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    18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2008 7:18 PM by socalbits

    Remote backup capability

    amspcs Ranger
      With the hurricane season looming in our part of the world, we've been considering the wisdom of
      remotely backing up our important computer data. We presently do back-ups on a portable zip drive,
      but that's won't do us much good if our mainframe AMD zip drive are damaged or destroyed during a storm..

      We have tried Mozy remote backup service. Not bad, not good, but VERY slow.

      Anybody have any recommendations or experiences (good or bad) for reasonable and dependable remote backup services? We'd appreciate the input.

      Barry G
      amspcs@juno.com
      www.MerchantServices-help.com
        • Re: Remote backup capability
          NatOnline Tracker

          Hello Barry,

          Why don't you use just an FTP account, some hosting provide this service for transfering big files, often photographers are using this kind of service to transfert high definition picture to their magazine.
            • Re: Remote backup capability
              amspcs Ranger
              Thanks Nat. Please explain what an FTP account is, I have no idea.
                • Re: Remote backup capability
                  xenopod Adventurer
                  FTP is a File Transfer Protocol. It is a way to transfer files over the internet.

                  I would not encourage this method though as it is insecure and sends passwords as plain text.

                  SSH is a secure transfer protocol and transmits your password information over an encrypted connection.

                   

                  You can use this program (which is free) http://filezilla-project.org/ to use either FTP or SSH.

                  Do you host your own site internally or is it in a data center somewhere? You should ask your hosting provider about remote backup solutions.
                    • Re: Remote backup capability
                      amspcs Ranger
                      Thanks for the tip, computer ameteur here. I'm not necessarily talking about backing up my website.
                      I just want to back up my computer contents, file, programs, etc.
                        • Re: Remote backup capability
                          xenopod Adventurer
                          Well the idea of using SSH backups to another device is used on all kinds of servers not just webservers.

                          If you're talking about a personal computer the best option would be to create daily or weekly disc images depending on how willing you are to deal with how long this process takes versus how current your records need to be to be useful to you after a recovery though you could try to just always run backups at night depending on how much data you are talking about. You could then store the disc images to physical media or an external hard drive, you could also use the ftp or ssh methods to transfer said image to an offsite storage location over the internet.
                            • Re: Remote backup capability
                              NatOnline Tracker
                              Xenopod SSH may not be totally secure read their article on Security cautions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell


                              I believe that the best way to secure your own data need to be made on your own computer.

                              For example using an external portable HD to save you data encrypted or protected with passwords to bring it with you anywhere you need to.
                                • Re: Remote backup capability
                                  xenopod Adventurer
                                  Well it is certainly more secure than just sending out your password as plaintext, and defeating SSH is no easy or practical task.

                                  The easiest way is if you just blindly connect to an SSH server for the first time, because if you just accept the key and don't know that it is the server you should be trusting then you've defeated the point of the encryption.

                                  That problem is easily overcome if you contact your hosting company and ask them what the public ssh key is for your server. Once you know it you can add it to your list of trusted hosts. That way if another server tries to blindly intercept your packets it won't be able to, because SSH clients won't accept connections to servers with the wrong key when you already have a trusted key programmed into the software.

                                  So that leaves what if the malicious server can fake your actual servers credentials. Well this is where it is truly difficult. I would suggest a brief read of the wikipedia articles on public key cryptography or the RSA scheme for a small sense of how it works, but suffice it to say that just because the public key is publically knowable that isn't enough information for a malicious server to compromise your data. While it COULD be enough to fool your ssh client into accepting the connection (though not necessarily since most SSH implementations have several private and public layers all of which would have to have been spoofed for the connection to be accepted) the malicious server still won't be able to read the data you're sending to it. It would need yet another private key from the server it is faking, and getting that is a very difficult task. Basically the only sure method is a brute force approach that is very time and resource intensive (the issue of prime factorization (the math that is involved in this area of security) is what is referred to in computer science as an NP-Hard problem which means no "fast" computational solution exists). Again it is a highly impracticle method.

                                  So why would someone waste so much time and effort on compromising a relatively low priority target? I mean easily that can of effort could be expended on a potentially very rewarding target, but if you're just some blind attacker you always go for the low hanging fruit, because there is enough of it and it is easy to take. Thus again why it is a terrible idea to ever send passwords or any sensitive data over insecure connections.
                                    • Re: Remote backup capability
                                      NatOnline Tracker
                                      Hello Xenopod,

                                      I think it depends of what version of SSH server you are talking, all versions are not secure. As far as the FTP account I meant a similar service like this one: http://www.datavaultcorp.com/FTP_Backup/i
                                      ndex.shtml , perhaps I did not explain very well at the first time. Of course a single FTP account will not provide a huge security for sensitive data.

                                      What the big corporations are using these days are VPN connections to secure their data, which provide a decent security.

                                      Anyway, I thing a removable devide should do the job right, it doesn't cost a lot of money and provide plenty of capacity to store sensitive data that you can bring whatever you go.
                        • Re: Remote backup capability
                          Lighthouse24 Ranger

                          If you're current protocol involves backing up to portable zip drives, a simple option would be to replace those with portable external hard drives that use a USB firewire connection. The backup procedure would be even easier than now, much faster, and you could disconnect the external drive and either lock it up or take it with you. It's not a true "remote backup," but might be an option to consider.

                          After a tornado and flood last summer, we operated for over a month from a Marriott -- just connected our external drives to the machines they had in their Business Center and to the two laptops we'd had with us, and we instantly had everything available that had been on our office desktops (which were presumably in the Gulf of Mexico somewhere by that point). In a period that held one challenge after another, missing important data was never one of them.

                          (By the way, we utilize a remote enterprise management system with a secure database for sales, accounting, and invoicing applications -- so we didn't and don't save or maintain any sensitive financial or client/customer information on any of those desktops.)

                          Here's my sincere wish that you never need whatever solution you choose!
                          • Re: Remote backup capability
                            puzzleman Tracker
                            I use a 8 gig thumb drive to back up each week. This copy goes home with me so it is there in case the shop goes down. I also burn another thumbdrive once a month that goes to the safe deposit box at my local bank. I save my customer database and cutting patterns so that in a worst case scenario, I can be up and running within a week or less.

                            Jim
                              • Re: Remote backup capability
                                NatOnline Tracker
                                This is excellent, I am backing up with an external Tera HD in eSata connection, that's very fast when I backup. There is also a connection in USB 2.0 in case I need to use my laptop.

                                Anyway, back ups are important because we never know when something goes wrong.
                                • Re: Remote backup capability
                                  xenopod Adventurer
                                  So is the issue now that you're running out of free space on your thumb drive or is backing up the data to your thumbdrive taking too long? Having copies at work, on your persons, and a back in a safe deposit box seems like a fairly redundant method already.

                                  There was another member on this site who had a remote storage service. You might try searching the site for their information and looking into using that for another layer of backups and just using a secure connection to shoot over the contents of your thumbdrive backup to the offsite backup as well. Since you do the backups weekly though you probably could use any regular hosting service and run your backups weekly from the thumbdrive to your hosting space just don't have the uploading directory with webservice access (i.e. don't have the folder inside a public_html folder leave it in your private space when you connect to the server) and again please use some form of secure connection (whether SFTP/SSH or SFTP/SSL) and you should be all set with yet another safe source in case you need to recover! Just be sure to pick a data center in a relatively safe geographical location (like in the middle of Texas). :)

                                  I hope that helps.
                                    • Re: Remote backup capability
                                      puzzleman Tracker
                                      As databases go I think mine is rather small as it is only 250 MB. So, I don't have a storage problem on the thumb drives and it only takes about 5 minutes to save.

                                      A bit of off topic. What do you know about remote hosting of a database, where my computers would work off the internet and I could access the database from outside of the shop?

                                      Jim
                                  • Re: Remote backup capability
                                    Bridge Navigator
                                    Dear ampcs,

                                    I too am in hurricane territory. My computer backs up everynight automatically. I use a USB Maxtor drive; it is small and comes with software to manage the back-ups. I set it to backup everynight at 2am. It is very fast (incremental back-ups of files) and does not interfere with my work.

                                    My "plan" is to take the drive with me on evacuations. This may or may not work for you depending on the size of your data.

                                    How much data do you need to back up? Can your business "operate" if you lose power or have to relocate? How will you handle phone calls?

                                    Several years ago I was working in Miami when the hurricanes hit, running a national healthcare distribution center. We received new orders from doctors daily and reorders from customers.

                                    We "relocated" our offices to several new sites since we lost power at our main distribution center.

                                    1) I worked out of my home office in Tampa and had all fax lines forwarded to a send2fax number so that I could manage respond to all incoming faxes from my office.

                                    2) We had phones rerouted a similar way except to numerous cell phones. We had people working out of their homes (those with power) and returning calls from their cells.

                                    3) Inventory was moved to several locations where shipping could still be received from.

                                    It was difficult but we managed through it.
                                    • Re: Remote backup capability
                                      DomainDiva Ranger

                                      Once our product is launched, my ISP will back up every day at midnight pacific time. This was one of the first things we covered in our contract.

                                      We have a full back up of the website as well now every 3 days since we are just mostly information only.
                                      • Re: Remote backup capability
                                        KAKURAVI Newbie
                                        Hi Barry,

                                        Not sure if you've heard of HP Upline. Go to www.upline.com.

                                        This one let's you share your files too.

                                        Kakuravi
                                        • Re: Remote backup capability
                                          NorthStar Wayfarer
                                          We like to keep it simple. We split our data from our applications. For the Apps and OS, we have a ghosted image of the drive that we can restore. For the data, we have built an file system on the drive that is used by everyone. We then burn DVD copies of the data every weekend nd also a spare on a monthly bases.

                                          This is cheap and very effective. Easy to setup and maintain.

                                          We keep one copy local and send another one out of state.

                                          If you want to know more let me know.
                                          • Re: Remote backup capability
                                            socalbits Wayfarer
                                            Hi Barry,

                                            ibackup.com is a pretty good remote solution and it's automated. I have a couple clients that use this service to backup their financials, HR, legal and other important data to an offsite facility. It's fairly inexpensive and is viable for most smaller companies that backing up less than 50GB