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December 1, 2011

Choosing the Right Online Backup Service – A SPN Exclusive Article

Online backup services, such as SOS Online Backup, Carbonite and Mozy, fill a definite need by making the prevention of data loss, affordable, automatic and secure. To use one of these services, you must install software on your computer to scan the hard drive for every file that you want to back up. When you do, the files are compressed and encrypted, and the information is uploaded to servers, which located at multiple data centers with military-grade security.

Choosing Your Service

This depends on much more than the annual fee involved. Start by considering how the service chooses – or allows you to choose – what will be backed up. Generally speaking, most of them will automatically select your Mac user or Windows my document folders. In most cases, you can fine-tune these choices by using a window containing a file directory tree and a folder. It also has check boxes to indicate the files and folders you want to back up.

What You Can Do

Some services also provide additional choices with the right-click menu, including backing up, deleting or restoring files in your online backup set. In addition, every service installs a system tray icon, which enables you to launch the browser that acts as its interface or to access the program window. With this icon, you should be able to begin a restore or backup at once.

Along with the encryption most services use when they store files on their servers, many of them will also allow you to be the only one who has the password protecting those files, and it cannot be accessed by their employees.

Your Main Choices

There are two types of online backup service that are commonly used. With scheduled backup, by using the service’s software, you decide when you want the required processing and uploading to be done, overnight in most cases. Conversely, you may be looking for continuous backup, and certain services, including SOS Online backup and Editors’ Choice, provide a hybrid of both methods. This allows the user to determine what individual files should be monitored continuously and backed up when any changes are made.

With a scheduled backup, the entire bandwidth of your internet connection will be left to you when it is not in use, while a continuous service will necessarily siphon off some of your bandwidth. However, if continuous backup is your main concern, a service like Carbonite or Backblaze is exactly what you need.

Finally, note that any sizeable backup can take a substantial amount of time, perhaps even weeks, to upload several gigabytes, and will vary with the speed of your online connection at the start. After that, your service will only have to upload the parts of a file that have changed, and subsequent backups will be much less time-consuming.

Lou Lynch is a seasoned technology professional currently working in online education. For more from Lou our his team of education writers visit or look for his articles right here on