Idea: use Hotmail Plus (Paid for extra 2gb of storage) as a secondary, online backup

Posted on 2004-08-22
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Here's the idea:

 I back up two important items (about 6 megs each) different apps, to one of two Zip
 cartridges just about every time I use each of the applications.
 I also periodically image the whole drive, verify the image works, then put the copied
 drive high on a shelf at my parent's house a few miles away.

 However, as extra insurace, I was thinking of sending myself a zipped copy of
 those two files to my Hotmail Plus account, which I just paid for.
  Nice safe, easily retrievable storage that I paid for and no one else has access

 Can anyone tell me what may be wrong with that idea?

Question by:lowplainsdrifter
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11866502
The major heartburn I get from this includes the following:

0) You're trusting a historically unreliable service from a mega-corp that couldn't care less about you as a backup archive

1) Your data is not secure in transit unless your E-Mail client support S/MIME or SMTP-TLS and the support extends form your ISP to Hotmail

2) You'll need to encrypt the ZIP files before you send them, as you have no control over them in transit or while sitting on HotMail's servers - is it really wise to encrypt a backup?

3) E-Mail was never designed as a file archive, nor is it highly dependable. It is a best-effort delivery system. If your data is so important you need to have yet another storage site, why would you want a Rube Goldberg contraption like this?

Basically, I don't see the point. You already have offsite backup storage. If your data is so critical that you need something more than what you're doing with the ZIP cartridges, then get another, more-reliable storage media.

Author Comment

ID: 11866533
   Well, I back up very frequently on the zips, but I really don't take them offsite.
    The only thing I do take offsite is the once every six month image I create of my whole hdd.
    Although my parents' house is very close to my home, it's in the oppsite direction of
    most of my clients and places where I shop for computer and other goods.  
    You describe my idea as a "Rube Goldberg Contraption" but really, what's so complicated
    here - I zip up the files, send them to myself, log onto Hotmail, and put them in a special
    I like the idea that I can very quickly do this with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks,
    and time day or night without leaving the premises.

    What do you think about a service like XDrive, or something similar???
    (My preference is still the Hotmail idea since I've paid for the extra storage
      for one year).

LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11866680
Well, you seem to have ignored the security and privacy implications in sending your critical business data across an insecure medium to be stored on servers over which you have absolutely no control, and where you have no recourse if your data is lost, stolen or mangled.

If your sole criteria is how easy this is for you to do, then go right ahead.

If the security and integrity of your data is more important to you than minimizing the number of mouse clicks, then I'd look into improving your locally-stored backups.
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Author Comment

ID: 11866702
 It's more about driving logistics (saving time and gas, since both mean money) than saving mouseclicks or keystrokes.
  Any other ideas on a fairly secure solution for online backups?
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 310 total points
ID: 11867203
"fairly secure solution for online backups"

That's the electronic equivalent of the jackalope. Look at the TOS for HotMail, XDrive or whatever. You'll doubtless find clauses stating they have absolutely no liability for losing your data, or covering your damages if its gets stolen; they can terminate your account at any time for any reason; etc. etc. In short, all very good business reasons not to make those places a place to store business-critical data.

If you want online backups, then find a company that specifically provides that service, and pay them for that specific service and the attendant guarantees that your account won't suddenly vanish when some spammer uses your E-Mail address as the return address on some piece of SPAM.

Frankly, I think you'd do as well to invest in a writable CD or even DVD drive and do your backups that way. That and a fireproof safe and you're more or less covered against all the likely disasters, short of a tornado making a direct hit or a nuclear bomb going off.

If you're working from home, you HAVE made sure you homeowner's insurance covers your home office, or that your business catastrophe insurance covers your loss of business data and records stored in your home, right?

Author Comment

ID: 11867211
 OK, you've given me some real food for thought.
  Thank you!
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 11874397
Glad I could help. Its my opinion that there are no really easy answers to this sort of question. You're doing a lot better than most people, tho ... you're *thinking* about this, and *before* some disaster strikes you.

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