The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
It’s important to make backups, but there aren’t many free services that offer unlimited space for them. I have now found a method of making free, secure, off-site backups of almost unlimited size.
I have written a number of times about making regular backups. In fact, I recommend that everyone always have at least two current backups: one stored locally for convenience and another stored "off site" that will be protected in case of theft, fire, flood, hurricane, a burst water pipe, tornado, accidents, or any other disaster that will destroy both your computer and all backups stored nearby. Having two current backups stored in different locations is critical, but having three, four, or even more current backups provides even more insurance.
Typically, you don't need to back up everything. Most computer users, however, do need to back up their Documents folder (sometimes called “My Documents”) and any subfolders under Documents, as well as any other files that contain important information that could not be recreated by other means.
Many of the comments posted at the end of my earlier articles have asked about security and expenses. This week, I thought I would describe a service that has excellent security, and can be free of charge, depending upon what you have available.
You can find dozens of online backup services to choose from, including Mozy, Backblaze, Carbonite, iDrive, aDrive, Symantec Protection Suite, HP Upline, and any number of others. I haven't tried all of them, but, to my knowledge, they are all good services.
For the past few months, however, I have been using a different service that provides FREE, encrypted backups across the Internet that can be stored on my own computers or those of a friend or relative at any location that has Internet access. In short, a “partner” and I can back up our computers to each other's computer, whether that other system is across town, across the country, or across the globe. All we need is broadband connections and some spare disk space. Both computers do have to be powered on and connected to the Internet at the same time, however.
Backing up from one computer to another computer is often called peer-to-peer file transfers. That is, there is no server involved. There is no need to sign up for some company's expensive data storage plan.
I can store the backups from my home Windows PC or Macintosh or Linux system on a computer at the office or at my daughter's house or at a cousin's house or at most any other off-site location where I can find storage space on a home computer. I am not using a commercial company's storage space in an (expensive) data center. This is free.
I also can provide backup storage from my friend's or relative's computer. Backups can occur in both directions simultaneously. “I back up your data and you back up mine.” Such a deal! Of course, we both do need enough extra disk space to store each other's encrypted and compressed data.
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