Backup and Remote Access

One of the things I would like to emphasize is I have no involvement with any of the products I’m writing about this week with the exception of being a satisfied customer. I’m not an owner of any of these companies, I don’t get referral fees etc.

One of the most frequently asked questions by people who work at home or in small businesses is “what is the best ways to backup our work in case of a computer problem?”

Let me start by saying that many small businesses simply don’t backup their work. It’s too much work and easier to simply not doing anything UNTIL THEY LOSE EVERYTHING! Their computer crashes and they realize they didn’t have things backedup and they panic and hope they can find someone to try to recover their lost data. The good news is in many cases, some of the data can be recovered but not always and usually, it’s at a great cost (in terms of both money and time).

An alternative is to get an external hard drive and do daily or weekly backups. Some require you to manually initiate the backup while others will do it automatically. The problem with backing up to an external hard drive is if it’s in the same location as the computer, a fire or burglary wipes out both.

In looking for a remote backup, I found many online and the one I went with is one that is currently doing a LOT of advertising. I went with www.Carbonite.com and while it took a long time to upload all of the files (it took a few days but to be fair, I was working during those days so that slowed down the process and also, it backed up over 20GB of data), I have to say, it’s worked great. It works in the background and I have the access set to “low priority” so it doesn’t affect things like my VOIP phone or the uploading or downloading of files (it’s set so that it uploads when I’m not so it doesn’t interfere with anything).

However, a side benefit has proven to be truly wonderful. Not only does it allow you to restore backed up data to a computer (because the hard drive crashed or you got a new computer etc), it also allows you to work remotely and pull up any files from your computer onto any computer that has an internet connection. The obvious use for this type of a service is if you are somewhere without your computer and need to pull up a file, you can simply use any computer and login to your carbonite.com account and download whatever file you need. The information is encrypted so the only person who would be able to do this is someone with your password. An example would be if you are meeting in a clients office and realize you need a file from your office. It’s easy quickly retrieve this file.

There is a second way to effectively use this type of remote access to your files. If you are like me and do a fair amount of traveling, there is always the issue of carrying a laptop with information that might be valuable to others. You check into a hotel and have a concern about leaving your laptop in the room when you go to dinner because of the number of people who might have access to the room. Instead of carrying a laptop with a lot of valuable data, I simply carry a small netbook with no information on it. I leave all of the information on the computer at home and have it accessible via remote access through carbonite. I pull up the files I need, work on them, then will send to my home computer to upload later. Now, if someone were to steal my netbook, I’m not out any information and instead can simply replace the netbook and continue as before. By having all files on one computer, it’s easier to manage plus gives me a great deal of peace of mind.

I’m sure there are other similar programs but for $55 a year using this one that I know works, it’s not worth my time looking for something else

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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