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Group Review

Five of the best online backup services

Article comments

It's a fact of modern life that archiving data is essential to prevent a data disaster. Still, something like one third of computers are never backed up, according to 2,257 respondents in a recent Backblaze poll carried out by Harris Interactive. The survey came to the dismal conclusion that a scant 7% of users practice safe computing by archiving their systems on a daily (or nightly) basis.

This story shows the bifurcation of the online backup business these days. Some applications let you archive only your photos, music, videos and other personal files; others can save the entire contents of your hard drive.

Of the two applications in the first category, both have positives and negatives. Backblaze does a thorough initial backup but doesn't offer mobile apps that let you grab files from a smartphone while you're on the go. In contrast, Carbonite has apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices, but it is the most expensive service that I looked at.

Three of the five backup services that I looked at could copy the entire hard drive to online servers, but they differed in many ways. Norton Online Backup lacks recent creature comforts, like the ability to augment online services with a local backup on an external hard drive. By comparison, CrashPlan seems to have it all, but its full system upload at more than four days was too slow to be practical.

That leaves Mozy Home as the winner. It may not be perfect, but it offers a great mix of economy, security and features. I just wish that it kept deleted files forever.



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