Disaster Recovery

Poll: When was the last time you performed an offsite data backup?

The TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog member poll: When was the last time you performed an offsite data backup?

During the course of its run, the Product Spotlight Blog has reviewed several applications, both stand-alone and in the cloud, that offer convenient and efficient ways to redundantly store data. Applications and systems like SyncToy 2.1, MozyPro, Paragon Drive Backup 10 Workstation, Acronis Backup & Recovery 10, etc. provide several different, yet effective, methods for creating data backups that can be saved offsite. But how often are you taking advantage of these applications personally?

On a professional level, I would suspect the answer is quite different. In your professional capacity, I would expect backup systems to be standard operating procedure and that backups are performed on schedule and without hesitation. Does that discipline transfer to your personal systems? If you are like me, the data I store at home has become increasingly important -- bank records, tax returns, contacts, etc -- so backing that data up to some offsite storage only makes sense. So do you have the backup systems in place?

For the record, I have been lax lately; it has been more than a year since I did an offsite backup. But the plan is to do one immediately when I get home.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

32 comments
brayotte
brayotte

Used it 2 years ago - worked great. Started wih different computer and interface has less choices than before - I bought 200 GB back up and it started immedaitely choosing and backing up 200 GB - took forever to stop it and uninstall it. No support help from Mozy. Why did they "fix" what wasn't broken? Going back to Carbonite.

mrbobyu
mrbobyu

I use dropbox for office documents backup, it automatically sync it with my online dropbox file when I save my files inside mydocuments. It is really reliable and I can retrieve the place anywhere and can even read them on my iphone if I need one or I forgot to bring with me. Since dropbox is free and give you 2gb for user, it is quite reliable and easy to use for normal user. You can get 50gb or 100gb but only for paying customer, 10 and 20$/month respectively.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

...recognize that not all have the budget to maintain multiple locations. It is either onsite, online, or nada. For 90%+ of non-pros, it will be nada anyway.

Ocie3
Ocie3

Never. But Paragon Backup & Recovery 10.2 or 10.3 Free allegedly enables the software to store a backup online [i]via[/i] FTP. So, in the near future, I might see whether that works. The first thing I need to do is open an account with a storage space provider who allows FTP access.

deICERAY
deICERAY

physical backups stored offsite are the only reliable backups, period, my friend.

coolmark82
coolmark82

My Mac is crazy when it comes to backups. Every little download i do or every little document I save, It literally makes a clone of it to my Time Capsule 320GB HDD. Because of that, an average backup at my place normally happens every hour to every 20 minutes.

nmenkin
nmenkin

I use Mozy Unlimited. It does it automatically over ten (10) times a day. I don't even have to think about it, it just does it; a good thing too, I just had to make use of it last week. Restores though are a bit tricky. The fee is less than $60 per year per PC/Laptop. My laptop is over 8GB, way too much for most any other method. I do though have an automatic hourly backup to an external hard drive on-site.

deICERAY
deICERAY

37% Sorry, I don't buy that for a second - you did realize that "offsite" means you make a complete Personal OS backup on some removable media/drive and then physically take it out of your home and store it at another location? 37%? no way - I do not know a single person that stores a personal backup in someone else's house, or in a safety deposit box, or mails it to themselves, etc. No one! Putting it down cellar, or in the garage does not count, you know! Really - 37%? Ha! In your dreams!

jshelley
jshelley

"you did realize that 'offsite' means you make a complete Personal OS backup on some removable media/drive and then physically take it out of your home and store it at another location?" Interesting definition of offsite. My personal data and all of my clients' data is backed up "offsite" via Mozy or similar, as well as duplicated on-site by storing on multiple machines and/or flash drives, tape drives, external hard drives, etc. I believe that backups MUST be redundant and at least one must be offsite (my definition is slightly less complicated). Full OS offsite? Not a chance. That's done onsite with drive imaging. Online backups work great, and I have used them multiple times to restore. Not sure about the issues with Carbonite (they are certainly not my first choice), but I can restore Mozy almost instantly for small restores, and within a day or two for major restores.

V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

I have over 8 gig of personal work and non-work related files. This is backed up using a remote backup service and at a cost of only $55 a year this is cheap. I have only need to restore certain files twice and not the entire set, but this worked as advertised an without any frustration. I believe that since most of the people that responded to the poll are I.T. professionals and hence know the pitfalls to not having a reliable off site backup. That said, I do know some backup admins that figure(however flawed the judgment) if there is a catastrophic failure to their site (ie: fire, earthquake, severe flood) that they will have worse problems getting up and running than finding data.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Hellloooo??????? I DON'T need to back up my entire OS, every game on my personal machine, and every MP3 song I own. Correspondence, financial information and other "important" things fit into a single encrypted thumb drive. The family pix fit on a couple of DVDs. They're in my desk drawer at work = off-site. Two thumb drives (they're cheap) and I have a rotating backup that gets updated every weekend. Just copy "My Documents" and a couple of other folders to the thumb drive. And if one thumb drive fails, the maximum exposure is two weeks back. Backups don't need to be complicated, just frequent.

ESchlangen
ESchlangen

Similar to you, my first thought on seeing those number was "BS!". There may be a few people that are that concerned about data that they have at home but I highly doubt 38%, even when accounting for the small slice of the population that will ever see a TR poll. And there is no way that the number will be that high among the population, in general.

nancy0123
nancy0123

I always take offsite backup for my all important data. Because one day suddenly my hard disk got corrupt and i lost my all important data then i thank to stellar to prevent my all important docs with the help of their data recovery services.

garymander
garymander

need I say more...but I will. I use it professionally and personally. It's cheap enough for personal, no limits, fully automatic, brilliant....I ought to buy shares...;)

b_caisse
b_caisse

When was the last time you needed a restore a lot of file, or even one. Hope you have a lot of time. Days and even weeks to get just a couple hundred megs of data from Carbonite.

garymander
garymander

Well, to be honest, the reason I was evangelising, was that after using it for about three years, I did finally have to use it a coupe of weeks ago. I had a customer laptop go down, so we restored all the data to the spare laptop overnight, then about a week later, I used carbonite's facility to sort files by date modified to then restore the new files that the user had created on the spare laptop, back to the original within an hour. I was very impressed and I must admit, it was a lot quicker than I had been expecting. Having said all of that, I do recommend local backups for all my customers for exactly that reason of quick recovery, but the original discussion was about personal, offsite backup.

BlazNT2
BlazNT2

I backup everyday on site then once a week copy the backups 12 miles and 60 ft underground. I don't do a full OS backup because if something goes wrong I will not be getting the same hardware back so build and restore is what it will be. I just need the data not the OS.

rlkrz
rlkrz

Agreed that OS not needed, since if I need offsite, then hardware is gone. Only data is important and new hardware build is done, then data loaded. Offsite 8 miles via usb sticks, no online services.

Ocie3
Ocie3

then apparently you do not have the experience of re-installing and [i]configuring[/i] all of the applications software that you run. Okay, if all you run is a web browser and an e-mail client, then they probably don't require much configuration -- just be sure that you know all of the account passwords for the e-mail client to use.

dward
dward

I have a remote data backup business so I have automatic offsite backup nightly for my clients (servers/desktops/exchange/SQL/laptops, etc. All of my office/personal data gets backed up nightly as well.

Ray M. Owen
Ray M. Owen

My backups go into a local fireproof safe, so, offsite does not apply.

dward
dward

what type of medium is stored in that safe & is it designed for data medie such as tape or disk? normal "paper" fireproff safes rely on humidity to keep paper from burning...which will degrade/destry cd/tape etc. That type of media safe has less humidity for that type (usually around the 78% range if I remember correctly)- of course they cost more & are much smaller

gavin142
gavin142

the vault, but the bank calls it a safe-deposit box :)

tom
tom

Hi, On more than one ocassion I've found new clients using document fireproof safes - these are not good enough to protect media. Also there is the true story from round here where the company was not allowed to even start looking for their fireproof safe from underneath the remains of their burned out building for about a week because the remains of the building were unsafe. I don't suppose many fireproof safes survived the World Trade Centre atrocity!?!? It is important to do the risk analysis!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

If you are like me, the data I store at home has become increasingly important - bank records, tax returns, contacts, etc - so backing that data up to some offsite storage only makes sense. So do you have the backup systems in place? When was you last backup made?

RNR1995
RNR1995

I am surprised how many people trust their data to a 3rd party source

deICERAY
deICERAY

Think of it as A Disaster Recovery Program. If the house burns down, or the dam breaks, not only is your data gone, but your PC, your install disks, your program disks; the entire kit and kaboodle is history! Backing up data to a service is not very useful if your pc is fried and your Vista install disk is a molten pile of plastic. Or what if the service goes out of business - as related in other posts here - or THEY have a fire and lose everything? Personally I do not back up anything other than some Word files and my photographs, and even then I don't do it often enough and recently lost most all of my recent data and lots of "restored" and stored data when my system went belly up and I lost it all. But that was not catastrophic, in that the PC was still physically there - albeit short a working HDD... So I 'recovered' by reinstalling everything and running some recovery software on the lost files - 30% successful, but my point is, and the point I would llike you to take away from this, is that if you want to really be safe and secure, you really do need a complete backup of the OS, programs and all data in an ISO file on a DVD or series of DVDs, or cloned onto an HDD as well as a secure offsite copy of all of your install disks, if you really want to recover. A fire wipes you out - sure the insurance will eventually pay you for it, but in the meantime, you need hardware, and software and an OS before you restore the data you may have saved somehow. Cloning your system to a secondary HDD is a really good idea and then putting that HDD in a "vault" - a safe deposit box - is about the only true way to backup your system. Or prayer; I hear that sometimes works well too. At the very least take your install software, OS and all program installs and put them as far away from the PC as possible. Make hard copies of data, not online dumps; what if the cable goes out? The word hosed comes to mind. Been there, and it's not much fun. Caveat Emptor, baby!

rsmastersjr
rsmastersjr

I finally took the plunge and signed up with an off-site provider. I was thorough and selected a secure solution. To my dismay, my credit card could not be processed and I completed the transaction through PayPal. The fraud department of my bank called a couple of hours later asking if I was the one who initiated the transaction. The whole episode leads me to believe the industry is beset with companies trying to monetize large capital investments; once they get your money, it would be more than a little bit of a trick to get it back. I'll update the community on the day I try to recover my "safely stored" information.

luke4k
luke4k

Once you buy a service, why would you expect them to give you your money back? Read their agreements. Most offer a 30-day free trial (such as Backup Solutions). I have clients that have used a number of providers. One instant, a client business had some issue where they couldn't access their office/systems physically and I had ALL their data recovered at a different location in less than 30-minutes. Why were you dismayed? Because your credit card didn't go through? What does that have to do with the industry? If you were so thorough, why didn't you check with the BBB to check that the company had a clean reputation? If your bank called about who initiated the transaction, why did they call? If this company you used is so bad, why didn't you post the name of the company on this thread. How much "capital investment" could you have made if you researched such "solutions" as there are many that are very inexpensive, offer free trial periods and cost very little at start up and monthly. If a company fraudulently takes money from your credit card or Paypal account, each generally provides safe guards and ways to recover that money against fraud. If you were just signing up, how or why would you think you need to recover your "safely stored" information. I'm sure that if you researched a "secure solution" that the company has no interest in your pictures of Uncle Buck and Aunt Flo. If you just picked some company you found online, failed to PROPERLY research their history, where they store their client's information (such as Iron Mountain) and check them out for reputation with the BBB and even forums such as this one, then you really didn't research them at all. Joe's Data Back-up and Fishing Tackle Shop probably isn't going to be your best bet for a back-up solution.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

A few years ago I spent too much on an external hard drive only for it to crap out on me twice. I was sick of all that drama and I decided to go with online backup.

Kevin@Quealy.net
Kevin@Quealy.net

I Drive runs every night automatically. For my company its much cheaper and easier than tapes.

gcattley
gcattley

Can we spring for a graph? They're not that expensive you know...