Saturday, January 16, 2010

Backups. Why should I care?

Imagine you are in this situation: Someone breaks into your house and steals your laptop. You never see it again. Nevermind the fact that you may not have a password set for your Windows user account. Did you make a copy of your family photos? How about your digital bank or tax documents? Maybe your college homework was on this computer. Did you make a copy of that?

How about this situation: Your house catches on fire and all is lost – including all of your computers\laptops. You had a solution in place to backup data to an external hard drive but it was next to the laptop that perished in the fire. How are you going to retrieve the lost data.

It is situations like this on why I rely on online backup solutions. There are quite a few out there. Some charge money, others are free, and some that charge a cost also offer a ‘free edition’ of their service. Here are some of the ones that I recommend:

Windows Live Skydrive
What do you get? 25GB of online storage space. Upload whatever you want. You can also share files and folders with other Windows Live users.
How much does it cost? FREE. You only have to register for a Windows Live account and register your Live account at Skydrive.live.com.
Is there software that will do the backups for me? No. You must do this manually. However, there is a Windows plugin called Skydrive Explorer that will create a virtual drive in Windows Explorer and link it to your Skydrive. You could then set up Windows Backup and schedule backups directly to your skydrive account!

Mozy.com
What do you get? Mozy offers 2 different options for home users. 2GB or Unlimited. Businesses are a different story…
How much does it cost? 2GB storage is free. Unlimited storage is only $4.95 per month. There is tiered pricing for businesses that starts at $3.95 per .05GB and goes up from there.
Is there a client that will do the backups for me? Yes. There is a small download that you install on your computer (works for Mac or Windows!). You set up the initial backup schedule and as long as the computer is connected to the internet it will backup the data for you. For businesses, there is also a download but an administrator must schedule the backup themselves.

Carbonite.com
This is the exact same setup as Mozy but they offer yearly pricing instead of monthly at $54.99 per year. They also offer a backup client for Mac or Windows.

Well, that about does it for this post. There are a TON of other online backup options out there. No matter what, there is at least one online backup service that will cater to your needs no matter how much you want to backup or your backup business needs.