It has been a few years since I talked about online backup and a break from economic news is probably not a bad thing.

An online backup service should have the following features.

  • Require minimal care and feeding. If you have to pay attention to it, it wont happen.
  • Keep previous versions of files that have changed (allows you to go back to previous version)
  • Keep copies of files that have been deleted.
  • Allows you to specify your own encryption key.
  • Can backup open files (e.g., Outlook).

I have been using Mozy for 3 years now and it has proven to be rock solid. I’ve done a few partial and complete recoveries with no problems. Once you have told it what areas to back-up, it just works with minimal intervention. 

Mozy does meet all of the above criteria with the following encryption caveat. When you start using Mozy you have the choice of using their encryption key or your own. The advantage of using theirs is that you don’t have to worry about losing it. The disadvantage obviously is that a rogue employee at Mozy could potentially get their key and look at your files. If this is a concern (i.e., you are backing up very sensitive data), then you should use your own encryption key which means no one else can decrypt those files (including Mozy) unless you give them the key. The last piece to note is that file names are accessible to Mozy even if you use your own encryption key. This allows them to provide partial restores without having to have your decryption key.

For those who want to look elsewhere, Lifehacker put together a nice summary of online backup services. Many of them have more advanced sharing capabilities than Mozy but most do not let you create your own encryption key. So it depends on what is important to you.