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Ten Questions to ask your online backup service provider.Log in to your account
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Ten Questions to Ask Your Online Backup Provider

There are many online data backup vendors available on the internet. However, not all providers were created equal.

Many offer robust, sophisticated backup tools suitable for protecting vital business or personal data from disaster. Unfortunately, there are also a large number of lower cost solutions where important corners have been cut or features skipped in favor of economy.

Before you trust an online backup service with your critical personal data, it is important to understand what features are available and how important these are to you.

How secure is your data?

Does your backup provider use encryption when they store your data?

Even though most services use encryption to protect your data as it traverses the Internet, many do not use encryption when they store your data on their servers. In fact some even state in their terms of service that encrypting your data is not allowed. They are banking on the fact that many people will store the same files, so they don’t want to back up a file more than once. If someone else needs that file, they could be giving them access to one of your files instead.

This may be fine if you’re just saving MP3 music files, but wouldn’t you prefer your personal information (like banking records or emails) be kept secure?

With GotData?™ each file 448 bit encrypted before it leaves your PC (your online banking only uses 128 bit). It travels the Internet this way and is stored on the GotData?™ backup servers as a bunch of numbered files containing encrypted data. Your encryption key is unique to you. Only you have the ability to access your data.

Is the software easy to install?

Do you need to hire an IT consultant to install and maintain your backup software?

Most online backup tools were designed to be used by expert IT administrators. Many of these services require intimate knowledge of Windows in order to make a backup. For example, did you know that your Microsoft Outlook email file is kept in a special hidden folder 6 levels deep in your PC? If you don’t, you may have a lot of trouble backing it up.

GotData?™ was designed from the start to be used by normal everyday people. No special skills are required to back up your PC. When you download and run software, it will automatically figure out where things like your Outlook email, My Documents, Desktop, and Favorites are located. From there you can easily add or remove other folders if you wish.

Is the backup continuous?

Does your online backup service only back up files when you tell it to?

It is not enough to simply have an online storage space on the net. Periodically dragging your files up there will only work as a backup if you happen to do that dragging moments before your PC dies. This almost never happens.

Even if your service has a scheduled backup agent that runs weekly, how much data will you lose since the last time it ran?

GotData?™ uses a continuous online backup process where your files are backed up automatically as soon as they change. This means that if you close a Word document at 2pm on Tuesday, that file will back up at 2:01pm Tuesday. If something horrible happens at 2:15pm, you’re protected.

Does it store multiple versions?

Does your online backup service keep multiple versions of files?

To keep storage costs down, a lot of backup services keep only one copy of each file. This may seem fine to you, but what would happen if some of your critical files get corrupted by a virus and you do not notice until after your next backup? Could it be that your online backup provider is keeping perfectly preserved copies of your corrupted files? This could be an issue when it comes time to recover.

GotData?™ keeps multiple versions of your files. If a file gets corrupted, or if you just need an earlier version of a file, you simply go online and download whichever version of the file you need.

Does it backup changes or just whole files

Does your backup tool backup the whole file every time it changes?

Backup services without versioning features need to back up the whole file each time it changes. This is not so bad for smaller files like Word documents. But backing up your whole mail file every time you get new mail is unworkable. If your mail file is 500MB, it could take hours to back up just that one file. If you get just one new email message, will you have to start all over?

Some services deal with this issue by backing up only weekly or at night. If disaster strikes, how much new email would you lose since the last time your backup ran? Other services deal with this by not backing up your email at all.

With GotData?™, once you have a file backed up once, the software will detect and extract only the data that changes for backup. If you have a 500MB email file and get 2MB of new mail, GotData?™ only needs to back up the 2MB that changed. That backup can happen in a matter of seconds.

These changes are stored in your GotData?™ as different versions. This is why you can recover so many earlier versions of your files without taking up a lot of extra storage.

What happens if the backup gets interrupted?

What happens if your internet connection drops of you unplug your laptop?

Many online backup tools work just like old tape backup software. They look for all the files that need to be backed up, and then transfer everything as one huge blob of data. The problem is that most Internet connections aren’t actually all that good at transferring huge blobs of data.

If your connection gets interrupted (even if just a blip) many backups will fail and you will have to start over. If they fail, they will probably fail when they are 90% of the way through that 500MB mail file.

GotData?™ was designed to be interruptible. If your connection gets interrupted, the backup will simply pause until the connection comes back. Then it will continue your backup from where it left off.

Will they delete your files without asking?

Does your backup service delete your files for you?

Some backup serves try to keep costs down by automatically deleting files that are no longer on your PC. From a cost perspective this is nice, but accidental deletion (human error) is one of the biggest reasons why people lose files.

GotData?™ will never delete your files automatically. If you delete a file by mistake, rest assured that it will still be in your GotData?™. This is what a reliable backup is for.

Instead, with GotData?™ you can run a Clean-Up wizard that will reconcile the files on your PC with your online backup and suggest things you may wish to delete. Once you have reviewed the list, you can choose to delete those files if you no longer need them.

Can you back up multiple PCs, servers, or networks?

Does your backup service charge you again and again for every machine you back up?

Most online backup plans are based on a single PC. If they say you can back up your PC for $10/month, they really mean you can back up that one PC for $10/month. If you want to back up more PCs, that will cost another $10 each. What seemed like a good deal for $10 is often less interesting when it becomes $50.

Many also put restrictions the types of devices you can back up. They may require a more expensive plan for a server, or they may not allow you to back up network shares or external hard drives.

Starting at 50¢ a gigabyte / month + licensing. With GotData?™ never lose your priceless files again. We backup Microsoft and Apple, Windows and Mac, servers, workstations and laptops starting at 50¢ a Gigabyte plus licensing. Canada's #1 Bilingual online backup application.

Is the rate plan excessively complex?

Does your backup service require you to buy more storage than you need? Then what happens if you exceed your storage plan?

Most online backup plans are based on set "buckets" or storage. If you pay $10/month you can perhaps store up to 1GB. When you try to back up 1.001GB, the backup will fail and you will have to either delete some data or upgrade your plan. To upgrade your storage plan, some services even require you to download and reinstall new software. Usually this happens just before a big disaster.  

If you have more than one PC this gets even worse. You need to figure out how much storage each PC needs and manage each plan separately. Each time a PC fills up its plan, you will have to go through this process again.

Will you be able to access your data remotely?

How easy it to access your data?

Once you have backed up your data, how easy is it to access? Some of the lower cost services will only allow you to access your files from the PC that backed them up. To transfer them to another computer usually requires that you sign up the new PC for separate plan.

With GotData?™, you can install the backup and restore software on as many computers as you like. There is no charge unless you actually back something up.

You can also access your data remotely with any web browser. If you are in a client meeting and suddenly need a file from your PC, simply log into your GotData?™ from your client’s web browser and download the file you need.

GotData?™ even allows you to selectively share files or folders with others. Simply select the data to share and assign a password. Then you can share that data by emailing secure web links.