MonkeyPuzzle Computers: Ilminster, Somerset

Online Backup

There are lots of ways to back up your data - tape, USB drive, online, to name a few. I don’t intend to delve into the merits of each in this post, but rather to briefly detail the pros and cons of online backup. Readily available, easy and secure - should you be thinking of protecting your data online?

Let’s start with the main drawback: backing up lots of data online can be expensive, especially if you aren’t doing any backup at the moment. However, it is worth having a look at what you intend to back up. I would suggest your comprehensive music collection probably shouldn't be included. For home users, it’s always a good idea to keep a second copy of digital photographs elsewhere, but as these can easily grow to several tens of gigabytes (GB), online backup may not the best way to do this. For business users, email folders and essential work documents tend to amount to 10-15GB and online backup could well be a good solution.

The other slight drawback with large data sets is making the initial backup. Upload speeds to the internet are generally much slower than download speeds. An average broadband line with 6 mbps download speed may get 0.5 mbps upload and a large volume of data will take a long time to upload. However, most online backup companies will offer a data seeding option, where the initial backup is done to a hard drive which is then couriered to the backup company and transferred directly. From then on only changes in the data are uploaded which takes far less time.

What, then, are the advantages? Firstly, it’s automatic. Set up what you want to back up and it will be done. Most often at the end of the day when your internet connection is less used. Compare that to more manual methods which require a human to remember to plug in the USB drive or change the tape.

Secondly, it’s low cost. For example, Perfect Backup - a company we recommend - offer an option to back up a user’s PC for £20 /month for 20GB of data.

Thirdly, it is by it’s very nature off-site. There is no advantage in having a backup of your data sat in the office if someone breaks in and steals it along with your other IT equipment or there is a fire. Both the original and the backup are then lost.

And lastly, it is secure. Your backup is stored in a datacentre with multiple levels of redundancy. It is far more secure there than on any USB device or tape.

It’s always too late to arrange backup of your data after a catastrophe. Everyone has good intentions but it is the most neglected part of IT support, particularly in small businesses. Online backup offers a an easy, low cost option to ensure your data is safe. My advice is to act now. 

Added By: Phil Wright on 08th Jan 2011 - 21:31
Number of Views: 4637
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