What's the best online backup for a lawyer using a Mac?
August 2, 2007 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I've been asked to find the best online backup solution for a small law firm that uses Macs and PCs. Security is obviously an issue. Any personal experience with Corevault, rsync.net, or Amerivault is particularly welcome.

(I have checked the previous questions on AskMe and I've googled a fair bit, but most of the questions are pretty old and/or non-law specific, and I was hoping for some personal experience from trusty mefites.)

The main goals: online, preferably automated backup, once a day; extremely secure (encrypted by user before sending); compatible with both Mac and PC, relatively inexpensive (currently looking at about 3-5 gb); and easy for the non-technical to use.
I've researched CoreVault (endorsed by the Oklahoma Bar), Amerivault (endorsed by NY Bar), and rsync.net (endorsed by lots of people, but no bar associations I can find). Unfortunately my tech knowledge, especially about Macs, fails me when it comes to the ins and outs of online data storage.
I'm particularly concerned about choosing a company that has a long-running track record, and not getting suckered by any fly-by-nights. I've heard gushing things about Mozy, but have also heard that they're slow. I'm also concerned about the security/reliability of a free site when it comes to something this critical.
posted by katemonster to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Everything you've heard about Mozy is true. It's really easy to setup and use, but they are a little slow...the first few backups take a little while, but after that it's fine.

You would probably want to to get one of their paid plans, which gives you unlimited storage space for $5 per month per computer--very reasonable. Given what you say above about having both Macs and PCs and placing a premium on security (they use 448 bit client side encryption) I don't think your going to find anything that will fit your needs as well.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 1:53 PM on August 2, 2007

I wouldn't unnecesarily constrain myself by searching only for 'bar approved' backup solutions. Or is there something fundamentally different in the way your files must be backed up?

Amazon's S3 is another one that you can research, but you'd have to encrypt it yourself beforehand (and due to their recent start time, you might classify them as too-new-to-be-assured-of-longevity).

Depending on the amount of money you're willing to spend and how important this data is to your company, I'd say hire a consultant to setup (and possibly maintain) an off site backup solution with a cheap provider somewhere. That way, it would be as easy as you like, and you would have much more control over your data.
posted by philomathoholic at 1:56 PM on August 2, 2007

Response by poster: No, I'm definitely not limited to only bar-approved solutions -- it's just that I know they meet a certain minimum standard of security that satisfies the legal requirements. I would imagine that there are lots of non-officially-endorsed solutions that are just as secure, if not more so, but I figured the endorsed ones were a good place to start.
Unfortunately, a consultant is almost certainly out of the question because of the money involved. So simplicity in setup and design is very desirable -- it sounds like Mozy may indeed be the answer, but I'm still curious to hear any input about it or any of the others.
posted by katemonster at 2:01 PM on August 2, 2007

One vote against Mozy. I tried it and did a test restore with it. They handed me back a file full of garbage. I emailed support and they sent back a canned response.

Whatever you choose, you must do test restores and do them regularly.
posted by chairface at 2:10 PM on August 2, 2007

I hopped on board with Mozy the last time this topic came up, and I've been pretty happy. The first backup of 50+ gigs took a week or so, but after that it's been silent and has always had a recent backup waiting for me when I checked it.

As far as restores on mozy, I did a test restore, and they sent back a .dmg file which mounted and had my files in it. As well, I emailed their tech support on a Sunday and had an answer the next day.

As far as test restores go, DO THEM! There is no worse feeling than realizing you just lost 3 weeks of data because something wasn't working right. It only takes a few seconds to check that everything is going smooth, and it's worth it.
posted by cschneid at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2007

I signed up with Mozy (Mac) a while ago and never had much luck - I retried my 8 gig backup over and over for about 5 weeks before giving up and cancelling. Also, it didn't handle network-stored files, which is most of my data.
posted by pocams at 2:42 PM on August 2, 2007

You might want to take a look at BackupRight Pro, our service meets all of your criteria. We have many law firms and independent practice attorneys that have been using our service for quite some time.

We have client software that works on Windows and Mac OS. Performs scheduled backups at any (or multiple) scheduled times per day.

It also uses 256-Bit AES encryption before sending your data, which is compressed to save you bandwidth and storage space.

You also receive email notifications on the success (or failure) of your daily backups, which can alert you to any potential problems or missed backups.

With our Pro service you can also backup multiple machines in one account, they can be desktops or servers, Windows or Mac. This really simplifies administration for offices with multiple machines.

Also, restores are available instantly, no waiting before you can download.

We offer a free 30 day trial account, that doesn't require a credit card to get setup. I would suggest getting setup with a trial and seeing if it will work for you. If you like our service, here is a coupon code for a 15% discount: "metafilter" (very original).
posted by wslavin at 12:25 AM on August 3, 2007

Mozy also has a pro account. From what they told me (grain of salt) there's none of the throttling that goes on with the cheap version.

Restored files are however sent back as DMG files and you may find it difficult to open these on PC's
posted by seanyboy at 2:29 AM on August 3, 2007

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