Friday, April 17, 2009

Pass the Backup Buck

Back it up.. later

Data backup is probably the top computer task that is taken for granted and procrastinated upon. Sadly, it is also one of the most important! Next to making sure your anti virus, spyware, adware, malware and windows updates are current, backing up is tantamount, after all it's your data.

Backup software, well there's a room full of products and vendors offering backup solutions. Unfortunately, if Microsoft had built their backup software to be reliable, you would not be reading this article but you are. Microsoft backup from windows 95 era was horrible, and left such a bad experience with everyone that they have never recovered. People have turned to alternative solutions.

The problem is that most people backup their data to the same drive as their operating system. If your operating system fails, your backup data is gone as well. The key is to backup to another totally separate drive or cd\dvd. This then raises a issues of free drive space.

External USB drives are the best option, and the best bang for the buck. Often a 500GB USB drive can cost .25 per Gb. CD's and DVD's are less expensive, however the shelf life of a cd or dvd is not as long as you are led to believe. Maybe 3 or 4 years if stored properly. Let's not forget to mention if you happen to scratch a cd or dvd - then your data is gone.

Pass the backup buck

The newest data backlup offering is to let someone else worry about it. Well not exactly. Online backups are quickly becoming an player for data backup solutions.
Essentially, your data is backed up on another computer using your internet connection. The data is stored on a secure server and that is backed up several times inthe very same way corporations mirror and backup their own data. Redundant drives, shelves of drives, mirrored drives and raid arrays are employed to safeguard data - now including yours as well.

Carbonite Backup for example illustrates how it all works. (This is not the stuff Han Solo was encased in for Star Wars - The Empire Strikes back- but it is just as safe and secure)

Carbonite is one of the major service providors for online backup solutions. There are many more, each with their own offerings, features, and prices.

The process is quite simple. Carbonite installs a small computer program to automate the backup process. When your computer is idle, carbonite automatically backs up your new and changed files. When you start using your computer again, Carbonite goes to sleep so that it will never slow down your computer or internet connection.

Your data on the carebonite server is double encrypted (the same way the banks protect your information) to be asboultely safe and secure from anything and everyone.

Restoration of your data is as simple as a click of the mouse, or a right click on a folder. The carbonite software can integrate itself into your windows menus to be available all the time. You can backup and restore any file or folder by right clicking on it, selecting the carbonite menu and then choose to backup, or restore, or delete the file.

Carbonite is available with a 14 day free trial and if you decide to purchase the product, you can do so using a 20% off carbonite offer code. You may also backup as much data as you require - from 1Gb to 100Gb - keep in mind of course that your internet service provider may charge for uploads in excess of a few Gb per day. (Each ISP has ddifferent rates so please verify yours first)

For those that are mobile or have multiple computers, you can also install carbonite on other computers, and best of all - access your files from anywhere using the remote access utility on the carbonite website. Tjis is especially useful for large files that cannot be emailed.

back it up and forget about's safe.