month for unlimited backup

Carbonite Online Backup
15 day free trial
$49.95 per year for unlimited backup after your free trial

and a provider that scored well is :

MediaMax Online Storage
$4.95 per month for 100GB
Also has a free version - with file size restrictions

How Secure Are Online Backup Services?
Until now, external backups have stayed in our physical control, regardless of which medium you use - whether it's dvd or external hard drive. Matching the capacity of the backup medium to the amount of data you intend to backup is also very important now, especially as hard disks capacities grow. Do you back up everything to an external drive or do you just keep all your photo's and music on a dvd - or both? Everyone has different needs, I guess you have to decide which solution works best for you.

Trusting important data to an online backup provider has always been a frightening concept for
me. With online backup, the data is sitting in someone else’s server. To alleviate the security concerns of many, a lot of online backup providers use encryption to ensure that only you have access to your data. In some cases, users may decide not to encrypt the data, in order to speed up data transfer between the user’s computer and the backup server. In this case, one has to make sure that the backup provider is trustworthy and have internal policies that guarantee privacy and security for client’s data.

And don't forget :
All these providers offer this service with a caveat [and I would hope that most of you are familiar with the term "caveat emptor"] in their “Terms of Use” which absolves them of any resposibility if anything goes wrong and they lose or destroy all your files. You lose everything - they only lose one client.

Having said that, online backup does suit most people because it's easy, requiring minimal work and knowledge. But with the prices of external hard disks now at record lows, it would seem like a good idea to me. Or, you could use both - perhaps just updating your external drive once a month. It would double your redundancy, and, as the Irish girl said when she was asked why she takes 2 pills :


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