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How to Choose the Best Online Backup Provider

Have you ever lost all your computer data after a hard drive crash? Choose the right online backup service and relieve your stress.


  • Step 1: Consider the benefits for home users Consider the benefits of backup services for home users such as off-site data storage and federal government-compliant security standards.
  • TIP: With external drives, keeping backup data and original data in the same location exposes both to fire or theft hazards.
  • Step 2: Consider the benefits for small businesses Consider the benefits of backup services for small businesses. They can offer tech support that's comparable yet less expensive than large enterprises.
  • TIP: Online backup providers aren't fault-proof -- in 2009 a major online backup provider lost data for over 7,500 customers due to defective equipment.
  • Step 3: Take advantage of free trials Take advantage of free trials offered by online backup providers to test if their software is compatible with your computer's operating system.
  • Step 4: Ask the right questions Ask the right questions. Do they offer 24/7 support? Can you back up multiple PCs through one account? Do they have storage and user number limits? Do they offer Mac support? These are all important facts to consider when choosing the right provider.
  • Step 5: Assess data storage pricing plans Assess data storage pricing plans. Do they offer affordable flat fees at different storage limit levels, like 100 megabytes, 4 gigabytes, or even unlimited storage?
  • Step 6: Ask about a service's reporting tools Ask about a service's reporting tools. This is a daily list of reports that confirm to the provider's tech pros that a customer's critical data is being backed up.
  • Step 7: Know about security alerts Know about security alerts. Some backup providers forward email alerts to subscribers of break or fix issues such as failed backup operations.
  • Step 8: Know about backup service disadvantages Know about backup service disadvantages. Some require a reliable 24/7 internet connection, and can be stressful on your computer bandwidth.
  • FACT: In 2007, director Francis Ford Coppola lost 15 years of computer records when thieves stole his computer and external backup device.

You Will Need

  • Backup provider free trial account
  • Trial and error

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