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New secure online backup service

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday June 10, 2006 )

My first computer instructor taught me that there are two kinds of computer users – those who have lost their data and those who are about to :).

How many times have you told yourself “eh, I’ll run this backup tomorrow”.. and then said the same the next day, then the day after etc – and bang, disaster strikes!

If you’ve ever lost months of work, I’m sure you’ll understand what a gut-wrenching feeling it can be. I’ve seen clients literally cry when their hard drives have been trashed. In those cases, I know not to ask “I guess you didn’t have a backup?” – the tears say it all.

The biggest problem I find with backing up these days is that everything I want to archive means burning multiple CD’s – gone are the days when I could store my livelihood on a few 1.44 megabyte floppy disks. A DVD burner is right at the top of my wish list at the moment.

The other thing that bugs me about my backup arrangement is that I then have to store copies of the CD’s off-site. There’s no point in keeping backups in the same building – if it burns down, you may as well not have had backups at all. But storing off-site means that if I need them, even if it’s not for disaster recovery but just to retrieve an old file; it’s a trip to collect the CD – more wasted time.

A new secure online backup service, Carbonite, might be the answer to my backing up woes – I’m just about to give their free trial a whirl.

Carbonite runs in the background and backs up all your files automatically. Unlike other similar online backup services, there’s a flat fee of only $5 per month, regardless of whether you are backing up 1 megabyte or 1 gigabyte. $60 a year seems like pretty cheap (tax deductible) data insurance to me!

Carbonite claims to be able to back up approximately 2GB per day over DSL or Cable – but it only operates when you’re not actively using the web so it won’t slow down your normal online activity. As for security, files are encrypted *before* they are uploaded using 128 bit encryption. Carbonite appears to be very easy to use, you simply install the client software, select the folders/files you wish to include in the backup configuration via a context menu item when you right mouse button click over the item.

Each time you modify a file, a temporary copy is encrypted, queued and uploaded. If you’re in a hurry, you can give specific documents priority, even if there are already other files queued.

If disaster should strike, Carbonite automatically restores files to their original folders on your system – you can choose a full or partial restore. Restore transfer rates are up to 20 gigabytes a day.

So, if you’re like me and have data loss dreams (I’m serious), try out Carbonite’s free trial and perhaps you’ll sleep better :).


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