PUTTING IT ALL ONLINE

mcafee-backup

The average American has almost 1800 digital files. Joy saves tons of stuff and now has over 27,000. She uses a number of external hard drives plugged into her computer to back all those files up, but she still tends to run out of space. She has used the free Mozy.com online storage service for several years but recently they started to charge $60 a year if you store more than two GB. You could buy a new hard drive every year for that kind of price.

A new service from McAfee, the anti-virus giant, charges the same price and oddly enough, it turns out to be powered by “Mozy.”  In fact, it’s the identical program. This seems to be a trend: large old-line companies buy lesser known ones and present them as their own. Duracell’s new charging station, for example, is made by Wildfire and just marketed by Duracell.

Mozy has one advantage that McAfee doesn’t: It has a version that works on Macs, whereas McAfee is for Windows only. Both programs show a check-list of files to back up. You choose what you want.  For instance, when Joy saw that her “Documents” folder held 86 gigabytes, that pulled her up short. That was half the size of the total space on her hard drive. Further analysis showed that most of that space was being occupied by videos she had no use for. No point in backing those up; out they go.

Both Mozy and McAfee test your broadband connection to see how long an online backup will take. With our slowpoke service, each 3 gigabytes of data takes 24 hours to back up. If Joy hadn’t deleted her junk videos, the backup would have taken 30 days. After deletion, the estimate was two days. Fortunately, you can continue to work while the backup goes on.

One of the nice things about both services is that everything is encrypted, so you don’t have to worry about hackers getting into your files. Mozy even gives you a choice of using your own encryption key instead of theirs. The nice thing about both services was how easy they were to use and how easy it was to restore files. There is one more thing about the importance of using online backup and it’s a big one: If your office burns down, your files are still safe.

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