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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Critical Data - A Safety Net

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    I felt like mentioning this cause maybe some Folks aren't realizing it.

    People might hear about Clouds Services & off-premise data storage; to most average users/consumers would mean little, if anything.

    Some people have more than 1 drive or partition in their machine & may or may not know why or what to do w/ it, in terms of data storage & or backing up files.

    Some people have external drives & maybe have auto functions doing sensible things @ regular intervals.

    Notice I said some people...

    Almost all people have data, files, documents, photos, images, that are important to them.

    Well, here's a safety net that may not occur to everyone though, it is available to everyone... this one is a bit new on the scene, needs no hardware and doesn't care if your gear does fail, blows up or suffers any catastrophic event... your data will, still, exist. Plus, bonus, it is FREE and offers, if I recall correctly, 250Gigs of storage.

    SkyDrive. Save or copy stuff to SkyDrive. Heck, I have Data drives in my PC and an External drive and I, still, put certain, high-priority material in SkyDrive.

    Just thought maybe deserved a mention/reminder.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew1903 View Post
    ... if I recall correctly, 250Gigs of storage.
    25 for old users, 7 for new users.

    Bruce

  3. #3
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    Ah, ok, Bruce... maybe I was thinking of SkyDrive Pro

    Although, one can purchase more than 7G, too.

    I'm 60... that mean 25G for me, as in Old User?

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  4. #4
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    25GB for free for those who grabbed SD before April 2012

    Skydrive Paid storage options (annual price)
    Free storage = 7 GB
    Add 20 GB = $10
    Add 50 GB = $25
    Add 100 GB = $50

    When you compare the other major Cloud Storage offerings, Skydrive is still more economical, and has the best options for storing, sharing, and retrieving files.

    Compare SkyDrive - Microsoft SkyDrive:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/skydrive/compare

  5. #5
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    A Flash Drive (also called a Thumb drive or Pen Drive) plugged permanently into a USB port on the back of the PC is handy and a lot more private than any off premises storage and easier to recover from too.

    I've been using this private storage technique for some time and I've written a simple batch file to simplify and automate my data storage.

    A simple one-liner is all it takes to backup everything within the "My Documents" folders.

    xcopy "C:\Documents and Settings\Alexi\My Documents\*.*" "M:\My Documents\" /S /Y /H /R /D

    The first time that the batch file is run, every file will be copied. The next time the batch file is run, only new files or files that have been updated will be copied. So my daily backups take only a few seconds.

    Besides the location being backed up in the above example, I've added more lines for other Hard Drive folders where there is data files that I want to keep backed up, like my saved email files and my Firefox bookmarks.

    Sharing files with another computer is no more complicated than pulling out the Flash Drive and taking it over to another PC and downloading the files. I try to keep at least one backup PC, just in case of a catastrophic CRASH of my main PC.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    A Flash Drive (also called a Thumb drive or Pen Drive) plugged permanently into a USB port on the back of the PC is handy and a lot more private than any off premises storage and easier to recover from too.
    If it's permanently plugged in, isn't it more susceptible to malware than cloud storage?

    Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    If it's permanently plugged in, isn't it more susceptible to malware than cloud storage?

    Bruce
    Not necessarily. Ideally, a backup drive should not be mounted, except when it's being used. If the firewall is locked down when the backup drive is mounted, then the backup drive is never exposed directly to the net. The only malware it will have is that which is on the primary drive, or the same that goes to the remote site.

    The one difference is that the remote site may scan the upload for malware. ;-)

  9. #8
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    We often use this example to point @ one big reason and motivation of off-premise storage... and this applies to both home & business.

    Not morbid but, realistic.

    IF, the building, blows up, burns down, floods, storms, etc or gets robbed, any catastrophic event that results in the physical loss on-premise storage... this is not a concern but, the ultimate valuable safeguard realized w/ OFF-premise (Cloud) data storage.

    No form of on-premise approach prevents such loss.

    In the days of tape backup, businesses would amass a backlog in a cabinet or somewhere in the office. And have to be told, "Don't leave them in the building". Can just be self-defeating. W/ Cloud, it, already, has left the building.

    Anyway, ponder it.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Cloud storage, from a decent provider, is backed up redundantly. It's not comparable to a very failure prone flash drive. I haven't used a flash drive that hasn't failed after some time, so I really wouldn't trust anything valuable to one.

    That said, I think SkyDrive could have a better client. I end up using SkyDrive for its excellent integration with Office, it is really very hard to beat, but for other stuff, I use Cubby (which also offers 7 GB free). The code from my dev work, I use yet another cloud service - Team Foundation Server. Multiple sources also mean multiple fail safes, in case disaster strucks.

  11. #10
    Bronze Lounger Drew1903's Avatar
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    Azure is very good, too.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  12. #11
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Malware? What malware?

    My AV program runs in real time, scanning every file that opens or is copied, anywhere in the PC.
    It's further backed up by Malware Bytes Pro and Trojan Hunter Pro, both running in real time.
    The worse thing that ever gets onto my PC is the occasional tracking cookie. No biggie!
    Spybot S&D takes care of those.

    So malware cannot get a foothold on my system. Also, I'm sitting behind three firewalls.

    Yes, Off-Premises is always the best for critical data. A fireproof vault, 20 miles away, works for me.

    In the cloud? Which cloud? Where is it? Who has access to it? Are you sure?
    Too many questions and too few answers for my taste.
    I'll keep my data files closer to home, Thank You!

    Doc
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    In the cloud? Which cloud? Where is it? Who has access to it? Are you sure?
    Too many questions and too few answers for my taste.
    Doc raises an excellent point that I think too few people bother to ask. When you upload something to the cloud somewhere, how private is it? Who else has access to it?

    Various cloud services will talk about how "secure" their clouds are, but it's typically unclear what that actually means. Often they're merely talking about encrypting the back/forth transmission from interception but not necessarily the storage itself, or if they encrypt the storage it's with a key they have so they can unencrypt it whenever they want--such as when the RIAA or MPAA comes calling. Or maybe they're only talking about how redundantly they backup their storage, or how safe their servers are from nuclear attack.

    Try uploading a copyrighted movie to G-Drive, and does anyone really believe Google won't flag that as a violation? Not that I'm advocating for that kind of activity, but the point is no one should believe their files are private. What about Skydrive or iCloud? Anyone think the prudes at Apple would let you get away with storing a private boudoir photo of your mistress?

    In contrast, Carbonite can be setup with a key only you have, and if you forget or lose your key they can't help you get your files back. How many other cloud services provide that level of privacy?

    Maybe some, but it's hard to tell. As Doc said, "too few answers." When these cloud services tout their features you have to try and read between the lines to figure out what they're protecting, and from whom.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
    Try uploading a copyrighted movie to G-Drive, and does anyone really believe Google won't flag that as a violation? Not that I'm advocating for that kind of activity, but the point is no one should believe their files are private. What about Skydrive or iCloud? Anyone think the prudes at Apple would let you get away with storing a private boudoir photo of your mistress?
    Microsoft does scan SkyDrive for nudity, and possibly other prohibited uses like purchase and sale of firearms or ammunition: Microsoft responds to SkyDrive privacy concerns

    Bruce

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    Many cloud based services are pretty clear about what they keep. LastPass, for example, keeps encrypted versions of your passwords. Cubby offers the concept of Cubby Locks, where your password is needed to access folders you choose to protect. If you lose your password, you can only use a recovery key to access those folders, that is specific to your account.

    If you are concerned about privacy, there are cloud services who provide clear policies and assurances. Can you believe them? Well, that's a decision you need to make.

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    It's an interesting debate, but one that statistics can help illuminate.

    How many files are stored in the major cloud-based hosting services? How many have leaked? That ratio should provide a degree of comfort.

    If it doesn't present reassurance, or, if you are concerned about possible disclosure to the authorities of any personal data, you can always encrypt it using something like a True Crypt Container.

    Nonetheless, the central theme that you have no control if you don't physically control, is still very true. You could backup to an encrypted cloud-based store which then loses the data and makes your backup scheme worthless. Though statistics suggest this is vannishingly rare, so is a major meteorite striking the earth - and look what happened to the dinosaurs.

    Personally and professionally I use cloud storage. I encrypt the data inside Truecrypt Container Files....Is that a meteorite I see in the sky?
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

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