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Along for the Ride

Storing your business data online means it's never lost and it's always on hand.

Rodizio Grill founder Ivan Utrera was on a two-month buying trip to Brazil early this year when his laptop failed. The loss, however, proved only minor for the 46-year-old restaurateur because he saves documents, photographs, accounting records and other information for his $8 million-plus business on the internet-accessible hard drives of Mozy.

"I simply bought a new computer and recreated the files," says the Brazil native, who splits his time between restaurants in Denver and Salt Lake City and takes frequent buying trips south of the border.

Utrera hasn't always been so lucky--he signed up for Mozy's service after suffering more than one critical failure related to his company's internal network server. Now Mozy collects the restaurants' point-of-sale information and tracks all the company's records, such as employee hours. Utrera chose the MozyPro version for several reasons, including its powerful 448-bit data encryption, which makes it tougher for would-be corporate spies to hack into his information. "We needed something that was reliable," says Utrera. "And I also liked that they had a corporate package, whereas other services expect you to use their personal edition."

MozyPro starts at $3.95 per month per computer, plus 50 cents per gigabyte of information. While MozyPro didn't work with Macs as of press time, the company is testing this support. MozyHome, its consumer option, costs $4.95 per month for unlimited storage space and does support the Mac platform.

By comparison, Carbonite Online Backup costs $50 per year for unlimited backup. The service is distinguished by the fact that it will back up your files incrementally when you're connected to the internet so you don't have to think about it, says David Friend, chairman and CEO. Carbonite's latest version also offers the ability to store several different dated versions of a file. That way, if you accidentally save something or overwrite a file, you can recover an earlier version. Carbonite is adding and testing new support options for Macs, which it expects to add this summer. Two other well-reviewed backup options are EVault Small Business Edition and IBackup from Pro Softnet.

The drawback to online backup services is that they aren't meant to act as virtual central repositories for working files. That's why entrepreneur Jeremy Hanks has annual subscriptions for both MozyPro, which he uses as a permanent backup, and Apple's .Mac service. The latter gives him a place where he can stash presentations, working files and e-mail that he needs to update, share or work on while traveling. The service, which starts at $99 per year, also lets him share files between his desktop and notebook computers.

"I don't put everything there," says Hanks, the 33-year-old founder of Doba, an $8.7 million business in Orem, Utah, that offers an online service for managing inventory. "It's pretty manual, but I do know the files are safe and, if necessary, other people can get to them, too."

In the same vein, BeInSync offers a service that combines data backup with file sharing capabilities. One plus is that BeInSync Business permits you to set up shared storage for workgroups and comes with a central management console for keeping tabs on files in multiple accounts. BeInSync has even been configured to work with the Cruzer Titanium Plus USB flash drive from SanDisk. When you insert the drive into an internet-connected computer, information stored on it will automatically be added to your BeInSync account. Pricing starts at $10 per user per month.

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This article was originally published in the June 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Along for the Ride.

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