Online Data Backup. What’s the Best System?

Last summer my Dell hard drive crashed out of the blue – if you ever had this happen to you, you know what a nightmare it can be. I had been making manual backups every month or so, but losing even several weeks worth of data meant I lost some important pictures and client files.

Right after something like that happens you get into “I won’t let this happen again” mode and try to get some good data backup solutions working. Which I did at the time, but I never found anything that was really hassle-free. I used elephant drive for a little while, but I didn’t like logging into the program at every startup so I ended up uninstalling it.

Up until now I’ve been using SyncToy (free for Windows) to do semi-automated backups to an external drive, but I decided I need something remote, secure, automated, cheap, and reliable in case the office spontaneously combusts taking my external hard drive with it.

Last month my girlfriend’s laptop was stolen from my car. Earlier this month, the same thing happened to Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. So I decided I really need to beef up my backup plans. Techcrunch recently posted that the Mozy’s online data backup service (now available for macs) won a contract with GE.

Mozy Online Data BackupGood enough for General Electric, good enough for me. At $5/month Mozy offers unlimited data storage (for home users) so what you can store is only limited by your bandwidth. I downloaded the application a little while ago and it’s in the process of backing up 30GB, which it said will take 2 weeks (so as not to hog your bandwidth). I’ll post a review of Mozy later if it turns out to be everything it says it is. At $5 per month, I hope it’s an easy insurance policy.

Does anyone else have any suggestions or experience with good online data backup systems? Something remote, automated, cheap, reliable, hassle-free and as secure as possible.