Cloud-based backup: Is it right for long-term storage?

Eugene Bartley wanted to know if his files would eventually disappear from a cloud-based backup service.

Eugene Bartley wanted to know if his files would eventually disappear from a cloud-based backup service.

Cloud-based backup services, such as Mozy, Carbonite, and IDrive, upload your files to their servers as protection against your losing the originals. This has some big advantages over a local backup. Once set up they're completely automatic. And it's extremely unlikely that the same fire or flood will destroy your computer and your backup.

But there are disadvantages, as well. One is that you lose physical control of your backup. Those files could be destroyed because of someone else's corporate decision.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

But that's not likely to happen--at least if you continue to pay your bill. But it's a good idea to know a service's policy.

Both Mozy and Carbonite will keep a file as long as it's on your drive (or at least the part of your drive that you're backing up), and for an additional 30 days after it disappears. That seems fair to me. If a file disappeared from your drive a month ago, and you haven't restored it, chances are you don't want it anymore.

IDrive, on the other hand, provides ways to control what will and will not be deleted from the server. You can keep files on their server that you're no longer keeping on your hard drive, in what an IDrive representative described to me as "an archival solution."

But I wouldn't recommend that. If you want to keep a file indefinitely, keep it in more than one place. And at least one of those places should be your hard drive or some other local storage.

And then backup that local storage--possibly to the cloud.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storagesoftwarebackupcloud storagecloud servicescarboniteUtilities

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?