Affordable Cloud Backup Service!

I have mentioned this backup service before. In fact way back on October 10, 2015 I wrote about Skyhub simply because of it’s very affordable price. We all know that computers and hard drives fail from time to time. There can also disasters at home where your computers and hard drives are damaged and of course we can all be victims of theft.  The best way to protect your digital files is to back them up – off site – in the cloud.

The perfect balance of space, access and security can be an elusive quality in the cloud storage world. Though some services are great, prices tend to rise after a set period of time, and the cheaper services are rarely secure.

The most well-known services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) sell monthly and yearly subscriptions but usually offer restrictive limits in storage space, often forcing you to buy into higher plans. The optimal balance can be found in the SkyHub Cloud 2TB Backup: Lifetime Subscription, now just $49.99 on TNW Deals.

With SkyHub Cloud backups, you can keep your files safe for life on SkyHub’s servers, away from whatever natural disaster or external threat that might threaten your devices. You’ll get unlimited encrypted backups of any size from up to three computers, and can view them from any device.

There are a number of reasons it’s been credited with ‘online file storage excellence’ by the Wall Street Journal:

  • Get 2TB of automatic backup for 4 computers, add more to your account anytime and backup all your devices, discs & thumb-drives
  • Back up 2TB of data as needed—there’s no catch!
  • Quickly & easily get set up
  • Rest assured that all your data is secure thanks to the advanced encryption security
  • View all your backed up files on the web, store them long term, or take advantage of the innovative SkyHub hybrid storage system

There are no tricks or catches – you can store a full terabyte of data in the Skyhub Cloud, as well as all your devices, to be stored in SkyHub’s servers forever. For a limited time, enjoy a lifetime 2TB Backup deal at 90 percent off.

Learn more about Skyhub here.

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Lifetime Backups at an Affordable Price

Backups are very important. I cannot stress that enough friends. For home use I have been using Mozy which is about $125 a year for up to 4 computers. I just stumbled upon this deal and jumped right on it. A lifetime of backups for 4 of your computers for a one time cost $49.99. So far I like what I have seen. It is very easy to use and setup.

It’s rarely an easy task to find the perfect balance of space, access and security to suit your cloud storage needs.

Some services are good, but prices tend to rise after a set period of time, and the cheaper services are rarely secure. The most well-known services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) sell monthly/yearly subscriptions but usually offer restrictive limits in storage space, often forcing you to buy into higher plans.

A great solution can be found in the SkyHub Cloud 1TB Backup: Lifetime Subscription, now just $49.99 on TNW Deals.

With SkyHub Cloud backups, you can keep your files safe for life on SkyHub’s servers, away from whatever natural disaster or external threat that might threaten your devices. You’ll get unlimited encrypted backups of any size from up to three computers, and can view them from any device.

There are a number of reasons it’s been credited for ‘online file storage excellence’ by the Wall Street Journal:

  • Get 1 TB of automatic backup for 4 computers, add more to your account anytime and backup all your devices, discs & thumb-drives
  • Back up 1 TB of data as needed—there’s no catch!
  • Quickly & easily get set up
  • Rest assured that all your data is secure thanks to the advanced encryption security
  • View all your backed up files on the web, store them long term, or take advantage of the innovative SkyHub hybrid storage system

There’s no tricks or catch here. You can store a full terabyte of data in the Skyhub Cloud, as well as all your devices. And this will be stored in SkyHub’s servers forever.

Check it out here.

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Amazon Introduces Prime Photos

prime-photos-300x179The battle for your business continues to rage in the Cloud. About a week or so after Microsoft announced unlimited cloud storage in OneDrive for 365 subscribers Amazon is offering unlimited storage in their cloud (for photos) to their Amazon Prime members.

Amazon has just launched a new photo storage service called Prime Photos which offers Prime subscribers unlimited cloud storage for their images at no extra cost. Photos can be uploaded to Amazon’s Cloud Drive with iOS or Android apps or the Cloud Drive website.

According to Amazon, Prime Photos is only available for personal, non-commercial use and can not be used in conjunction with a photography business. Videos can be uploaded but must be smaller than 2GB and less than 20 minutes long. So there are some limitations here, but free is free, if you are already a Prime member.

prime-photos-herop

Another concern would be that if and when you Cancel a Prime subscription any photos uploaded to a user’s Cloud Drive would be subject to the normal storage limits of 5GB. Amazon’s Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free storage with every account, but anything exceeding that would need to be paid for ($10/year for 20GB or $25/year for 50GB). If photos outside of the storage limit aren’t downloaded and saved within three months, they may be deleted from the service entirely.

In many ways, this new service is very similar to what Microsoft has done with OneDrive and Office 365, in that Amazon is making cloud storage a feature of another paid service, in this case Prime. But the big difference is that Amazon only allows you to store photos. This is a substantial limitation compared to what Microsoft is offering. However if you are already a Prime Member this is a nice add on and another way to back up your photos, but I would suggest it alone is not enough reason to sign up for Prime.

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Police Department Infected by Cryptolocker

The computer system of a police department in Durham, New Hampshire has been reportedly infected with Cryptowall. Cryptowall a variant of Cryptodefense ransomware encrypts data and holds it hostage until money is paid for decryption.

Just like in the case of the infamous Cryptolocker, the attack was carried out via email phishing, with the piece of malware disguised into what appeared to be a legitimate file attached to the message.

Cryptowall ransom message

Cryptolocker Ransom Message

 

Once Cryptowall was executed on the department’s network, the affected machines once identified were isolated by being taken offline in order stop the spread and to run disinfection routines.

According to Todd Selig, Town Manager, no ransom was paid by the authorities for getting the decryption key. This refusal to pay the ransom is an action recommended by most security experts in order to discourage these type of cyber attacks from occuring more frequently. 

The police department in this case was not damaged because they had a backup system which allowed the data to be restored once the infection was isolated and removed.

According to Cisco Systems, Cryptowall has been around as part of an exploit kit called RIG since April, when they noticed increased traffic generated by the malicious package and started blocking it.

Cryptowall targets specific and common file formats, which include DOC, XLS, and TXT, along with images and videos. The malicious software creates files with instructions to follow in order to regain access to the content. A ransom message is then shown to the user informing that the data can be decrypted by paying a fee, which increases in time.

Many victims of the Cryptolocker set of malware have actually pad the fee. Some of regained access to their files while others regain access for a short time only to have them encrypted afterward.

Backup – Backup – Backup!

The lesson to learn from this and other security attacks by cyber criminals is to have several backups in place and updated regularity. I recommend both a local backup as well as a off site back with a cloud service.

 

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A Warning About the Cloud & Backups

Do NOT rely on CLOUD Storage solutions like Dropbox or SkyDrive (soon to be OneDrive) as your backup solution. Backup solutions like Carbonite act in a very different way then cloud storage solutions, and this difference could really present a problem.

First, I will explain what these services do.

Cloud Storage Solutions

One of the greatest advantages of using cloud storage solutions is having access to your files from wherever you are and from whatever device you are using. When you work on a file the file is synced to any other computers or devices that are linked to your cloud account. And here is where the problem can show itself and in fact this very scenario happened to me a year or so ago. After working on a rather large Excel file I went to open it again and you guessed it – it would not open. The file for some reason was corrupted and I could not open it. As I checked the file on my mobile device and home PC the file was – you guessed it – corrupt there as well.

Dropbox and other cloud storage solutions immediately sync your files to your devices, damaged or not.

Dropbox and other cloud storage solutions immediately sync your files to your devices, damaged or not.

 

Cloud storage solutions are there to save and sync your changes. If a file is damaged or even deleted it will be that way on your other devices.

Backup Solutions

Backup services like Mozy and Carbonite  act very differently. With these true backup services your files are copied, often with more then one revision at scheduled times. Here if a file is damaged or mistakenly deleted you will be able to restore your file from a specific backup time. Many times this is what you will need – not a synced damaged file. I also recommend backing up both locally – to a external USB drive as well as a backup cloud service.

Most backup services work like this with the addition of the ability of setting how many "revisions" you choose to store.

Most backup services work like this with the addition of the ability of setting how many “revisions” you choose to store.

Relying on cloud storage services like Dropbox as a backup is a mistake. Each of these unique services have a different mission and it could save you some headaches if you know the difference.

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It’s Easy To Protect Your Data!

Another slow technology week, other then Apple’s new (but kinda the same) iPhone and Microsoft’s new (but kinda the same) Surface tablets have me revisiting the importance of securing your data and providing some easy steps for accomplishing it.

Computers today almost always store more than just files. We use our computers, laptops and tablets to store our photos, music, videos and much more. With everything being stored on our computers, it is no wonder that we all want to make sure that our data is fully protected from all eventualities.

Remember that you can always reinstall any programs or software but your data could be lost forever. I have been asked countless times to “please just save my pictures” when someone’s computer has “crashed”. There are many ways that you can protect your data from being lost, as well as being compromised by people who do not have access.

Below are 5 useful steps you can take to protect your data.

  1. Backing Up – Using an external device to back your files up with is a great way of protecting them. You can use discs, USB sticks or even an external hard drive to copy all of your data to. If this is done on a regular basis then if anything should happen to your PC or tablet you will always have a full back up of your data that can be loaded back onto any device.
  2. Security & Anti Virus Software – Antivirus software or security is paramount to protecting your data. Your data is under constant threat from hackers and viruses. In order to help protect your data it is advisable to install some kind of antivirus software or security. This software will repair any attacks on your data and alert you to any threats including suspicious and dangerous websites.
  3. Passwords – If you have data on your laptop or PC that needs to be kept private and never shared then you should protect that data with a password or security key that only you know. You can also zip files to protect them from being opened. Never share any passwords with anyone because you never know who may store that password.
  4. Internet Protocol Security – Internet protocol security or IP security as it is also known is vital if you are sending private or important data over the web as this is when it can be most easily hacked.
  5. Secure Networks – Always ensure that any network that you may use is a secure one. Unsecured networks put your data at risk as anyone maybe able to access the data on your laptop and PC and share that data. Never use a network where you don’t have to enter a pass key or security key.

By following these handy steps you can protect your data and it will be less likely to be exposed to the wrong people.

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Protect Your Data

As part of a continuing theme in this technology blog is re-enforcing the need to keep your data protected, both at work and at home. Be aware that there are many ways in which you can lose your data. I believe it is important to know the various ways in which such a loss can happen so that you can be well prepared in case they occur.


Here are the most common ways in which you can lose data:

1. Virus attacks – malwares, bugs and Trojans can attack the computer system causing it to malfunction, and or distort data.

2. Theft– thieves may decide to take a person’s computer therefore taking with them a person’s files and data.

3. Disaster– floods and hurricanes as well as fires may cause damage to a computer system thus making it impossible to access files in it.

4. Own accidental mistake – This one is actually very common – so beware! You can accidentally delete a file or some data by giving a wrong command if you are distracted or you not really understand the command.

5. A hard drive can suddenly crush causing everything to come to a standstill. This is also all too common.

6. Malicious tampering with the data from a person with an evil agenda.

7. Power surges.

These as well as many other less common reasons make it necessary to find ways to protect yourself from losing important data.

Below are 5 ways to protect yourself from losing your data.

1. Back up files on an external hard drive. The external hard disk is kept at a different place from where the main computer is unless when transferring files into it. This helps when someone is trying to tamper with information and does not know that the files are saved elsewhere. The information is protected when a computer has been damaged by viruses. This is the most common way used to protect oneself from long data.

2. Have an antivirus application and constantly update it. This obviously helps to keep the viruses in check. These applications if running properly will well scan and destroy any bug that may attach itself onto files. Catching the bugs in good time protects the system from executing wrong commands which cause data to be distorted, deleted or makes the computer hard disk to crush.

3. Back files up on an offsite facility or use cloud services. There are many consumer solutions out there such as Corbomite and Mozy.

4. Print hard copies. Data that is complete when printed can be saved on hard copies. This is helpful when the said data needs to be kept for a long period of time and the soft (electronic) copy of it has been damaged or deleted.

5. Keep the computer in a good environmentand service it when necessary. This means blowing dust off of it, repairing it and generally keeping the environment around the computer clean and without clutter. You should also avoid placing food and drinks near the computer because accidental spills can cause damage.

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Backup The Right Way

On August 10 I wrote an article about how relying exclusively on cloud drive services such as Dropbox and Skydrive for backing up your files can be dangerous. This is because if a file becomes corrupted it will replicate to all of your physical locations where the cloud drive service is installed as well as the cloud itself.

Good old fashion backups are still necessary and should be taken seriously. One of the best ways to remember how to back up your images safely is to use the 3-2-1 rule.

I recommend storing 3 copies of any important file (a primary and two backups).

I recommend having the files on 2 different media types (such as an external hard drive and USB media), to protect against different types of problems. You can accomplish this simply by backing your files up to 2 separate external drives.

1 copy should be stored offsite (or at least offline). There are many free services so there is no excuse. I have written articles and discussed many of these free services in our training classes.

In a future article I will discuss some examples of the reasons you need to back-up such as viruses, device failure, theft and disasters.

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Backing Up Your Files with MOZY

All this talk of the cloud has me revisiting cloud services for the home user. One of the most popular “cloud services” today is in the area of remote backups. As the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has sadly demonstrated, natural disasters do strike, usually without warning. If a natural disaster, fire or theft was to occur to you and your computer was unavailable or destroyed are your files safe?

Because our computers are becoming more and more critical remote backup service providers have been cropping up everywhere these past few years. The Borough of West Chester has been remotely backing up critical data files for years. Should you?

If you store financial files, tax documents, letters, family photos and video you probably should be backing up remotely. There are many providers with many price points. Be sure to check these providers out and protect your files today.

What about Mozy?
Mozy is a great backup service. This service lets you store files online and retrieve them remotely, which is all you really need from an online storage service.

The real reason that Mozy is attractive as an online storage solution is the price; this service’s subscription is practically unbeatable. Another advantage for using this service is the strong security features. Because it is designed to be a backup service, this service has a lot of security measures in place that other online storage services don’t have. If you want to make sure that your data is safe, this service is one of the best places to store it.

Regardless of what you call the service or what it was initially designed to be, this service is a spectacular choice. The combination of cheap storage space with useful features and strong security make this service the perfect place to store files, photos, videos, documents and anything you want to safely store outside of your home computer.

Another great ability of Mozy is that you can back up to 3 computers and remote (usb) drives. Many services such as Carbonite charge additions fees for devices and drives outside of the primary computer. This cost can add up.

Cost for Mozy’s Services
2GB for free
125GB, up to 2 computers for $9.99 per month
You can learn more about Mozy at mozy.com.

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Backing Up Online Could Save The Day

Today there is no excuse to backup your files. You don’t even need to purchase any additional equipment. All you need to do is sign up with a service, install the software, follow the directions and before you know it your data is safe and sound, even if your computer isn’t.

Why Online Backup?
Backing up to an Internet service makes a ton of sense, for three important reasons: For one, the data is stored off site, usually in Fort Knox-type secure servers. This means that in case of flood or fire or other property damage, you’re covered.

A second argument for going with online backup is because it’s automated. There’s no need to insert or even have any CDs or DVDs or plug in a USB drive that may be susceptible to the calamities listed above. Online backup services automate the process of getting your files from your machines to the backed up storage, usually on a daily basis, and in some cases, they’ll watch folders or files you’ve protected and upload the changes on the spot.

Finally, when you back up to online storage with most of these services, you’ll not only have access to your files from any Web browser, but with some services, such as SOS and MiMedia, you can share the files to contacts via links in e-mail or even view photos in the web interface. MiMedia goes even beyond this with the ability to play video and music files.

Stay in Sync
In addition to the traditional online backup services listed below, you might consider syncing services like SugarSync, DropBox, Nomadesk, and Syncplicity. These keep folders on multiple computers up to date with any added or changed files. They also usually keep a copy in the cloud, so you could use one of these as a sort of minimal, hands-off form of online backup. A couple of services, like Nomadesk and MiMedia fall somewhere in between regular online backup and syncing services.

Price and Other Considerations
Within traditional online backup, services you have further subdivisions. One is price: Some, like Carbonite and Mozy, offer unlimited storage—but only for one PC. Others like SOS charge by the gigabyte, but let you backup multiple machines. In the end, expect to pay from $5 to $10 a month for a reasonable amount of backup. The unlimited providers will tell you that their option is best, but from what I’ve heard from industry executives, the average user backs up from 10 to 20GB, so you may find a better deal with a multi-PC plan than an unlimited.

Another differentiation is whether the service keeps all previous file versions when you save a change. Most do this, but the better ones like SOS even keep files that you delete from your protected machine. Since accidental deletions are a real possibility, this feature can really be a lifesaver, and is one reason why SOS is our Editors’ Choice.Other niceties to look for in online backup are the ability to share files from your online storage and marks in Windows Explorer entries that show which files are backed up. Right-click menu options in the better products like SOS and Norton Online Backup also let you tell the service to back up a file or folder immediately.

Another option is to go with your security software provider’s online backup. Most of the big suites now include at least some level of remote backup storage, and some rebrand products listed here. Webroot, for example, rebrands SugarSync.

As you can see, though it seems like a simple concept at first blush—store files from my PC on a server on the internet—there are plenty of options and features involved. After careful reading of the reviews below, you should be equipped to make the choice of which service best fits your needs. Note: this isn’t every online backup service in the world, but we think these are most of the best. We’ll be updating this roundup as we look at more of them.

Here are my top three picks for online backup services at home.

Carbonite 4.0 : Carbonite.comCarbonite 4.0

$54.95/year for one PC with unlimited storage
Carbonite is a mature online backup service, but it lacks many desirable features you’ll find in the competition. It offers unlimited remote backup storage, and handily marks backed-up files in Windows Explorer. It also has a good Mac version and a so-so iPhone app. But an account only covers one PC and its backup servers aren’t geographically redundant. It also lacks file sharing or viewing, live protection, and doesn’t back up external or network drives.

IDrive logoIDrive (Spring 2010)

$4.95/month per PC with 150GB
IDrive’s support for up to five computers in one account, version saving, Web interface and fast operation are welcome, but you can’t mix Macs and PCs, and there are still some rough edges, compared with the competition. Still, the service is much improved since our last review.

MozyHome logoMozyHome 2.0

$54.45/year
Mozy improves ease of use and setup, but still supports just one computer per account and doesn’t let you back up network or removable drives. That keeps it a step behind the competition.

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