NAS for dummies 2
September 14, 2006 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Network Attached Storage for dummies 2 [a follow-up to this post]: If you backup your home computers to a device that's also sitting in your home, do you then take additional backups off site? And what about encryption? (Thinking of fire, or if the babysitter walks out of the house with the NAS drive in her backpack.)

(1) Do folks backup the backup? I'd welcome any thoughts, methods, recommendations.
(2) Can any of the NAS devices do encryption on the fly? Would be nice if stolen data remained inaccessible.
posted by Dave 9 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tape backups moved off-site are the safest, but this isn't cheap.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 AM on September 14, 2006

I NAS daily.

I do not backup the NAS entirely but a few times a year I burn CDs of Things I Really Don't Want To Lose (mostly digiphotos and client files). Those go into my bank's safe deposit box.

I disconnect and hide the NAS when we go on trips. I probably should take it to my bank, but I'm usually too busy getting the pets to their caretakers.
posted by jamaro at 11:53 AM on September 14, 2006

I had the same concerns... fire and flood scares me in the completeness of the damage that can happen.

I backup the notebooks in the house (Linux and Mac) to a Linux server in the bedroom via rsync every day.

That then backs up via rsync to an attached external drive every day.

That external is backed up once a week to an offsite server using rsync - currently this is just a friend's box, but within the week it'll end up on a commercial rsync storage provider (currently looking at exavault and among others)

Yes, I am a bit paranoid about losing pics and professional docs that I have accomulated over the past years. Heck, I have > 30GB of photos that cannot be replaced. I also know that me remembering to snapshot everything a few times a year wouldn't happen - I'll forget - this way it's all automatic for both myself and the wife.
I could probably skip the sync to the bedroom server and go direct to the external drive, but this way I have redundancy.

This link was very helpful in helping me set it all up.
posted by niteHawk at 12:34 PM on September 14, 2006

check out

You can do incremental backups to a secure and safe off-site location for only a few dollars a month. Much easier than remembering to carry tapes around or something. This won't work the greatest if you're contantly getting new media files, movies, etc, but is great for everyday files.
posted by gus at 12:42 PM on September 14, 2006

Send a CD/DVD by mail to a relative every once in a while.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:43 PM on September 14, 2006

^ That's my approach. Except it goes to a friend. And is encrypted.
posted by blag at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2006

And I use Amazon S3 + JungleDisk for ad hoc remote backups. Still need a way to automate that...
posted by blag at 4:46 PM on September 14, 2006

Response by poster: BlazeP: I’m sure you’re right about tapes but, cost aside, I’m not ready to confront that degree of technical sophistication.
Jamaro/AmbroseC: Yes, maybe a couple of CDs just for documents. I need a hard drive to hold the >35GBs of music rips.
niteH/gus: Thanks for the links. I’m not a Linux guy but I do want to look into rsync for Windows.
blag: How do you encrypt? What’s your routine? And are you happy w/ JungleDisk? How many GBs do you routinely transfer?

Thanks all.
posted by Dave 9 at 7:21 PM on September 14, 2006 will give you 2GB remote/automatic backups for free for your important documents and files. 5GB is like $2/month.

They encrypt it on your computer, but I encrypt it myself first using TrueCrypt (

How? Just for personal stuff, I have a scheduled task backup items that are important to me in an encrypted volume. Then, Mozy copies the volume to their servers overnight. They might go out of business or something someday so I also do the CD thing periodically.

If you need to do 35gb then I think it'll take forever on Mozy and you have to pay more. You absolutely have to have a backup offsite if that stuff's important to you.

At our office we use a tape drive. I don't think it takes much technical know-how. If you're going to backup 35gb that's probably your best bet.
posted by powpow at 7:35 PM on September 14, 2006

Response by poster: powpow, thanks. To backup to a TrueCrypt volume, don't you first have to run TrueCrypt and enter a password to open the volume? And then close the volume before it can be copied to Mozy? How can that be automated? Thanks.
posted by Dave 9 at 5:07 AM on September 15, 2006

I keep the volume open overnight (or whenever the computer is running and I don't feel like dismounting it) so I can write to it. Then Mozy copies the file.

Example: My "Y Drive" is a file called "securebackups.dat". Overnight I use Windows backup utility to save to this Y drive. Mozy then copies the file. Disclosure: I've never restored, so maybe it really doesn't work....

If you wanted to be safe you could mount and dismount in your script:
1:00 AM-- Mount the Y Drive with a command line script which you can run from AutoHotkey, VBS, maybe Task Scheduler, or whatever (password security doesn't matter as much here because you're encrypting it for being stolen from Mozy, not somebody who picks up your computer. but it should be long and varied and probably not one you use for other stuff. you can have the password in your mount command)

"C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe" /q /auto /m rm /letter Z /v "C:\Documents and Settings\MYNAME\My Documents\ACT\a4aDB_2.db"

1:02 AM-- Run the backup utility as normal

1:30 AM-- Dismount the drive with commandline

"C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe" /dismount z

1:32 AM-- Mozy backs up

now that i think about it that's probably the better way to do it...
posted by powpow at 12:12 PM on September 15, 2006

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