Laptop Data Backup Services: Using Online Solutions

by Rod Dunne on March 8, 2011

in Backup Software, Laptop

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Laptop data backup services have started to spring up on the web more frequently nowadays. While many users will still make local copies on CD or external hard disk drives, the online backup services can prove to be invaluable for those traveling with their laptop on the road. In this article I’ll show you the pros and cons of using these online services and why they can be so valuable.

Doing an online laptop data backup involves synchronizing the contents of your PC, over the web, with a Web server. This is managed by an online service who provide client software to help configure and automate the process. These utilities, once set up, can be automated to run in the background and synchronize data on a regular basis or continuously.

Recommended online backup services


iDrive/My Live Drive
provides 2GB of space for a full laptop backup. Data is stored online so doesn’t require external hard drives to store the backup data.

Pros & Cons

These type of laptop data backup approaches have really only been possible as a result of the increase in broadband speeds. To store any sizable volume of data would initially require a long period of time to upload your files. However subsequent updates and synchronizations are done incrementally so only files that have changed or new are uploaded to your backup server.

Pros

  • Your data is accessible from everywhere in the world, using any type of device that can connect to the Internet (password-protected).
  • The software can be automated to do a laptop data backup as and when you want. This means you don’t worry about forgetting to backup your data.
  • Your data is synchronized on multiple backup servers so there is a certain amount of redundancy. That is, if one server is damaged then there will still be multiple backups you can access.

Cons

  • You will require a fast Internet connection, especially when doing the initial synchronization. Subsequent backups can be done a lot quicker since only the changed files are uploaded.
  • The service will reduce the amount available internet bandwidth you can use as it synchronizes data.
  • There is a subscription cost to join these types of services (usually monthly charges).
  • You are limited by the capacity of files you can upload. This can anywhere from 2 to 5 GB depending on the type of membership you go for and the service you choose. This makes it suitable only for partial backups.

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