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Backup to FTP: pros and cons

One of the most secure ways of storing data that was backed up for an emergency case is to store it in a remote location so that it won't be damaged in any case, whether it's a virus on your computer, a burglary or some natural disaster like flood or earthquake. For this purpose, you can physically move your data storage device away, but it's much more convenient to make it using broadband internet access, as it becomes more and more widespread nowadays. Many people from around the Globe have secured their important information and files using backup to FTP (File Transfer Protocol) feature of their backup software. Let's review the advantages of this method:

  • Your data is stored offsite.
    Perhaps it's the most important feature of remote backup. You can choose a server located in another city, another country or even another continent to guarantee the safety of your information.
  • No user intervention is required.
    There is no need to think about disk space, portable storage devices, compared to backup to DVD, CD - you can have as much space on the server as you need and the whole backup process can be done automatically.
  • Remote Backup Services benefits.
    Lot's of them are commercially available and offer 24 hours a day access and technical support, professionally secured servers that are located in underground shelters and many other options. For example, they can ship you a DVD with your data if you can't get it via internet.
  • Global access to your data.
    You can download your backup files to any PC in any region of the Globe in some minutes or hours. The only thing needed is internet access.

However, remote server backup has some disadvantages. These include:

  • Local storage devices are faster.
    Almost in any case it will take less time to create a backup to hard drive than to send it to the server. But, on the other side, uploading and downloading usually needs less system resources.
  • Dependency on your internet connection.
    If you need to back up large amounts of data (multimedia content, company databases, etc.) than, probably, backup software won't function properly without a broadband. But if you only want to back up some documents, emails or pictures than ISDN (128kbit/s) or sometimes even dial-up connection (56kbit/s) may be enough.
  • Privacy aspects.
    There is a small possibility that your data will be accessed by hands of a third party. However, this problem can be solved, for example, with the usage of SFTP that transfers data over SSH (Secure Shell) protocol and guarantees it's security.

All things considered, the benefits overwhelm disadvantages for most of the consumers of this service, both private and commercial. In addition, the whole process will become automatic if you use specialized backup software, which you can set up to work the way you want to, so that you won't suffer from the consequences of any accident with your PC or your office network. Of course, it's still necessary to use an antivirus and a firewall, but backup to ftp can become your insurance from completely unexpected circumstances.

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