Mozying along

Last month, I read a blog entry over at zatznotfunny about Mozy that got me thinking. Perhaps its time to give in to best practice and backup my stuff. I last backed up my home computer in 1995. It was an AST computer with a built in tape drive of some sort. That computer has been in a closet for 8 years.
Backing up to a USB (or preferably eSATA) hard drive is fine, but if you don’t take the drive to another location you still have potential data loss issues. Once you’ve done that, how do you guarantee a reasonable schedule for backing up?
Some people suggest that I back up to the extra disk space provided by my web provider. If I did that, I would have to somehow schedule backing up, encrypting the data and copying it to the remote server. My web provider’s Terms of Service state that the storage space is for files necessary to the website. So that is not allowed anyway. Others mention Google Mail or Amazon’s S3 service as a great way to store data cheaply. I think its important to have software that you can count on to back the files up. I don’t want a kludge.
So that brought me to Mozy. Free for the first 2 GB of data or 4.95 per month for unlimited. That sounded pretty good. If you exclude your media the free account may be good enough. If you want to backup the videos of the kids first recital, than cough up the dough for the unlimited account. ArsTechnica had a review in July of several similar products and Mozy came out on top. After checking out their site, I googled to get the other side. A CNet blogger doesn’t like it, but I think he’s being unusually picky.
As I mentioned, data privacy is a concern when you send you data away. With Mozy there is an option to backup with their key or with a key you provide. The more paranoid would say that since it is their software doing the encryption, either key could really be known and stored by them. I chose to go with them picking the key for easier recoverability. I’ll choose to trust their privacy policy that they do not look in data files. Hopefully controls are in place to prevent low level, uncleared employees from obtaining access.
My data is encrypting now. So far I’m pretty pleased. I’ll have to test recovery (they say it may take some time to create the recovery set for you).
As I say, I just installed it, so I’m not giving a full recommendation. However, you do need to be doing something with backup. If you do choose to try out Mozy, please use this link If you sign up from that link and begin backing up data, we’ll both get a free256 MB bump up.


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