After writing a long post on the various ways of local backup, I saw a better solution in the Paul Stamatiou's post about online backup to Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk. S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online storage web service offered by Amazon.com.
As a disclaimer, I am not against local backup tools and I am planning to continue using at least 3 of them in the future:
1. External hard drive, 500 GB
2. Portable hard drive, 150 GB
3. USB drive, 4 GB
However, an encrypted backup on Amazon S3 looks like a tempting option and is probably the best solution for online backup, at least for now. The service is competitively priced at 15 cents per GB per month. Jungle Disk, which provides the interface to Amazon S3, costs $ 20 (one-time purchase).
I tried this backup solution during the weekend and it works OK. The best way to grasp the concept is to watch the explanatory screencasts from the JungleDisk website.
Initially, I was thinking about using Jungle Disk's virtual drive as just another drive (or a folder) but I gave it up in favor of running backups of a few folders:
1. Scanned documents (in PDF format) and other various files as .doc, .xls, .ppt. The size is about 2 GB.
2. Photos from Picasa, 7 GB.
3. Other various files, such as mp3 and video.
The initial upload took 1 day and 17 hours over a cable connection (upload speed 520 kbits/sec) but the subsequent backup is incremental and it takes much shorter time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Jungle Disk? How can you trust a company with such name?
Yes, I know, it does not sound serious but it goes nicely with Amazon, rain forest, etc. In addition, the company does not have access to your data, which is encrypted before it leaves your computer, and the access to Amazon S3 should be available even if Jungle Disk goes bankrupt.
Can anybody read your online files, tax returns, etc.?
The files are encrypted before they leave your computer and are protected via a password and encryption keys.
What are your thoughts about online backup? Which service do you use?
How do you backup your computer files?
How to backup your medical blog?
Why I Started Using Amazon S3. PaulStamatiou.com.
How I Use Amazon S3. PaulStamatiou.com.
Image source: Wikipedia.
Amazon S3 Simple Storage Service - Everything You Wanted to Know. Digital Inspiration.
Amazon S3 Buckets Described in Plain English. Digital Inspiration.
Bulletproof Backup Strategies. EfficientMD, 08/2008.
Thoughts on Dropbox from PaulStamatiou.com, 09/2008.
S3 Browser - Freeware client for Amazon S3. User Interface for Amazon S3 Service.
A Round-up of GUI Clients for Amazon S3 Storage & CloudFront. Digital Inspiration, 2009.
Web storage: Amazon S3 is nearly 80% more expensive than Amazon Cloud Drive http://goo.gl/wlgP7