Is online backup a good idea for executives?

Executives often ask if an online backup service is a good solution.

I use an online backup service, in addition to making daily image backups on alternating drives, and like the online backup service very much as a backup to my backup.

The main thing about an online service is to feel fairly certain they are secure.

The reason I suggest also making image backups daily is that, if your computer crashes, it is much faster to restore and get going again because your image backup already contains Windows, applications, and your data all in one backup.

Please post your comments on this blog.


6 Comments

  • Karen Geney March 24, 2011 at 5:22 am - Reply

    Mike: Great (as usual) advice. I have been looking at a few on-line back-up sites. I can’t seem to decide, though, and reading your post made me understand why:

    >>The main thing about an online service is to feel fairly certain they are secure.<<

    It seems as if everything is vulnerable to being hacked. How do you determine that the service is secure? Thanks. Karen

    • Mike Foster March 24, 2011 at 6:55 am - Reply

      Hi Karen – it is really difficult to tell. After all, it appears that RSA may have suffered a breach in the past week. RSA is known as the leader and sets the standards for making the security token fobs that so many organizations rely on for secure authentication.

      The best thing to do is encrypt your data yourself before it gets backed up. That can be a lot of work.

      Another simple test, easier to perform although not the best test, is simply to call the provider and tell them you lost your password and can they recover it. If they say, “I’m sorry – we do not know your password – you are on your own” then that is the correct response.

  • Gary Hirsch March 24, 2011 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Hi Mike

    Do you make full or incremental backups each day?

    • Mike Foster March 24, 2011 at 7:20 am - Reply

      Hi Gary!

      Three steps:
      – I make image backups every night of my local machine to alternating external USB 3.0 drives so I can restore really fast and be going again whenever I need to. I use Shadow Protect. Acronis and Ghost are other choices. This is NOT online.
      – For online backup, I do not backup my entire hard drive – just my most important files. I encrypt all “secret” files. The tool I use (KineticD) sends just the “changes” on my computer to thier online backup data center. At the data center they put together my current files. That way, I can restore individual files or the whole set. Additonally, not as much data needs to go over the Internet this way, so Online backup is really fast.
      – For “not secure” information, and the most quanity of data, data that the people who work for me need to see, my Citrix/Hosted Exchange provider also performs backups too.

      As you can see, I like backups to backups.

  • Gary Hirsch March 24, 2011 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Mike,
    Kineticd seems a little pricey for my needs. Any opinion on Carbonite?

    • Mike Foster March 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      I’ve never used Carbonite, however I know lots of people who do. I really don’t have an opinion either way however I see nothing wrong with Carbonite.

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