Guide to Online Data Backup Services
I have already mentioned offsite data storage a few times, but mainly from a business perspective. Today I want to shed some light on the benefits for us consumers and normal home users. It used to be the case that only mid-size or large businesses could afford disaster recovery services. But those days are gone and a couple of online backup service providers have customized their offers to meet the needs of consumers as well.
The idea of these services is mainly to provide an option to share data with others or to have pictures and documents available from anywhere. Less promoted is the fact that these services are great to protect consumers from data loss in case a natural disaster strikes or when a hard drive goes bad. With only little planning one can provide herself with a great disaster recovery option. Think Hurricane season or earthquake or wild fires. These natural forces have destroyed thousands of lifes – not only by destroying houses and businesses, but by also destroying birth certificates, financial information and other personal data.
Online backup services should compliment normal efforts to prevent loss of documents or digital data. The first step should be to lease a safety deposit box at a bank. You should store all your important documents there. This will prevent loss in case of fire or theft. The online backup option becomes critical when it comes to digital data. How important are your digital pictures to you? Gone are the days where you could grab the film and get it developed again to have a picture in your hands again. If a digital picture is gone, it is gone forever. When uploading pictures from your camera, it takes only a few clicks to upload them to an online backup service as well.
My personal strategy looks a little more complicated, but provides me with several layers of protection. First of all, all data in my house is centrally stored on a shared machine/hard drive. From there a nightly backup job transfers the data to an external hard drive. That external hard drive is rotated bi-monthly with one of the same kind. The second external hard drive is stored in my safety deposit box at a local bank. I also use an online data storage provider for some data – not everything though. Pictures and normal documents I don’t have a problem storing online. Critical data (financial data as an example) will always be stored on local storage and then in my bank’s safety deposit box.
Online backup services are extremely affordable. Prices often start below $10.00 per month for 5 GB of secure data storage. I recommend the services of Box.net and Mozy.com. Both providers offer great storage allowances and a very convenient way to upload your personal data. Free options are available as well.