Storage forum: What's your take on online backup services?

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) February 5, 2010 1:38 PM PST

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What's your take on online backup services?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 2/5/10 1:38 PM

Question:

What's your take on online backup services?


I truly enjoy the Friday afternoon (well, evening in my part of the country) newsletters. I seem to learn tons and tons about things that I never knew I wanted (or needed) to know! So many times I archive the questions because I know that Ill need to know that soon, or I had that exact same question before-and probably will again. Or, more often than not, the question is timely for my own issues, and I get to try out the suggestions right away. This is an AMAZING group!

I have never written before, but I want to get the group's collective wisdom on online backup services (Carbonite.com just to use an example). I have had two fatal hard-drive failures in the last year. While I use an external hard-drive to back up data (most of the time), I am starting to really think about using an online backup service. That said, I am trying to understand the various services that these companies offer versus the costs (I am concerned about cost-an external hard drive is relatively cheap, so Im not going to pay a small fortune for online services). I am not a large corporation looking for mega-service. I am a sole proprietor, and Im looking for a safe place for my 500GB of data (actually, well under that amount, but it could grow to that amount) that resides on one computer (Windows) and one external hard-drive.

So, I am looking to all of you to help me better understand the following:

1. How secure from "prying eyes" are these online backup services? I don't know that I have anything that anyone would care about on my computers, but I certainly don't want some random technician accessing my data, just because they were servicing the server on which the backup was stored and felt like "helping themselves."

2. Has anyone had experience with some of the more well-known services? Recommendations?

3. How accessible is the data--really--anytime/anywhere/from any machine?

4. How do you compare the costs? It seems that the quotes I've seen are not giving me the capability to compare apples to apples.

5. Does Continuous Data Protection slow down one's computer/Internet access (assuming high-speed Internet)

6. Can you backup more than one computer to a given location? In other words, if I use a laptop and a desktop (that are supposed to have the same data set), can I back them both up to the same location?

7. Are there big differences in ease of setup and ease of use between the services?

8. Whatever other very important point I missed listing, but you're certain I need to know to make a sound decision (part of the "I don't know what I don't know qualification!")

I am looking for a cost-effective solution, but don't want to be penny-wise and pound foolish. And, I CERTAINLY don't want to put myself in a situation where my data is easily compromised. I know that many of these services offer free trial periods, but I don't want to go through the trouble if: a. I cant afford the service when it starts to cost, or b. my data would be compromised easily by that particular service.

Any ideas/thoughts that the brain trust has would be much appreciated.

Thanks again.

--Submitted by Sandy C. of Media, PA

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

First, know what kind of backup you are looking for --Submitted by mijcar
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3243447#3243447

Reliable, fast, and affordable --Submitted by charleswsheets
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3240688#3240688

Online backup - pros and cons --Submitted by anuchoksey
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3240754#3240754

Multiple protection levels --Submitted by fivecentfamily
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3240835#3240835

Some are better than others... --Submitted by Doh_1
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3240640#3240640

Mozy.com has worked well for me --Submitted by: theperfectk
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?messageID=3240993#3240993

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have any additional advice, recommendation, or tips for Sandy please click reply and post it. If you are recommending a service, please provide a link. The more details you can provide in your answer the better. Thank you!

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