Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disaster Proof Your Data By Storing it Off Site

Off site data storage
can save your files.
So much has been in the news lately about earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and fires in which people have lost everything they own that your heart breaks for those who’ve suffered these loses.

With more and more people having their businesses in their homes, in addition to losing all their personal possessions, they’ve also lost all their business files and documents.

If a thief gets your computer are
you sufficiently backed up?
Natural disasters aren’t the only way computer files can be lost: if a theft in your home or business steals your computer(s), it's another way you can lose all your data, photographs, family videos, and music library. That is, unless this valuable information is backed up and stored off site.

While “cloud computing” is all the buzz, data storage isn’t necessarily about cloud computing, but more about plain old, vanilla storage, just like those boxes of papers that are kept in a warehouse for a potential tax audit is about storage.

Like storing boxes of paper, on-line backup companies can store your data.
On-line storage companies provide safe data storage for your business documents, personal data files, photographs, videos of the kids as babies, even your music files. Like physical warehouses, you can have as much storage space as you want; it’s just a matter of how much you want to pay for it.

Thanks to PC World (March 17, 2011), here’s a list they compiled of the top data storage services along with their reviews:


 Carbonite is a mature online backup service, but it lacks many desirable features you'll find in the competition.

CrashPlan 3.0

 CrashPlan offers unique capabilities, like multiple backup sets and backing up to friends' computers. We like its unlimited storage in the $50-a-year plan, the ability to back up attached devices, and multiplatform compatibility. Multiple computer accounts are expensive, however, and you don't get file sharing or mobile clients.

IDrive (2011)

 $4.95/month per PC with 150GB
IDrive offers generous storage plans and a powerful Web interface, but it still doesn't let you mix Macs and PCs in one account, the mobile app doesn't give access to your backed up files, and there's no sharing via secure download links.

Jungle Disk 3.1

 $3/month plus storage fee
 Jungle Disk offers a lot, with scheduled online backups, folder syncing, and a shared drive, but it's a bit more confusing and complicated than it needs to be.


KineticD offers most of what to look for in an online backup product, including constant monitoring for changed or added files, version saving, open-file backup, and multiple PC support. For its relatively high price, however, one should expect a slicker, more capable interface.


 $10/month for 50GB on unlimited PCs 
Already-impressive beta service MiMedia offers hands-off, automated backup, the ability to play media files online, and a cloud-based disk drive. For more control over the upload process and backup set, SOS has it beat, and for simple syncing, DropBox is a better bet. But if you want anywhere access to your digital media, you could do a lot worse than the reasonably priced and well-designed MiMedia.

MozyHome 2.0

 Mozy improves ease of use and setup, but still supports just one computer per account and doesn't let you back up network or removable drives. That keeps it a step behind the competition.

Nomadesk 4.0

Nomadesk goes beyond other syncing and file-sharing services, creating a complete virtual disk. But it doesn't automate the process or automatically save versions the way "traditional" online backup services do. If you just want a virtual drive synced to your PCs and the cloud, Nomadesk is worth a look.

Norton Online Backup 2.0

 $50 for 25GB on up to 5 PCs 
With this release, Norton has brought its online backup service's features into the mainstream. Support for multiple PCs, including Macs, in one account and a slick Web-based user interface make this a Norton Online Backup 2.0 a real contender.

SOS Online Backup Home Edition 4.7.4
$9.95 a month for five PCs and up to 50GB 
SOS still offers more than other online backup providers: multiple PC coverage, external and network drive backup, a local backup app, and an excellent iPhone app. Its Live Protect that watches folders for file changes and backs up immediately. In sum, SOS delivers more than any other online backup service.

Here’s a handy chart, also from PC World, that compares the pricing of these services. Pricing can change, so check with the company for the latest information. The criteria for comparison purposes is how much it would cost to back up 50GB of data on three machines for a year.

Online Backup Service
Stated Price
Price for 3 PCs and 50GB Data for 1 Year
Free Plan
$54.95/year/1 PC
15-day trial
$49.99/yr/1 PC unlimited
30 day, and free local, friend
$99.50/year/50GB/5 PCs
5GB free account
Jungle Disk
$3/month plus storage fees
$2/GB/unlimited PCs
14-day trial
$99/year/100GB/Unlimited PCs
30-day trial
$4.95/mo/1 PC
2GB free account
$50 (subject to fair use policy)
30-day free trial
Norton Online Backup
$49.99/25GB/5 PCs
30-day 5GB trial
SOS Online Backup
$79.95/year/5 PCs
14-day trial

Having said all of the above, of course, there's also Apple's iCloud service that provides some content and complete media storage. It replaces MobileMe which replaced iDisk, both gone effective June 30th, 2012. iCloud's a good solution for your media storage as well as syncing calendars, address books, emails, and notes, but it's not a solution for complete computer backup.

As with anything else, do your homework and comparison shop before you commit.

UPDATE:  June 30, 2011
If you're wondering which service I'm using for my computers' backup service, I just started with BackBlaze (shown in the chart that's linked below). I tested a few and for the price this is the service that suits my needs best. 

One thing to know in advance, the more data you have to back up, the longer it takes, meaning that it could take several days for it all to transfer. But it happens in the background so you can go about your business without worrying.

UPDATE: June 27, 2011
For another, longer list of offsite backup services, including a comparison chart with reviews, please click here.

The information contained herein is for guideline purposes only, is not intended as an endorsement of any product, and is no guarantee of the results.

Images courtesy of, cisco-eagle

Copyright © The B. Hammil Company 2011


  1. Good post! I would strongly recommend that any "cloud" backup be a secondary backup. Having physical access to your data is pretty important. I personally use Crash Plan Pro but it's a hosted service that my company sells and provides to our business clients. We keep a backup on their site and then one in an offsite COLO. For my personal data I actually have it in three locations, home, office and the COLO. Thanks for doing all this research and putting it in one easy to find place!

  2. Marilyn; I agree that having often-used data backed up and nearby is a good option. One of the reasons that I chose Back Blaze as my solution is that while it backs up my entire computer, it also gives me immediate access to individual files should I need just a few right away. Of course, DropBox is also a great solution for that, and I use that as well, especially if I want the data immediately accessible on a variety of devices.

  3. I think data backed up offers best solution for online backup, remote data backup, and offsite data protection. I had tried data backed up services for my website backup and found them good.


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