What cloud back-up service should I use?
June 9, 2024 6:41 AM   Subscribe

As we saw in my last AskMe, I really need to up my back-up game. What service should I use? I'm leaning towards iDrive unless you tell me different. I have two PCs and might want to do my parents PC too.

I will be running a small business and expect I will keep most of those files on OneDrive just to facilitate sharing with collaborators and clients. I would love it if a service could also back up OneDrive and my Google Photos. Also, should I consider on-site back-up and if so how? I know oneDrive and GooglePhotos are already the cloud. I just would like everything together if that's a possibility. Also, have you seen how google photos is editing people's old pictures? No thanks.

I now have unlimited super-fast internet so I can go nuts uploading anything I want. (my parents do not, but they don't have much data to back-up). I would like the back-up to happen automatically and obviously easy is good. I would like to not be changing companies in a year when they go under or change their plans or w hatever (as happened the last time I had back-up set up).

A few years ago I bought a RAID and had someone set it up for me. Then while re-arranging things I left it sideways and after a few months sideways it no longer works. Honestly this was way too complicated to set up and figure out and I'm inclined to just install and app and go, if I can.

I probably have about 1-2 TB if data between the 3 computers and then 700 GB of photos on google photos.

Oh, bonus points if I can somehow stream music from the drive onto my google or alexa or have it upload to apple music, but that's probably not a thing.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have not used iDrive, but Ars Technica has it as their pick, with a good discussion as to why.

I do use Backblaze (their runner-up), and have been pretty happy with it. Restoration is not easy, though, which seems to be where iDrive stands out in comparison. For the amount of data you would be storing, pricing comes out to be about the same for both services, so between the two, I would probably go with iDrive for the better restoration process.

I would also highly recommend something similar to the 3-2-1 strategy: 3 copies of your data, on 2 different mediums, with 1 backup being local. For Windows, if you care primarily about files and not the state of the system (that is, restoring application installations and licensing and such in the event of data loss), Bvckup2 pointed to a USB drive of sufficient size (>= 1.5x the amount of data you will be backing up should be a good size) is a good choice. It is fast, can do file verification to check for corruption, and is relatively inexpensive for its feature set. It can be scheduled or can watch and run a backup job as soon as a file has changed. It's something I use personally and professionally, and have never had a problem with—probably my favorite piece of Windows software for its focus and reliability.
posted by boisterousBluebird at 8:02 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Just for completeness (as I'm sure the recommendations above are good), I've been using Arq for many years and their new hosted service looks like it would be a good fit for your use case. It's a bit more techie oriented though. Pricing is competitive and multiple machines (up to 5) are included. Pricing
posted by doomsey at 8:20 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

We bought a NAS (network attached storage) instead of relying on the cloud and the ongoing costs. I am a Windows person and not a server admin, but the device itself runs Synology and is pretty easy to set up and maintain. It mounts like a drive on any PC in the house and can be set up to allow your parents access for their backups. It comes with some apps for media management, including photos and music. I haven't done much to see how well they work for streaming, because I use Plex. Plex is an option for streaming your own music (and videos) and it can be set up on a regular PC or on a server. I am not sure how the Plex apps are for alexa/google, so look into that.
posted by soelo at 9:04 AM on June 9

Seconding Backblaze - although I'll admit I've never needed to restore anything so I can't speak to the difficulty of that aspect.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:29 AM on June 9

Nth-ing backblaze.

Aside: on-site redundant array should get you robustness to individual drive failures and speedup sharing access across devices. It should mostly be set-going-and-leave-going, so you've got the hardware ready to be used, get someone to install a NAS appliance so you use it reliably.

Look for "DLNA Skills" for Alexa, and share the music with Samba so that the DLNA Skill can find the files and index the music, then respond to your verbal requests.
posted by k3ninho at 10:22 AM on June 9

If you have on-site backup, retrieval will be faster, and also, you can hang on to it if for some reason you decide to stop paying for off-site, or if the off-site service changes its terms and you want to move. It's also a "belt and braces" strategy - surprisingly often, your backups are bad, or don't include what you thought they included. You can also implement mixed strategies where you back up less offsite, just the essentials, and take a maximalist approach locally.

I would not wholly rely on local backup. It won't save you if there is a fire or a burglary. For business continuity, you want onsite and offsite together.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:28 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

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