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Online Backing Up
Old 02-03-2008, 03:37 PM   #1
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Online Backing Up

DH's latest thing is that he wants to backup all of our financial data on line. He backups our computer every night and puts the disc in the safe at home. But recently he read a technology column that said that "fireproof" safes aren't safe for backups---that the data couldn't be retreived if there was a fire:

Personal Tech: BILL HUSTED'S COMPUTER TIPS: Don't rely on fire safes to protect hard drives | ajc.com

So he wants to use one of the free online backup services such as X-drive, idrive, Mozy. Does anyone know anything about these? I guess my biggest worry is security. Supposedly the stuff is encrypted, but still....
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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As long as he encrypts the files before sending them, it seems ok. I would not put unencrypted confidential information on a shared site.

There are programs like "Pretty Good Privacy" that should do the trick.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
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I use GeekSquad's online backup service. It's a pay service, but reasonable. They store everything encrypted. I'm not sure if it's encrypted in-flight though.

It's worth knowing where the company is located and what the applicable laws are for that country. Other than that, Rich has offered the best advice, which is to always encrypt it yourself before sending it anywhere.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:14 PM   #4
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I use GeekSquad's online backup service. It's a pay service, but reasonable. They store everything encrypted. I'm not sure if it's encrypted in-flight though..
If it is being sent to a URL starting with https:// (note the 's') it should be encrypted. If not, all bets are off.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:15 PM   #5
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I have a couple of USB Flash Drives that I use for backup copies of my important stuff. They're tiny enough to hide about anywhere, so I keep one hidden away out in the detached workshop, and one in the lock-box at the bank. They're all password protected.

Back before ER, I used to keep CD's with backups of my personal stuff "off site", hidden away in my laboratory at w*rk......and CD backups of my w*rk stuff tucked away at home.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:17 PM   #6
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If it is being sent to a URL starting with https:// (note the 's') it should be encrypted. If not, all bets are off.
They have a client for synchronizing data. I haven't actually bothered to run a network sniffer to see what's passed over the wire (in my case, it's all pictures and documents that I wouldn't care if someone viewed).
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Yes but ...
Old 02-04-2008, 08:44 AM   #7
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Yes but ...



Finally, something I can help with :-)

Some things to consider:

1. If the company disappears, what happens to your data?
2. Are they backing up everything on your PC or just the "My Documents" folder?
3. Will your ISP charge you more when you start sending large amounts
of backup data over the line?
4. Worse case scenario - your hard drive dies, is stolen, etc. - what will
be the steps to do a complete restore?
5. Is the data really encrypted? Why should I try to hack your
computer when you'll send it to me for free?

Mike Honeycutt
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for your replies! Mike, you convinced me. I'm following Goonie's example and am now the proud owner of a lock box at the bank. First time ever that I had a lock box---makes me feel very important. And it's all of $5 a year ($40, but you get a $35 discount if you keep $5000 in your checking account).
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:04 PM   #9
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And it's all of $5 a year ($40, but you get a $35 discount if you keep $5000 in your checking account).
$35 on $5000 is 0.7%. Wouldn't you be better off keeping your $5000 in a MM fund and paying the full $40 for the box?
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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$35 on $5000 is 0.7%. Wouldn't you be better off keeping your $5000 in a MM fund and paying the full $40 for the box?
Good point---where were you this morning when we were making this major decision? Actually, the checking acount IS interest-bearing, although at a lesser rate than a MM.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:21 PM   #11
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I just got an extra external hard drive enclosure, put a drive in it, and I keep that at my dads house in his fire safe.

I wouldnt put any sensitive or financial information on any sort of online backup system run by anyone.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:47 PM   #12
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I wouldnt put any sensitive or financial information on any sort of online backup system run by anyone.
I'll give you an account on my server. SFTP or FTPS access, your choice. I'll store the data on natural magnets at the earth's core. World class data center guarded by genetically engineered enuch / pit bull / neo-con / poodles (they're fierce!).

I promise not to peak at your data. Oh, and you'd better give me your private key just to be safe.

Trust me!
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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The most important thing about backups is, of course, doing them, and making it easy to do them. In our house we have a D-Link network accessible storage (NAS) drive and use Norton Ghost to automatically back our computers up to the NAS drive. So we do our back ups regularly because they're easy to do.

The other part of the backup equation is keeping those backups in a safe place. It's a legitimate concern: a lot of people loose their computer and their backups due to fire or theft because both computer and backups are kept at the same desk. You can greatly reduce your risks by simply keeping your backup media elsewhere in your house. One generally safe place is the garage.

I used to be a Red Cross Disaster Action Team, or DAT member, and have been to dozens of house fires, there to help the homeowners with their immediate needs (food, shelter, clothing, baby needs, etc) and provide snacks and drinks to the firefighters. In dozens of house fires, I've never seen a house burned to the ground. Though smoke damage may extend throughout the house, the actual fire damage is usually restricted to a few rooms.

Back to the garage. Garages are unique rooms in a house. They are the only rooms in the house that are completely firewalled off from the rest of the house (a national fire code requirement), so a fire in the garage usually doesn't make it into the house or a house fire into the garage.

Which is why a keeping a NAS drive in the garage and using automatic software to back the back your computer(s) up to the NAS drive makes so much sense. A fire that starts in one part of the house generally won't traverse that firewall, and your data -- either the version stored on the NAS drive or the version on your computer -- stays safe. It's not a 100% insurance policy, but it's pretty good.

(A note about the D-Link DSM-G600 I use. I only use this unit as a backup location, not to store files I access and use on a regular basis, where speed is not a primary consideration. It does this job well, but I can't vouch for its utility when it comes to other uses.)
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:14 PM   #14
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You can put a lot of backups on this

Western Digital - My Book Essential 1TB External Hard Drive - WDH1U10000N

Use the 10% off coupon from here to make it $207:

Here are your reward certificates!

A terabyte is a lot of room for backups.
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