Online Backup Recommendation
With the abundance of high-speed Internet connections, many individuals and businesses are considering online backup solutions, also called remote backup.
To find the best solution for clients and for my own personal use, I have reviewed a large number of online backup services and tested several. While there are a number of good solutions, I chose MozyHome for personal use and MozyPro for businesses.
When trusting data to an online service, security of the data is paramount. All backup solutions offer encryption to secure your data in transit and in storage. However, according to a May 2008 study, Mozy is one of the few that protects the user from a certain type of "man in the middle" (MITM) attack. An excerpt from the Heise Security article:
Only Carbonite and Mozy noticed that the certificate provided during a MITM attack was forged and refused to connect to the fake server. But only Mozy provided valuable information and warned users that they may be under attack.
Reasons why I chose Mozy:
I should point out that there are many mixed and negative reviews of online backup services on the Internet, including Mozy. From having worked in-depth with Mozy, I feel that the negative reviews are mainly due to individuals using Mozy in scenarios that are not ideal for online backups, not spending enough time to tweak the service, not having enough free space on the hard drive, or problems caused by other software, such as overly-aggressive firewalls.
In other words, Mozy is a highly-reliable backup solution, if you are willing to spend a little time configuring it and understand the limitations of online backup (see below).
Advantages of Online Backup
Regardless if you are a business or an individual, your data files are the most valuable part of your computer system. Here are some of the advantages of using online backups compared to traditional backup methods such as tape and disk:
Limitations of Online Backup
Here are some situations where online backup may not work well or may require additional backup methods:
For many desktop PC's, the default Mozy installation will work well without any tweaking. At times, some tweaking will be necessary for smooth operation.
Before sending files to the online service, Mozy has to encode the files locally on the hard drive. To do this, it needs enough free space to hold at least 130% of the largest file to be backed up. For example, if the largest single file you are backing up is 500 MB, the hard drive needs at least 650 MB free space, and ideally more.
If your computer has a single disk and you are short on free space, the only option is to delete unneeded files.
If your system hard drive is low on free space, but you have other hard drives, follow these steps to instruct Mozy to use a Temp folder on a drive with more free space:
Mozy relies on the underlying operating system to determine if it has a connection to the backup service. Occasionally this test fails and Mozy reports a connection error, even though the connection to the Internet is working.
If you have an always-on Internet connection such as cable or DSL, check the following configuration option to avoid this error:
Settings Options Scheduling Tab Attempt automatic backups even if network connection is not detected