Benefits and drawbacks of remote backup

Remote backup has advantages over traditional backup methods:

* Perhaps the most important aspect of backing up is that backups are stored in a different location from the original data. Traditional backup requires manually taking the backup media offsite.
* Remote backup does not require user intervention. The user does not have to change tapes, label CDs or perform other manual steps.
* Unlimited data retention.
* Backups are automatic.
* The correct files are backed up. Ordinary backup software is often installed with a list of files to be backed up. This set of files usually represents the state of the system when the software was installed, and often misses critical files, like files that get added later.
* Some remote backup services will work continuously, backing up files as they are changed.
* Most remote backup services will maintain a list of versions of your files.
* Most remote backup services will use a 128 – 448 bit encryption to send data over unsecured links (ie internet)
* A few remote backup services can reduce backup by only transmitting changed binary data bits

Remote backup has some disadvantages:

* Depending on the available network bandwidth, the restoration of data can be slow. Because data is stored offsite, the data must be recovered either via the Internet or via a disk shipped from the online backup service provider.
* Some backup service providers have no guarantee that stored data will be kept private – for example, from employees. As such, most recommend that files be encrypted.
* It is possible that a remote support solution provider could go out of business or be purchased, which may affect the accessibility of one’s data or the cost to continue using the service.
* If encryption password is lost, no more data recovery will be possible. However with managed services this should not be a problem.
* Residential broadband services often have monthly limits that preclude large backups. They are also usually asymmetric; the user-to-network link regularly used to store backups is much slower than the network-to-user link used only when data is restored.

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