Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mozy: offsite backup for home users and small businesses

Well, tonight CNN gave a spot to Mozy Online Backup, as a convenient off-site disaster recovery package for small businesses and home users. Mozy is a trademarked product of Berkeley Data Systems (California).

I went ahead and tried it, at $4.95 a month, but it also sells the first two years at once (a little more than $100) with three free months. It also offers a one year option. You get an exe to download, and install, and then it invites you to make the first baseline backup. The exe is bigger for Windows than for the Mac. It works for Vista, XP, and 2000.

Mine is set to take seven hours. It looks like it backs up everything in your named directories (like documents and settings, 1.7 gig for me) but not root directories that you create yourself. Those you have to go and backup in “expert mode” it looks like. I’ll see how this works out and update here.

Michael Horowitz has an article in CNET on July 30, 2007, “Everybody likes Mozy, except me, Part I” here. Horowitz doesn’t like a program to run in the background all the time (because of the "set it and forget it" design), but I did a ctl-alt-del and saw that it did not significantly increase CPU use while doing the initial backup (nor has it slowed down the computer). He also doesn’t like the idea that if you delete a file accidentally, the automatic backup logic would automatically delete it from the backup. He also, in part II, has an objection to the encryption paradigm.


It took six hours. But to add to backup sets, you go into Configure, and right click on backup sets. But the right click did not seem to work.

Now, the latest wrinkle is this. If I go into File Structure and click on the C drive, the next auto backup (after 20 minutes of non-use) automatically adds the C drive to an existing backup set and starts, for me at least, a 12 hour 4 gig backup.

Here's another wrinkle to think about. Law enforcement or the government could gain access to backups without needing to seize a home PC in certain situations. Maybe that's not a problem if you have nothing to hide. But I do wonder about the 4th Amendment here. I suppose Electronic Frontier Foundation will write about this one of these days.

1 comment:

Mozy Review said...

If you're concerned about encryption, you can set your own key when setting up Mozy, so even if someone gets a hold of your data, its encrypted in a way that only you can decode it.