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Online backup on a budget

Curtis Preston discusses reliable and affordable online backup solutions for businesses.

I'm working as a volunteer for a small, nonprofit organization. They have 12 computers, and a peer-to-peer LAN connecting them to each other and to the Internet. There are no servers in the environment, and the "network administrator" is the accountant who does this work in his spare time. All the computers are running Microsoft Windows XP operating system, and the computers are all less than three years old. I need help coming up with a data backup strategy. The organization has determined that from all computers combined, the data they need to back up is between 15 GB to 20 GB per week. They need to purchase a backup solution using a $500 grant they received to cover all the costs. What do you recommend?
Organizations of your size should use online backup companies and products such as Carbonite Inc., EMC Corp.'s Mozy and Seagate's i365. Also, use you grant to buy another XP system. If you search for one online, you can find several for under $300. Then, give it a hard drive big enough to hold all your data and share it out to all your computers, but don't store any data on the local systems. This will save you money every month, because these services charge you per computer you back up. If you check out the companies listed above, and do a search for " cloud backup" or "online backup," you'll find that these companies are surprisingly affordable, considerably more reliable than what you can do yourself, and the data will be offsite.
This was last published in July 2009

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