Our first guest columnist of the summer is Elizabeth Rodgers from Ben’s Ranch. (The original Ben did have a ranch and was really a cowboy, but the Ben’s Ranch that Elizabeth co-founded with Ben’s grandson is a tech support company based in Los Angeles.)
Elizabeth, as you’ll see is a big fan of Mozy’s online backup service. I’ve written about Mozy before, but it’s always nice to get a new perspective on a subject.
You know you should, and yet, you don’t. No, I’m not talking about essential fatty acids, I’m talking about backing up your data.
Imagine this scenario:
Your hard drive fails. You haven’t backed up your data because
- You were too lazy
- You were too lazy
- You have been meaning to do it
All of your financials, all of your emails, all of your contacts, all of your digital music and photos are lost forever. Oh, wait! You could pay a company $750 to get that data back. Oh. They say that it actually can’t be done. It’s gone. Now you have to buy a new hard drive and totally reconfigure your computer and…
It’s a nightmare. And it’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when. You can easily avoid this. There are many ways back up your data:
- You can get an extra hard drive, put it in your computer, and transfer the data.
- You can have the extra hard drive external to your computer, or
- You could backup online.
The simplest solution for the external hard drive is SimpleTech SimpleDrive. The software (StorageSync Backup) leads you through the setup, and once you’ve backed up the first time, the following backups will go much faster as it will be backing up only what is new or changed since the last time you did it. Some people love SimpleTech; some hate it.
Let’s get to the good stuff…
My backup of choice is online backup. No more external hard drives, no more CDs and no more fiddling with backup software. If you have a .mac account, you can get 1 gig of storage for $50 or 3 gigs for $100 for the year.
Another company that backs up online elegantly and less expensively is Mozy. Mozy is an exciting (because it’s) FREE new service that lets you effortlessly, automatically and securely back up your data OFFSITE. The first 2 gigs are free, if you want unlimited gigs (um, that’s a lot of space!), it’s $5/month.
Good story: I told an acquaintance of mine about Mozy and she spent the five bucks a month for the big backup. TWO DAYS later, her hard drive failed! Kaput. Totally dead. No biggie, because she bought a new hard drive (for $80) and downloaded her backed up data from Mozy onto her new drive. This woman LOVES me. And I barely know her.
Here’s how Mozy works:
Go to Mozy.com and click on “Get Mozy free.” You will give them your email and create a password. In moments, you will receive an email from Mozy with a link to click. Once you’ve clicked on the link, you will be walked through a series of easy instructions to get backed up. That’s it! If you choose, it can be a continuous backup, so when the software sees that you’re not active on the computer, it will backup your data securely because it’s encrypted. Aaaah, the magic and mystery of online backup!
One caveat: “unlimited” storage is like “unlimited” bandwidth. There are limits somewhere. One is the amount of time it would take to upload the contents of, say, my 1 TB network drive. Another is that the $5/month unlimited home user account really is supposed to be for personal use. If you have a home office, you’re supposed to get Mozy Pro, which costs $3.95/month plus fifty cents per gigabyte per month. So that 1 TB of data, even if I could upload it, would cost $503.95 per month. Not very practical for a sole proprietor.
But as a painless way to get your most critical documents backed up off site, it’s pretty good.
You’ll be hearing about some other online backup, storage, and archiving solutions as soon as I can finish testing them.