Online Backup 101: How To Find The RIGHT Backup Solution
About 90% of all newly produced information is stored on magnetic data – which a huge percentage of is comprised of hard disks.
No surprises here.
But what’s surprising is that despite this dependency on hard drives, many users – home, business, and those in-between – don’t back up their essential files and run the risk of expensive data loss.
- In a study carried by Google involving over 100,000 ATA, 80-400GB consumer-grade hard disks, about 30% failed within the first 8 months
- BackBlaze, with more than 27,000 consumer-grade hard drives under its command, found that even a ‘reliable’ brand can only manage a survival rate of 73.5% with their hard drives having an unimpressive average lifespan of 0.8 years
- Every week, 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States alone. For businesses, this could result in a simple drive recovery that can cost them up to $7,500…and success isn’t even guaranteed!
“So What Online Backup Solution Should I Get?”
That’s an excellent question, but one that’s hard to answer.
Not all personal backup services are created equal.
- Several online backup services allow you to access and download your backed-up files from your account. But there are some don’t allow real-time access to your files (like Amazon’s Glacier Plan) – leaving you with no choice but to download the files if you want to check or edit them
- There are backup solutions that come with UNLIMITED storage while others like SugarSync adopt a scalable, pay-for-what-you-use model meant for SMBs and large enterprises – allowing account owners to purchase extra storage for extra users
- Backup solutions like Backblaze are great for unlimited storage backup as long as you limit your PC to one.
And those are just some of the crucial differences between today’s backup and data protection services that you need to keep an eye on. Each of these services boasts their own set of bells and whistles thus making it hard for consumers to focus on those must-have features.
My advice: Before shopping online and parting with your money, sit down and decide what it is that you exactly need from an online backup solution…and the following 3-point guide or questionnaire will help you do just that.
Question 1: How Much Storage Do You Need?
Your desktop or laptop may have 500GB to 1TB of documents, games, applications, and other files.
But really, do you want to back up every single file you have?
Most likely, you only have to back up 100GB to 250GB of files, and the lowest tier storage provided by services Mozy, CrashPlan, Icedrive, and even Amazon S3 should be more than enough.
Keep in mind, however, that this is only a guideline.
If you’re the type of user that produces large files on a regular or daily basis (ex.: graphics design artist, animator, video editor, etc.), it’s very likely that you need more than 250GB to 500GB of storage, and moving up a plan or two might make a lot of sense.
Question 2: How Many PCs & Devices Do You Intend To Backup?
Most users today have more than one device…and we’re talking about personal or home users!
Fortunately, you don’t have to search high and low to find a solution that takes care of your smartphone’s files as today’s backup services allow you to backup NOT just your PC’s files but even those on your smartphone and other mobile devices.
Here’s a tip: If you have a lot of files and devices to back up, it might make sense for you to go with file storage / backup service like DropBox or Backblaze, which boasts a seamless file syncing service by keeping safely stored in the cloud.
Question 3: How Often & Where Do You Need To Access Your Backed-Up Files?
This is where it gets a bit tricky. It can be very tempting to go for a backup solution with rock-bottom prices like Amazon’s Glacier, only to realize that you can’t access your backed-up files in real-time.
For users who only want to backup images, songs, and other personal files that they don’t have to access on a daily basis, this might cut it.
However, for users who collaborate with staff and must access or edit their files regularly, this could be a productivity nightmare.
If you fall under the latter category, it’s highly recommended that you go for a backup solution that has ease-of-access features – a desktop client, a mobile app, and an online portal.