Is an Online Computer Backup Service Right for You?
What would you do if your toddler dropped your laptop in the pool? Would you be able to get back to work that same day, or would you spend days frantically trying to recreate your files? Forget the laptop: a dip in the pool has effectively ended its life, but the data it holds is likely more valuable, particularly if you work from home. Online backup can save your files, photos, documents, and more in a different location, thereby allowing you to access them from anywhere, even your new, unsoaked laptop.
What is online backup?
An online backup is a remote service that allows you to store the contents of your computer in a remote location. The applications, photos, documents, and files you need to work are available and accessible, even if your hardware is damaged. Popular online backup services include MyPCBackup and Carbonite, but there are more than 25 services to choose from, and they all work the same way.
To use online backup services, you’ll need to sign up for an account and create your initial backup file. Since you’ll be copying everything in your computer to the online server, it may take up to a week to complete the initial backup. Once the initial backup is done, your computer will update automatically, so you always have access the most recent data. Lose your computer? No problem — just download your files to the new one and get back to work. Is an online backup service right for you? These points may help you decide.
Benefits of an online backup
The most obvious benefit is the easy retrieval of your files, but online backup has other uses too. Many online backup providers allow you to sync multiple devices, like laptops, iPads and smart phones. Some allow you to share your content with other, approved users. Using a backup service means you won’t lose precious data, even if your device is damaged.
Drawbacks of an online backup
Online backup is an added expense; expect to pay about $10 per month for basic service. You should get approval from your company if you work from home and want to use a backup service, as you may be transmitting sensitive information. While backup companies promise encryption and data protection, companies and websites can get hacked, leaving your information potentially vulnerable.
Online backup is worth the investment if you own your own business or if the company you work for agrees that it is a good idea. Pass on the service if you are worried about exposing company data, or if you want to bypass the expense — $120 a year buys a lot of flash drives!