Wednesday, January 19th
Pros and Cons of Online Computer Backup
What benefits does an online computer backup service provide? And what are some potential challenges that you should prepare for?
- Remote location of digital copies.
This is the main reason for considering a backup service in the first place. Files from your computer (you get to decide which files) are kept at a safe and secure location, perhaps at a considerable distance from you and your computer.
- The system is automatic, requiring no intervention after initial setup.
Review this process before selecting a service. How easy is the interface to use? How many steps are there to make changes? Is it easy to modify your subscription as your storage needs change?
- Some services provide automatic encryption.
This is an important security consideration. Also, if the encryption is built into the software and is automatic, it will save you the time and trouble of having to do it manually.
- Unlimited storage space (scalable, for a fee).
Most companies offer virtually unlimited storage space.
- Slow transfer speeds, both uploading and restoring.
Even if your Internet connection is fast, ensure that the company you are considering provides for speedy uploads and downloads.
- No guarantee of privacy.
Review the provider's policy on encryption and privacy.
- The provider could go out of business.
Unfortunately, when an Internet company goes out of business, they might just disappear. And if it happens to be your online backup provider, your data could disappear as well.
- A lost password or encryption key could prevent recovery.
Check to see if the provider has a method in place to help you recover your data if you happen to lose or forget your password or encryption key.
- Some IPS providers limit data.
Do you know if your Internet service provider has limits on the amount of data you can upload or download? Or penalties for going over a set amount? Be sure to find out before you sign up for an online backup service.
- Limited retention periods.
Review an online backup service provider's policy on keeping "old" data. If they offer to backup multiple versions of a file, how many iterations do they keep, and for how long?
As usual when shopping for any important purchase, you must read descriptions of each service's features carefully; it might be that the disadvantages of a service do not apply to your situation. Also, a service's advantages might not meet any of your needs.