Backup Your Data Online - Dell’s New Service

It has been a serious problem for a while for many of us to backup data from devices, primarily Laptops. Mostly to survive any crash on harddisks, which is quite typical these days with heavy applications wearing out and challenging the limits of harddisks. Another reason for having a backup is to migrate to a new laptop with ease.

At work, I use a network based service, where complete image of my laptop including all installations and data are backed up every now and then on to a network based server. So even if I loose everything on my laptop for some reason, a new laptop can be brought to the exact same configuration with all those applications and files within minutes.

Apple

But at a personal level, the solution is not that easy. Apple has first (to my knowledge) announced such a feature part of OS X to do it automatically without user having setup anything. Just connect a new storage device and in  a few clicks your personal backup service is ready.

Windows Home Server and HP MediaSmart Server

And Microsoft followed the same with Vista, Microsoft's new Windows® Home Server platform, comes to market first time with HP by way of HP MediaSmart Server, provides a network server for your home that can serve as Network backup server for all your laptops/desktops at home, with little configuration.

3rd Party Applications

There are many 3rd party applications that help backing up your system, for example Norton's Store and Retrieve product. You must buy an external harddrive and install this software to configure the backup service.

And now the backup service goes online for Personal and Home users as well with Dell's upcoming service. That is awesome. And I guess, many will follow the suit pretty soon. And there would be a bunch of Startups found a new business opportunity.

So, while everyone else in the industry was marveling at the new gadgets at CES last week, I was intrigued by a specific portion of a Dell press release1. After talking about faster bandwidth via fiber and new computer products, the company announced that it is moving into personal services, specifically online data migration and backup, a service that makes a lot of sense to me.

Mr. Dell described a new service that will be available later this year in the U.S. — an online data-migration and backup capability. It will enable customers to securely transfer documents, programs, drivers, settings, and other data via a broadband connection to a secure data-storage portal. Customers will be able to have the service preinstalled by Dell during the manufacturing process, alleviating the need to do it themselves after delivery.”Consumers have repeatedly told us they’d like this type of assistance and we’re answering the call,” Dell added. “Dell is uniquely positioned to offer these personalized services because of our direct model — nobody else can do this the way we can.”

Moving all of your files from one computer to another is a pain. And with most people having music, photos and videos on their computers, the days of moving everything on a CD, DVD or memory stick are long gone.

Source: GigaOM » Dell’s Got Your Back(up)

While the network solution looks promising, there are few things to consider before choosing a network based solutions over a stand alone solution.

Privacy Issues

Once you store your data on a network device, your privacy is at great risk. Certainly not everybody likes to put their Microsoft Money files on a network server without having a guarantee that these files will never be touched by any one while on the network. And thanks to Government Regulations, Dell might have to open up your backup archives even without your notice.

Security

Unless Dell encrypts all the data with a secured key that is known only to you, it can not guarantee that your data will never be touched by any one. Dell should develop stringent rules based Software that will keep all the data in full integrity and snoop proof in all ocassions, particularly while transferring the files over internet and on their storage servers.

Your data may not be as vulnerable as Credit Card companies data, that being stolen on multiple ocassions from secured servers of Banks, but much more important than it to you. And one vulnerability in the storage server can put all your data online, thats a very risky proposition.

Whatever you decide, evaluate each option and risks associated before making a decision. Anybody can FIX or SECURE only known vulnerabilities and MUST FIX new vulnerabilities ONLY AFTER THEY ARE EXPOSED.

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