Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wild Wild World of Data Storage

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security said Benjamin Franklin.

It's a dangerous world--always been this way, always will remain. Backing up your sensitive data to a secure, encrypted server in a remote location is the ultimate insurance against the sinking feeling that accompanies losing something important. The ever-present need for off-site back-up is one reason online backup companies continue to thrive. Convenience plays a role as well, as you can forgo buying your external data storage devices and software to do local backups. (Keep in mind, however, that unless you have superfast upload speeds, the only practical way to do full system backups is to use an external HDD or other local back up device.)

Online backup services have an added benefit in that some provide a secure means for you to share your folders. Typically you can share files via either a communal account (so anyone with the account name and password can access it) or public folders (accessible through a Web browser). If you work from multiple locations, storing documents online obviates the need to carry those files with you, and makes them easy to pass along to colleagues at work.

Among the services we looked at, the more security-minded ones do not offer sharing, instead focusing strictly on safe file backup (file sharing could lead to accidental or malicious sharing).

After we examined more than a dozen backup services, we chose five that provided the most attractive pricing for the average user: Acpana Data Deposit Box, Connected Data Protector, FirstBackup, Pro-Softnet's IBackup, and Xdrive.

Other services we encountered--some of which are oriented more toward business users than home or small-office users--include @Backup, Amerivault, DataVault, Intronis Technologies ESureIT, Iomega IStorage Online, Novastor Online Backup Service,, and SwapDrive.

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