questionsdo you use any cloud backup services?

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My mom used to tell me I shouldn't go around with my head in the clouds and I am still following that advice. I have a feeling this "cloud storage" thing is going to be my old-fogey breaking point. I just don't trust it.

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I use the cloud for stuff that I want to access from multiple devices. Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, iTunes, Google Music, Amazon Cloud Drive, etc. All are free and I am certainly not worried about all of them disappearing.

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@morriea: All of the same except for iTunes, and only eBooks and music. I carry a 1Tb portable drive with me at all times, which contains all of my music, eBooks, pictures, docs and email. Do a full back-up once a week. Gives me some peace of mind.

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There's a difference between Dropbox and a true online back-up. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc are more just drive space in the cloud, i.e. hosted by some company accessible via the internet. They're great to put files up and pull down when you need to work on them, especially if you tend to work in multiple places and with teams.

External HDDs are great but aren't foolproof because they get corrupted, damaged, stolen, etc. I do a local back-up and a cloud back-up. Local back-ups are great for the immediate restore but doesn't protect your from all the mentioned and burglary, fires, etc.

cont.

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@first2summit: cont.

For a cloud back-up, I use Crashplan. Carbonite, Crashplan, and many others differ from Dropbox, Drive, Live, etc in that instead of having to keep your docs in the cloud, you can keep your docs on your computer and there's an app always running that will synchronize the copies on your local machine to what's in the back-up. And they all offer a number of options for a restore - either download of some files or them sending you DVD of your files.

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I am using dropbox for portable stuff, and Google cloud drive.

I have used Spideroak for auto-backup. If you go that way, you need to read all the FAQs and understand all they tell you about extracting data when the primary source is lost, deleting data, versioning, etc. Spideroak is designed to be HIPA compliant and resilient to govt standards. It will do the job, but is not completely simple to setup.

Not using it now as that machine is down and I haven't set it up on my laptop.

Before you go with a service, think it thru. And maybe talk to someone in a corporation IT dept if you are unfamiliar with the issues. How many old versions do you want to be able to retrieve of critical files? Photos? Personal videos? Less personal items like ripped CDs, mp3s, ripped Dvds?

Are you willing to lose you non-personal media and re-create it later if you really care?

If I backed up all my media it would be lots of terabytes, not worth it to me. The personal items are far smaller.

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Also there are issues like security, speed, bandwidth use, load on the local system, and whether to install the service on multiple machines. I never persued it far enough to get a solution I was satisfied with - my fault.

I do suggest you try before you buy, in case you hate something about a particular vendor.

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In my opinion, buying a 1TB+ external hard drive is much cheaper than a cloud subscription.

But here's the problem, hard drives tend to fail over time in around ten years or so of usage/non-usage. Due to motor problems or the magnetism on the discs disrupts your data. Really, things could happen like from above poster.

At least with cloud services, your data is put into a redundant number of hard drives (called RAID) so if one drive fails, the other could be backed up. Thats usually the selling point.

So it's really you call if you want to use cloud services, which is IMO depends what you use it for.

I tend to just keep a USB drive looking key with me, they also have a credit card version of it. (Disclaimber: These are random links and I have not bought from these links. Links were for sample purposes only.)

As for cloud usage, if you have wifi or a data plan then this would be perfect to get to files anywhere you go.

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I use Backblaze. I used Carbonite for a few years and then switched to Backblaze when I needed to backup an external drive. I don't know if this is still true or not, but in the past you couldn't backup an external drive using Carbonite.

I also like that Backblaze gives you the option to order an external harddrvie with you data on it if you ever need to restore. It's costly ($189), but you only pay when/if you actually need it. You can also restore by having the software download the files, but that would take forever.

Backblaze is about $10 per year cheaper than Carbonite.

In Windows Explorer, Carbonite put little green dots on files that were already backed up and orange dots on those pending backup. It was reassuring to see exactly which files were backed up. Backblaze does not do this, but you can see a list of which files are backed up somewhere in the software itself.

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As an IT professional working with non-profits in health, I'd recommend SpiderOak. It encrypts your data before sending it to be backed up and stays encrypted. Only you have the password to decrypt the data. It also has an algorithm to keep multiple versions of your files, while using about the same amount of space required to store the current version. You can sync files and folders between machines with SpiderOak setup, and it can recognize which version of the file is the newest. You don't notice it once it's setup. I know @f00l mentioned that it was more complicated to setup, but it is straight-forward if you are willing to read the options in the GUI; though I am biased.

Pricing is: $10 per month per 100 GB, or $100 per year per 100 GB.

Dropbox is not secure, and has a history of not being transparent with their security issues. We've tried iDrive which had a high failure rate, and would rarely alert us. Cloud storage pricing is all about the same, so I'd recommend SpiderOak.

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I use the following services since they're free):
50GB at Box.com (from a promotion as listed above)
2GB at Dropbox,
5GB Google drive
5GB Amazon cloud drive
7GB Skydrive

But I have a local mirrored backup of all my files ;-) so as to no put all my eggs in a single basket