There are a number of different features you may want to consider, such as data security, storage space, and user interface. Itemize your needs in an organized way to ensure an efficient decision-making process.

Research Data Backup Turnkey Solution Features
Outlined below are the key features to look for in an Internet backup service:

  • Data security. For secure transfer, data should be encrypted by the backup client software before it is transferred to the storage center. Data at the center should be password protected.
  • High bandwidth connection. The backup service's Web site should have sufficient bandwidth so that connecting to it isn't a bottleneck for backing up and restoring your data.
  • Sufficient storage space. Many backup services restrict the amount of storage space they give you. Make sure you find a service that provides adequate space to fit your needs now and in the future.
  • Ability to schedule unattended backups. The client software for a backup service company should allow you to schedule unattended backups according to your needs, not theirs. You may want to schedule backups each day at 1 a.m., when there is likely to be little demand on your system.
  • Simple user interface. The client should be easy to install and configure.
  • Web-based access. The backup service should allow you to obtain your data directly from its Web site so that you can obtain your data from any PC, not just the one with the backup service client installed.
  • Option to restore at any time. The backup service should allow you to restore at any time of day, seven days a week.
  • High compression ratio. The backup service client should compress data on your PCs before sending the data to the backup service, to shorten data transfer time.
  • Permanent archives. You should have the option to obtain CD archives of your data periodically.
  • Delta backups. The backup service client should be able to back up only the change made to a file rather than a whole file, decreasing the amount of data you need to back up each day.
  • Good internal procedures. Your data isn't safe if your backup service isn't backing up its server. Make sure your backup service provider has a secure physical location and adequate procedures for safeguarding your data.

Understand the Issues to Consider in Selecting a Data Backup Turnkey Solution
If you're a Macintosh user, an Internet backup service may not meet your needs because most services are PC-only solutions.

Initial (full) backups may take from several hours to an entire night, tying up your Internet connection. If you have a large volume of data to back up and don't have a fast connection, you may not be able to complete your backups overnight. A slow connection may present a challenge in restoring data; if you have a large volume of data to restore after data loss, retrieving it via the Internet may take too long, and you may end up waiting for the backup service to send you a CD before you can restore files.

Research Data Backup Turnkey Solution Costs
Services generally cost between $10 to $20 per month for a license, with the difference in price reflecting the restrictions on data storage. Some services restrict their license to a single PC, while others have no restrictions. However, the services with no restrictions on the license limit the amount of data you can back up so that it isn't practicable for use on multiple PCs anyway. If you have more than 10 PCs to back up, look for volume discounts.

Most services do allow you to request CDs of your data but charge from $30 to $50 per request and may also restrict the number of requests you can make per year.

Find a Data Backup Turnkey Solution Provider
Safeguard Interactive and Connected Corp. offer services with enough storage space to meet the needs of either a small business or a sole proprietor. You may also want to check your Internet service provider for backup services. For example, US West's small-business e-backup offers unlimited backup storage and gives a discount to US West customers.

@Backup sells a service geared more to individuals and sole proprietors. Its storage limits of between 100 MB and 500 MB make it more suitable for backing up a few important files rather than an entire disk drive or server. Driveway (formerly Atreiva Corp.) offers a free service that is aimed squarely at consumers, who can receive as much as 100 MB of storage space in return for providing personal information.

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