Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner or an individual, you’re still creating vast amounts of digital content. At the very least, there are documents, photos, videos and music. Choosing the right data backup service is what stands between you and pain data loss. Here’s how you do it.
1. Look For Multiple Convenient Features
Look for an online backup service that automatically takes backups of files as they are changed.Having access to data sharing is also a good option. Check if the backup service allows you to backup even those files that are open; some services don’t do that, which results in loss of data in open files. A web client to restore files is a good option. Find out how many previous versions of your data you can access.
2. Evaluate Pricing Based On Your Needs
For single PC backup, unlimited storage might get you the better deal in terms of price. If it’s multiple PC backup, consider service providers who are not tied with third party data storage companies. For example, CrashPlan uses Amazon S3 data farm as its third party service, and charges for backup per GB, which doesn’t work out very cost effective.
3. Consider Free Accounts
Depending on your data backup needs, you can consider free backup services, such as Mozy. You can get anywhere from 2 GB free storage, 100 GB of storage space on free Google Drive. However, if your backed up data is tampered with or lost, you won’t have much legal control when it’s a free storage account.
4. Consider Mobile Accesses
If you find yourself on the move often, it’s a good idea to consider a data backup service that allows access to backup via mobile apps. That way, you’ll be able to access your backup via your smartphones or tablets. Some services such as SOS Online Backup offers both access to backup and also sending file download links to phone contacts. Some services allow you to backup phone contacts as well, such as IDrive.
5. Consider Folder Syncing
Using folder synching options, you can set up folders on more than one system to update automatically when you make changes to files or file structure. Services such as Nomadesk, SpiderOak and MiMedia offer this facility.
6. Consider Storage Target
There are options as to where you want to store your data. For example, CrashPlan allows you to sync with a friend’s hard drive, which you can use as your backup drive and thus avoid paying for server storage.
7. Consider How Much Storage You Need
Evaluate your present data and bucket it into two groups – essential and non-essential. It’s not easy to do this, because we consider all our data to be sacrosanct. You can use less expensive methods to store your personal data – even CD backups are fine. Evaluate your truly essential data and analyze how much it’ll grow in a year. That’s how much storage space you’ll need.
8. Opt For A Free Trial First
Before you sign up for a data backup service, ask for a trial. You might get a trial period of 30 days to test the service. Test the upload and download time. Test every feature allowed in the free trial, such as data synching, sharing, access to older versions and so on. You can test a number of services till you decide on the features you need in a data backup service.
9. Sign Up For An Annual Plan
Most online backup services offer good discounts, even as much as 20 or 30% if you commit for long term service. Paying monthly is usually more expensive – a route that we won’t recommend, unless you’re unable to get a free trial for testing.
10. Don’t Subscribe Unless They Offer File Versioning
You need to be able to go back to a previously backed-up version at a moment’s notice. Always check if your data backup service provider allows file versioning. Be realistic about how many previous versions you’d want to backup – versions of the last 60 days would be reasonable.
11. Check If They Allow Encrypted Files
The primary thing to ensure is that others cannot hack into your data upload or download stream. Be sure to encrypt your data using the most complex algorithm. Some cloud storage providers don’t accept encrypted files, so don’t sign up with one that doesn’t.
12. Look For Multiple OS Backup
Though this may not be relevant to individual users, companies must check that even non-Windows machines get backed up. Also it’s necessary to ensure that the service backups data from multiple users on the same PC. iBackUP.com, SpiderOak, and Amerivault.com offer these services.
13. Check For Support Features
If you’re a business, look for a service that supports an unlimited number of users. Also check for 24×7 phone support, drive support (mapped and network) and server OS support. You should also be able to manage your employees’ backups via an administrative Web-based console.