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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags carbonitestoragecloud servicesUtilitiesbackupsoftwarecloud storage

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?