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Are VPNs and cloud backups nobrainers?

Posted on 2014-10-11
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I’m a PC consultant. Many of my customers are extremely computer challenged. Others are simply too busy to properly take care of their computers. For years I’ve tried to come up with simple solutions that will protect them and allow them to easily use their computers.

I’ve tried to find reasonable backup solutions for them.   It seems to me that cloud backups have become so user friendly and inexpensive (as little as $50/year) that if someone has reasonable upload speed, they should really consider using them.  I’m aware of certain drawbacks.  There is the possibility of being hacked in the cloud or even losing all your backups.  But I’m not talking about absolute fail-safe here.  My customers are not government employees and their data is valuable but not critical.  That being the case it seems that online backups have become no-brainers for these people.  Opinions?

Secondly I've just began to research VPNs for pay like IPVanish, Overplay, etc. They seem to be priced reasonably.  There's even one, Private Internet Access, that nets out to about $35 a year.  Again I’m wondering if these are no-brainers.  I’ve read reviews, but don’t have enough experience to judge the degree of additional security they would give my customers. I don’t know their drawbacks.  I don’t know if they can be trusted.  I don’t know if I could just set them up for my customers and forget about them.  I do set up things like HTTPS Everywhere and make sure they have strong antivirus solutions.  But if I thought that these services provided my customers much greater security for as little as $35/year, I’d put it on all their computers.  So what are the gotchas with these commercial VPNs?  Are they much better than the free VPNs I’ve tried. (Generally you get what you pay for.)  Are they worth putting on all my clients computers?   Opinions?

Thanks,
Al
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Question by:alanlsilverman
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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40374993
"You get what you pay for" is never more true than in the much hyped cloud based solutions to problems.

The feedback I have from clients and consultants to clients is that cloud storage systems can be expensive (because clients ALWAYS want to keep more than they say); live access to files can be slow; and backups of the (more than you can anticipate) data is also slow and expensive.

So it can work, but expectations must be kept in check. If clients understand expectations, they should be happy.

In my experience, free VPN is never as good as paid VPN. Why?  Client goes to a site (hotel) where double NAT arrangements are common and they cannot get to there data.

Truly you get what you pay for.
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by:alanlsilverman
ID: 40375076
In terms of increased security for the average non-technical user working mostly from home, for anywhere from $35 to $70/year do you think VPNs might be a no-brainer?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40375091
Most VPN (by its very nature) is anywhere from decently secure to very secure.

Microsoft PPTP VPN has improved, but it was less secure overall than IPsec which I prefer. Check what kind of VPN with the supplier.

For small data volumes and only home use, it is probably OK.
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by:alanlsilverman
ID: 40377021
Thanks,
Al
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40377075
Thank you, Al, and I was happy to help.
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