Online data backups - a valuable addition to your total data protection solution.

Online data backups

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One of the largest threats to e-business survival is data loss. As a result, various data backup solutions are becoming more and more critical to our everyday lives. Unfortunately, many traditional backup methods, such as USB drive, CD-ROM and Zip disks, are susceptible to the same threats and attacks as your computer.

About five years ago online data backup services began to emerge as an alternative method of backing up your data. The best advantage of online data storage is that it, by definition, is remote, so if a fire burns down your home you'll still have a backup to roll your data back.

The biggest problem with online data backups is that they can take too much time to accomplish. The obvious solutions to get around this are using high speed connection, compressing your data and doing only incremental rather than full backups.

There are many popular and free online data backup services (see below). You can use them not only to backup and securely store your business and valuable personal data, but also to organize, display and share your favorite photos and videos, to build your online music library and turn your wireless device into a virtual MP3 player.

Your data will be physically stored in your own password-protected vault at their tightly-protected, professionally-run data center. Your files will be thoroughly protected not only while storing, but also while being sent to and from the storage. For maximum security, they usually offer Secure Socket Layer (SSL) using encryption to send and receive files.

Redundant routers, switches, hardware and backup systems are employed to ensure high reliability of online data backups. As added protection, they take daily snapshots of your data and regularly backup the data to tape.

You can access online data backups...

  • Via the Web
    A simple Web interface allows you to access them from any machine with an Internet connection. You can easily upload entire folders from your computer to your online data storage.
  • Via a local computer
    If you need a quick and easy way to transfer a lot of files and folders between your local computer and remote storage, you can install a small program on your computer, and you'll be able to access your online backup directly, just like your network drive at the office. Many online data backups also let you schedule automatic online backups of any local files and folders to your remote data storage.
  • Via your wireless device
    You can often use your wireless device to navigate through your remote drive file system and select files to e-mail or fax, or turn it into a virtual MP3 player and stream music directly from your online storage.

Popular online backup services

Mozy
This is an inexpensive online data backup service. The software currently supports only Windows and cannot be used as a shared online photo, video and MP3 storage (they limit the number of restores per month to prevent abuse and keep costs down).

Main features...

  • Performs automatic data backups in the background.
  • Encrypts all files before transfer.
  • Performs block-level incremental backups (i.e. backs up only file blocks that have changed).
  • Backs up open/locked files.

Pricing...

  • 2GB - Free
  • 50GB - $5.99/month
  • 125GB - $9.99/month

Carbonite
This online data backup service is designed to automatically and securely backup all of the unique and irreplaceable files on your computer - text documents, spreadsheets, financial documents, photos, music, etc. It installs a small program on your computer that automatically backs up your new and changed files when your computer is idle.

You can try Carbonite free for 15 days. No credit card required.

Pricing...

  • Unlimited - $59/year, $109/2 years or $139/3 years

Online data backups can be a valuable addition to your total data protection solution. But they shouldn't be seen as a replacement for manual backups performed regularly by you or your system administrator.


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