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13 Feb 2008
By Mamush Heayie, editor
Originally posted on October 01, 2004
Last updated February 13, 2008
With hundreds of companies offering seemingly the same service, choosing the best online backup provider could be challenging.
Prices and features vary quite widely from company to company; therefore an understanding of ones need is important.
Are you looking for simply storing data reliably and paying the lowest possible price? Or are you looking for a general storage as well as ability to share your data with your family and friends? Perhaps, you are willing to pay more for the ability to backup database and email applications in real time, as opposed to scheduled backups.
Below are some of the main factors to consider when selecting an online data backup provider:
A service designed for home users or small businesses is quite different than one designed for the enterprise. The latter requires complex features such as ability to backup operating system files, live database, historical backup, and extremely tight encryption, while the former would be happy with a relatively low priced service that provides common features such as scheduled backup, web access, ability to send files by CD/DVD, and share files with others.
In general, online backup users should ask the following questions:
To ensure that your data is secure while it is being transferred from your computer to the provider’s data center, most providers offer the option of encryption and password protection. In this way, only someone with your password can access your data.
In most cases a 128-bit encryption is sufficient. For some businesses that want absolute privacy, security might require a much stronger encryption. Although not very common, some providers offer a 448-bit encryption. In addition, data has to remain secure once it reaches the destination server, which means providers have to have proper policies to ensure employees do not access client data for non-authorized reasons. Most providers take the issue of security very seriously, as it is one of the reasons why computer users are hesitant to backup online.
As backups are usually a last resort way of recovering data after a disaster or system failure, backup providers don’t have much of a margin of error. The data has to be there when needed. No amount of explanation on why the data is not available will calm a user that just lost an entire computer hard drive and is trying to restore from a backup.
To ensure the provider has taken sufficient steps to keep service reliable, you should ask the following questions:
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