Offsite Backup Benefits And Threats Unveiled

Offsite Backup: Benefits and​ Threats Unveiled
Good backup habits are essential to​ everyone who uses a​ computer with important information​ .​
It takes just a​ few accidental clicks of​ the mouse - or​ worse, one isolated hardware failure - and​ valuable data can be lost.
One dilemma for​ backup users is​ often where to​ put their backups .​
Storing them on​ your​ own hard drive is​ obviously not the best option​ .​
Not everyone wants to​ split their backups into several parts using a​ CD or​ DVD burner, and​ an​ external hard drive isn't a​ standard fixture on​ many users' desks.
One solution​ to​ this​ problem, and​ a​ solution​ that can save a​ lot of​ time and​ effort, is​ offsite or​ remote backup .​
Backing up to​ a​ computer offsite means that your​ data will end up on​ a​ different drive or​ computer, which basically halves the chance of​ catastrophic loss .​
this​ can be especially useful for​ office users .​
if​ your​ company has several locations, backing up over a​ network to​ a​ computer situated elsewhere can provide a​ contingency in​ case of​ a​ power surge, fire, employee misuse or​ plain​ user error.
Offsite backup over a​ network:
Most backup programs support network backup, and​ the way to​ use this​ is​ simple .​
Local Area Networks (LAN) and​ Wide Area Networks (WAN) usually feature network drives, which appear to​ your​ computer as​ an​ ordinary drive .​
They often have names like M:, N:, O: and​ so on​ .​
Depending on​ permissions set up by the people administrating your​ network, you​ may be able to​ write to​ certain​ drives but not read from them, or​ you​ may not be able to​ change or​ delete data once it's written .​
These are common​ situations, but they should not affect the way you​ back up.
Once you​ have found a​ suitable location​ for​ your​ data - your​ administrator will be able to​ help you​ with this​ - backing up can be as​ easy and​ fast as​ with an​ external drive.
Select the appropriate drive and​ the data you​ want to​ save and​ that's it .​
Even though a​ network connection​ is​ usually not as​ fast as​ a​ local cable, this​ is​ just a​ matter of​ waiting .​
Most programs allow you​ to​ set a​ backup timetable, which is​ a​ great way to​ take the effort out of​ backup .​
if​ you​ leave your​ computer on​ at​ night, then setting an​ incremental backup every second day at​ 2am, for​ example, ensures the safety of​ your​ data .​
a​ possible disadvantage here is​ that if​ your​ network goes down, you​ might not be able to​ get your​ data back for​ some time .​
Laptop users might not always be connected to​ the network at​ the scheduled backup time, defeating the purpose entirely.
Offsite backup through FTP:
Another form of​ offsite backup uses a​ File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server over the Internet .​
FTP is​ traditionally used to​ move large files online and​ can reliably transfer any files of​ any size.
To access data stored on​ an​ FTP server, you​ can use your​ backup program, a​ special FTP client or​ just a​ regular web browser .​
While there are two types of​ FTP server, public and​ private, you​ will almost certainly be using a​ private server, which requires a​ password to​ access your​ data .​
Advantages of​ this​ method include that you​ can view the files stored on​ the FTP any time you​ wish using any FTP client, mobile users can back up from anywhere in​ the world with an​ Internet connection, and​ FTP backup can be somewhat cheaper than a​ specialised remote backup service.
The main​ disadvantage inherent in​ this​ method is​ data security .​
The FTP protocol is​ not secure, and​ even a​ private FTP account does not ensure the security of​ your​ files; it​ only protects access to​ the FTP server .​
Anyone with access to​ your​ username and​ password has access to​ your​ data .​
Added to​ this, unless you​ take steps to​ protect it, your​ data will be unencrypted as​ it​ travels to​ the FTP server, and​ could possibly be intercepted .​
We recommend that you​ encrypt your​ files before sending them.
One option​ is​ to​ store your​ data in​ a​ standard password-protected ZIP archive .​
this​ is​ a​ quick method that allows you​ to​ extract your​ files on​ any computer using any ZIP client .​
There are ZIP programs that provide tighter security by applying stronger encryption​ algorithms, like AES or​ Blowfish .​
this​ increases the security of​ your​ data, but to​ decrypt your​ files you​ may need to​ use the program that encrypted and​ backed them up.
To obtain​ access to​ a​ private FTP server, find a​ good hosting company (try searching with Google) and​ compare based on​ price and​ location​ - companies with servers based in​ your​ country will usually be faster .​
Beware that your​ Internet Service Provider (ISP) might charge you​ for​ the data you​ send, so you​ may wish to​ make incremental backups over FTP, which only backup what was changed since your​ last backup.
Specialised offsite backup:
Another form of​ offsite backup is​ the use of​ a​ special server provided by the company that makes your​ backup solution​ .​
They usually use their own protocols to​ encrypt and​ transfer your​ data, and​ a​ special program on​ their end to​ store it .​
you​ may have some issues using such services if​ you're behind a​ firewall, as​ some of​ these services use non-standard Internet Protocol (IP) ports.
Offsite backup services are usually paid for​ by the month, by the amount of​ data transferred or​ both .​
They can be quite expensive, especially if​ you​ wish to​ back up a​ lot of​ data, or​ use the service over a​ long period of​ time .​
As with FTP servers, you​ may also be charged by your​ ISP to​ send your​ data.
Still, offsite backup services represent a​ convenient method, as​ they'll usually be built right into backup programs that support the feature .​
Ensure the credentials of​ the company you're dealing with, as​ an​ offsite backup service is​ pointless if​ your​ backup company happens to​ shut up shop or​ can't find your​ data - just as​ your​ hard drive fails.

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