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How safe is Carbonite
Old 05-15-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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How safe is Carbonite

I am considering signing up for Carbonite ($59 Unlimited) but I have all my financial information on my computer (Basically gone paperless). Including my scanned in statements, user names and passwords etc. It's the user names, passwords, security questions that have me going crazy, as along with bank accounts, brokerage accounts, on line bill web sites, it's a bit much to keep track of. I do use RoboForm but some sites won't allow use of RoboForm. Also if I lose my computer, that won't do me any good to remember all those username and passwords.

I am leary of course of hacking, but it is also a safety measure as well if I were to lose my computer and portable hard drive that I take with me when I travel my goose would be cooked. This almost happened to me on a flight. Someone on the plane took my computer case (along with back up drive) from the overhead bin by mistake. Talk about panic attacks. Fortunately I was able to retrieve it.

I Googled Carbonite Safety, and only found one critic.
Any thoughts.

I also purchased a password and encryption software program to try and add some protection to sensitive files, but when I encrypted them before a trip and then tried to decrypt them when I arrived, I was unable to do so, and lost a lot of files. Anyone using a password third party software program for password protecting certain files?

Also, I wonder if you were to password protect some files with third party software and signed up with Carbonite, I wonder if Carbonite would be able to backup those files that you use password protect for?
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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I have used a program called File Waster for encrypting files and have never had a problem decrypting them. I have also copied the encrypted files for backup and decrypted the copies with no problems. It's worth a try but YMMV. The link is:
JCMatt software -- File Buddy
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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If your documents are in Word or Open Office why not just password protect them? According to the menu that explains how to add or remove a password you better not forget it because there is no way to open the document without the password and it reads like no one can open it even techies. I passwords on documents that have sensitive info. I have a document that is user ids and their passwords. I backup it up onto 2 different disks all are password protected. I also have 2 sets of all important documents one disk each in case 1 disk is not readable in addition to these being on the c drive. Most are not sensitive so there's no password on them.

I'm curious, since Carbonite backs up files every time you are on the pc does it save all these backups and you can select which one to use or does it just have 1 copy and it deletes the old one when a new one is made?
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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From my reading, it backs up all new files you create as long as you on connected to Internet. If you change a file, it would back up changed file. If you delete a file on your computer, it will be deleted on Carbonite backup. So what ever is on your computer is on your Carbonite backup.

No most of the documents are scanned PDF's and on an Excel spreadsheet. I thought there was no way to password protect files in Vista. Does Word have a special feature?

I will look into File Waster, but after my last experience I am very nervous about encrypting. I don't know how secure just a password would be, but better than nothing, I guess.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:50 PM   #5
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I use SyncBack, the free version. It lets you either backup files and folders or sync them. I keep a monthly backup in a safety deposit box, and back up mine and DW's documents folders daily on both a Network drive, and a USB drive.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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I thought there was no way to password protect files in Vista. Does Word have a special feature?
Yes. So does Open Office. I password protect my most sensitive files, and back up everything on a portable external hard drive (and unprotect the backup version since it is not online). That's probably not as safe as other methods, though, because maybe the portable external hard drive would fail or lose data somehow.
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:59 PM   #8
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If you delete a file on your computer, it will be deleted on Carbonite backup.
No, if you delete a file on your PC, it will not be deleted on the Boston server, where the Carbonite center is located.

There is a control file on your PC that lists all files backed up, and the current status. If you decide to restore a file that was previously backed up (even years ago) and you have deleted the file from your PC, you can do a restore. You would have to delete the control record in order to delete the file off the backup server.

I've had Carbonite for close to a year, and I'm pleased with how it works. The initial backup will run long (any full backup - regardless of vendor) since it runs in a low priority and is affected by the speed of your internet connection. It took seven days (24 hours) to do the initial backup under the trial version, and an additional three days to backup my extensive audio/video and picture files after I decided to get a subscription (these file types are not backed up on the trial version).

It works well and I no longer worry about ensuring manually backups (and taking the CD's to the bank vault).

Will it fit your needs? Get a free trial and test drive it for yourself. Only you can answer if is what you want.

As to your question on security? I'm sure you read the detail on their site, but if you haven't:

http://www.carbonite.com/en/online-b...re-data-backup
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Old 05-15-2011, 08:07 PM   #9
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I think it's important to look into how a restore would work. I used a service associated with my internet service provider and backups seemed to work really good. Then I had an occasion to try to restore my files and it was a big problem because I had to load the backup agent and it couldn't find the database of backed up files. I finally threw in the towel on it. That may not be a problem with Carbonite, but I'd want to be sure the bare metal restoration process is bullet proof.
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Old 05-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #10
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Carbonite is just like any other insurance. You pay for it every year, maybe for decades, and you never know how good it is until after the disaster.

So far so good. It hasn't made me unhappy. But as far as I know I could be storing my data on the next network to pull a Sony.

Carbonite only stores one backup of your file. I have an OpenOffice spreadsheet with seven years of photovoltaic & solar data that includes a dozen tabs & graphs. At some point OpenOffice mangled it during a filesave operation and only saved a year of data on one tab. (I don't know what the problem was and I probably never will.) Carbonite faithfully found the mangled file and backed it up to their archive by overrwriting the last good version of the file. Luckily I had a month-old backup on my external hard drive so I was able to recover from the problem. But if I'd done an incremental backup to my external hard drive I could've specified to add changed files and not overrwrite them.

Carbonite would make me a lot happier if they'd back up the last 10 or 20 versions of a file, but I suppose that would make their storage problems 10x or 20x times as complex.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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i ASSUMING BY Carbonite you mean this.

Whenever you store files on someone else's server, your files are only as secure as that server.

Forget MS application password protection, it's trivial. Keep you own backups on media you control. USB drives, thumb drives and CDRs are easy, reliable and cheap. Go simple.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:25 PM   #12
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if your primary concern is, say, fire, then a network-attached storage out in the garage may be an acceptable alternative. It's firewalled off from your house and you're not likely to lose both the house and garage completely (it's generally one or the other). Of course, if you're worried about data loss from a tornado or hurricane... well, now you've got a hard drive that can go wherever it feels like.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:07 AM   #13
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If it took 7 days to backup your files, then is it unreasonable to assume it would take 7 days to recover them? That is a real long time to get ones computer back up and running. I would think OK for individual files, or files you don't use or need often, but not suitable for PC recovery.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:15 AM   #14
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If it took 7 days to backup your files, then is it unreasonable to assume it would take 7 days to recover them? That is a real long time to get ones computer back up and running. I would think OK for individual files, or files you don't use or need often, but not suitable for PC recovery.
That's only if you need to do a full backup, as in the case of a PC that is "fried" or lost/stolen.

You don't need a full backup to get you up and running immediately. For instance, the latest copy of my Quicken file backed up, as of the last time I used it. I only need to restore it to be up and running.

However in some cases (as my daily FIDO RIP report), I have daily files going back for close to a year. Do I need them all? Of course not. However Carbonite does not charge for disk usage (as other products do) so I can keep multiple copies, by date. However in reality, I only need the latest.

As for other "duplicate files", such as audio/video/pictures? I also keep a copy on two other PC's (two laptop's) which can be restored via my local network quite easily. I used Carbonite to capture an image in the case that our home burns to the ground and all three PC's are lost.

Once my initial backup was done, ad hoc backups take a few minutes a day, as I create the files.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:48 AM   #15
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I use a similar program, Mozy, for backups. I've been pleased with it. I do a test restore of a file every now and then. As I recall, with Mozy at least, files are encrypted before being sent to the server. They can provide the encryption key, in which case they can decrypt the file when it's restored. Or you can provide the key, in which case they cannot decrypt and you would have to use your key to decrypt the file when restored.

Mozy stores multiple versions of files, so you can recover prior versions.

I also use TruCrypt to encrypt files on my PC. Actually I've created encrypted drives in which I store confidential files. You can go so far as to encrypt your entire system.

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Old 05-16-2011, 10:07 AM   #16
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If it took 7 days to backup your files, then is it unreasonable to assume it would take 7 days to recover them?
Yes.

The backup time involves Carbonite's data center, network traffic, router settings, and whatever else your computer is doing at the time. If you're heavily using your CPU (image processing, gaming) or your network (streaming video) then it's not backing up to Carbonite. If you're leaving your computer idle while you're away doing other things then the backup goes faster.

It took Carbonite over three months to finish backing up our 140GB of 72,000 files. But I set my computer to hibernate when I'm away for longer than 10 minutes.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:56 AM   #17
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if your primary concern is, say, fire, then a network-attached storage out in the garage may be an acceptable alternative. It's firewalled off from your house and you're not likely to lose both the house and garage completely (it's generally one or the other). Of course, if you're worried about data loss from a tornado or hurricane... well, now you've got a hard drive that can go wherever it feels like.

I kind of like this approach... any suggestions on a drive?


I might start another thead on this, but I would like to get a network drive that backs up everything on all the computers, has a couple of full backups and will allow you to burn a CD of the important stuff every once in awhile...
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:13 AM   #18
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When I was using a PC, I was using a little piece of software called Cryptainer to encrypt all of my sensitive data. I used it for 6+ years with no problem. With the Mac, I now use "encrypted disk images" to encrypt my data. All my data gets backed up automatically by Time Machine (in case the computer fails). The most important data is also backed up and stored off-site on flash drives with hardware-based encryption (in case of burglary, fire, tornados, etc...).

I looked at online backup services like Carbonite. They seemed safe enough, but I still couldn't bring myself to trust them.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #19
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if your primary concern is, say, fire, then a network-attached storage out in the garage may be an acceptable alternative.
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I kind of like this approach... any suggestions on a drive?
I have a SimpleTech that I bought at Costco a number of years ago. I've since expanded it to a total of three drives and it works fine. I like the "spin down" feature which allows you to set the drives to shut off if there's no activity.

I use SmartSync Pro to backup our three computers to the SimpleTech. One thing I like about this combination is that the files are stored in native format - no special software is needed to access or restore them.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:48 AM   #20
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I kind of like this approach... any suggestions on a drive?
No. I have a Buffalo drive that I've had for quite a while but we only back up one computer to it and we're both computer nerds so "ease of use" or anything like that don't usually enter into the equation... well, they do, but at a different plane than I'd be comfortable unleashing on my family (for instance). (just pictures and financial docs... my most important files is code and that's replicated off-site in various places just due to the nature of the work environment)

various companies sell a Microsoft-specced Windows Home Server that does make it drop-dead simple to back up multiple Windows computers (and I'd half-suspect Macs as well). That might be an option.

Oh, and back to the OP, I do know plenty of people that use and love Carbonite.
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