Legacy Crossword: October 13, 2008
Legacy News will return on October 27

Online backup service brings peace of mind

Last month I wrote about a potenially devastating experience which I avoided relating to my computer's power supply. The article was entitled How Often Should You Backup Your Computer? Since then, I have setup my backup software to backup any new or modified files every evening to my external hard drive. Knowing that my files are safely backed up has brought peace of mind.

Or are my files truly safe?

Both my computer and my external hard drive reside in the same room. If something were to happen to this room, I could easily lose both. Two weeks ago I finally signed up for the online backup service that everyone has been talking about - Mozy.com.

Mozy is a simple and secure backup service which stores a copy of your data in a secure, remote location for safekeeping, so that in the event of a disaster your data is still retrievable.

After I downloaded and installed the free software, the backup process began. First, Mozy automatically marked certain groups of files to backup, including my pictures, documents, and videos. Then I selected the remaining folders that I wanted to backup, selected a few backup settings, and started the backup.

The best thing about Mozy is the price. If you are backing up less than 2GB of information, Mozy is completely free. You don't even have to give them a credit card to get started. If you just want to backup your Legacy family file, you would certainly fall within the free limits. My family file containing about 22,000 individuals is only about 50MB, so this wouldn't be a problem.

However, I need to backup much more than this - 93GB of information to be precise. Anything over 2GB costs just $4.95 a month. I actually paid for two years up front, which gave me three months free. For less than $5 a month, I have complete peace of mind. I know that anything can happen to my computer and the external hard drive, and because I have an offsite backup, everything will still be recoverable.

I would suggest that everyone give Mozy, or some comparable online backup service a try.

Visit Mozy.com for more information.


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I have used Mozy for about a year now (I also bought the 2 year subscription), and it is excellent. I have twice had to restore certain files because of my own stupidity. But when I needed to restore, it was a breeze. I can't recommend it too highly.

I use Mozy. It gives much peace to know your files are backed up. You still back up at home, especially the tree and the notes.

How do you make certain that the Legacy data is backed-up? Apparently Mozy does not automatically back-up all the files. I know that I don't need to back-up the application -- just the data.

John, Mozy will backup only those files you specify. By default, it backs up your My Documents, Pictures, and other main folders. To backup your Legacy, you need to right-click on the Mozy icon in the system tray and click on Configure. Then click on the File System tab and make sure that your Legacy folder is checked. If it is, it will automatically backup your Legacy files.

You mentioned in the article that the service could be free provided you only used a limited volume. However, when trying to sign up, there is no other feature than to pay monthly, one year or two years!

Robert - you can sign up for the free version directly at https://mozy.com/registration/free

I've been using Mozy for a while and find it very useful. You can't beat the price (free up to 2GB) and the fact that is completely non intrusive (stays as a resident program in your taskbar) makes it a kipper app. It saves my skin in several opportunities when I had to restore some files while traveling.

I have been reading lately about websites that went out of business and then people lost all their stored files etc. Does anyone know what would happen to our data if this sight goes out of business?

I can't speak for or against Mozy, as I have no personal experience of this service, but the write-ups I've seen have all been good. From what I've read, it's intended to be a back-up service, not primary storage, and I would use it in addition to my normal back-up. This means that, to lose my files, I'd have to lose my hard disk, my external back-up and Mozy, all at the same time. Not impossible, but pretty unlikely. In fact, I have two external back-up disks, which I alternate, keeping one off site and swapping them every few days. So, if my computer explodes and burns the house down, taking my external drive with it and, on the same day, Mozy goes out of business, I STILL have my files, albeit maybe a couple of days out of date. Whether you go to this much trouble depends on how much you care about your files and research.

Protecting the many hours of research embodied in your personal family history is a compelling reason to faithfully and regularly backup your Legacy Database. However, I would urge caution about using any PUBLIC ONLINE SERVICE as a BACKUP FOR PRIVATE SENSITIVE DATA.

Posting PRIVATE DATA in a PUBLIC PLACE negates any EXPECTION OF PRIVACY that you may have had otherwise.

Gene - Mozy wrote this about their protection: Mozy gives you the ability to select your data's encryption method: a Mozy key with 448-bit Blowfish encryption or your own private key with 256-bit AES encryption. Your files are encrypted on your computer using the key of your choice, and then transferred to the Mozy servers using 128-bit SSL encryption, the industry standard for safe and secure data transfer. Please note that if you select to use your own private key, it will be impossible for Mozy to decrypt your data, so you must be very careful not to lose it.

Once in Mozy's data centers, your data is stored in its encrypted state with 24/7/365 onsite monitoring and security, state-of-the-art fire detection and suppression systems, redundant power distribution units, and seismic safeguards that can withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. In addition, we use a proprietary protection mechanism based on a complex encoding structure to ensure that your data is safe, even in the event of multiple hardware failures.

It would be wonderful to have my files backed up automately

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