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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A great home computer backup program using off-site storage for very little cost (2gb is free)

Ask any IT professional and they will tell you the number one thing everyone should do is backup, backup, backup! (Otherwise we suffer the "Agony of Delete!".)

Enter "Mozy." I just heard about this program for a few folks who were discussing how they do backups for themselves and for their clients. So I started to check it out and here's what I found.

You can go to (by the way Mozy is now owned by EMC) and get running in 3 steps:

1. Sign up for an account (allows you to download the software.
2. Download and install the software
3. Select the files to be backed up

It uses SSL encryption for the data transfer/transport and 448-bit blowfish encryption for the files. Backups can be scheduled automatically. After the initial backup, MozyHome will only backup adds or changes.

The home version gives you up to 2gb of space.

Mozy is different from other traditional types of backups. For the most part many are use to burning the files to CD, or copying the files to a usb drive or another computer. Some of us that have been around a long time even use to save them to tape.

There are pros and cons.

It's cheap, the mozy home gives you 2gb free. (They also sell an unlimited version for around $5.00/month.)
It's secure (you transfer to their off-line server in a secure manner and the data that is saved is encrypted.)
It's off-site (it's not subject to any natural disasters that may occur, i.e. fire, water damage, etc..)

When you need to recover, it may take you a while to get all your data back (it's transferring it back from the internet off-site storage to your computer.)
The first backup is probably going to take a while (your going to transfer upto 2gb of data.)

Best best is to review your needs, time, and budget.

Just some comments to ease the pain of the cons...

If you had to use a restore, plan out how you get your files back first. You should probably just select the stuff you need absolutely first, then do a different restore for those files you can wait on, this way you won't have wait as long for the stuff you need right away.

I've not experienced it yet firsthand, however I've been told that to do a restore, you select the backup set or drives/folders via their website. Once you've made and committed your selection, Mozy will bundle up those files into a series of self-extracting archives and then send you an email when they’re ready to be picked up.

As with any backup system, you don't just want to set it up and forget about. Be sure to check on it from time to time to be sure it's really backing things up. This means checking the backup history or log files. Look for actual completion, sometimes an error can cause a program to terminate.