Storage forum

General discussion

Poll: Would you trust an online backup service with your data?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 19, 2010 2:16 AM PST
Disregarding the amount of data, would you trust an online backup service with your important data?

-- Absolutely. (Why are you so sure?)
-- I already have, I?m using online backup service now. (Which company do you use and why?)
-- Not sure yet, I'm still contemplating the services. (What?s holding you back?)
-- I?m a skeptic, but heck, I?m a skeptic even about any online transaction. (Please explain.)
-- Never. (Why not?)
Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Poll: Would you trust an online backup service with your data?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Poll: Would you trust an online backup service with your data?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
(NT) Never....and the reasons are too many to list
Collapse -
How about a list Steven? pretty please...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 19, 2010 2:26 AM PST

Only if you want to though. Grin

Collapse -
Ok....since you begged
by Steven Haninger / February 19, 2010 5:03 AM PST

1. Companies come and go. When they go, so might your data
2. Security. What data does one have worth keeping off site that is worth possibly being compromised. Even family photos might be valuable to some pervert. Have we found anything hacker proof yet?
3. Security again. Could it happen that your service provider could have their servers confiscated if illegal activity was being conducted or some jerk stored his child porn there? Naah..never in a million years. Wink "Hey, I need my financial data to do my taxes or I'm going to jail."... "'s in police custody for the next few years".
4. Security again. Someone other than myself will have access to my data no matter what I'm promised. That's not a happy thought.
5. Costs me money. I'd rather spend it on backup hardware.

Ok, short list for now...Basically, I'm not that trusting.

Collapse -
(NT) Thanks for sharing your list, Steve, valid points indeed!
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 19, 2010 7:56 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....since you begged
Collapse -
online bkup - no way
by tedtks / February 19, 2010 9:15 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....since you begged

I aggree - security is biggest issue. if the fbi gets hacked
why not some guy with a server selling space ? ?
if you want BIG security, copy to an external drive. or in my
case, I plug in a 4th HD - copy and unplug.
Copy this backup HD to another one and put in a bank security
box ! !
you also now have a place to put private papers and last I heard
it was tax deductable. (been a while since I had to pay taxes LOL )

Collapse -
backup services
by WRRHOADS55 / March 12, 2010 11:23 AM PST
In reply to: online bkup - no way

I am not a fan of backup services because they our not immune to hack /virus or loss of power and it lose some it i have fault lock it plugs in front and copys back up and i also have disk backup cant not depend on out side services and you might want to remmeber that info is like a bank it holds all the information on your computer and there alot of illegal hackers that breaking into there main computer and steal the info and they have enough info to hack your computer for your identity and will use it to steal your identity i would also recommend zone alarm security suite and when your online you can see them and talk to them but they dont see you i was on blog or somthing and they said we cant see you shut down defense so we can identfy you. it works great and i also have identity guard alerts me the second theres activity and the zone alarm security suite comes with it and one millon dollars if your identity is stolen hope and one more thing i have system care pro when you delete any kind of software i use my system care un installer it removes program and the it removes any trace and after the normal unistalled and then thje force unistalled finds 5 to 6 things they left behind and remove them from your computer and after that you must search for downloads and remove that install too, hope that help rockbo

Collapse -
Shot response
by Powerstream / February 19, 2010 10:12 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....since you begged

Service like Mozy allow you to encrypt your data with your own key. And for now and for sometime this is pretty hack proof (as long as you use a long password to generate the key). That will prevent them or the Feds from see your data.

""Hey, I need my financial data to do my taxes or I'm going to jail."... "'s in police custody for the next few years"."
If what's online is your only copy. That isn't a backup. You should have at least two more local copies on different drives.

"1. Companies come and go. When they go, so might your data"
When they go you just move on to the next company. Again you don't keep your only copies on line. Also there are a few companies that have been around for years and show no sign of going away.

Collapse -
Since the question was specifically asked about
by Steven Haninger / February 19, 2010 10:11 PM PST
In reply to: Shot response

using it as a backup, I answered that way. I agree that it's not smart to consider such as failsafe as a sole backup scheme. It's not backup but temporary storage no matter how you look at it. Secure doesn't only mean that someone can't look at your documents. It must also mean they cannot take them and dispose of them. Backup is, IMO, not a method but a plan with many contingencies. It's also a lot of work and only as good as a recovery plan. How many times does one hear that a hard drive has gone bad, everything is backed up but I don't know how to retrieve my data from backup.

Collapse -
My sentiments exactly..
by hrlaser / February 20, 2010 1:06 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....since you begged

Steven.. Thanks, you saved me a lot of typing Wink .. and said pretty much exactly what I would say about off-site Storage or backup of my data.. yes, I do store some stuff "in the cloud" (I HATE that term).. but it is on my own, Private FTP server, NOT with some commercial entity..

Tech companies get bought and sold more often than people change their underwear.. I would NEVER trust ANY of these third-party "back-up your computer on our servers" outfits with any of my data, my email, my photos, documents, or any other sensitive, personal files..

Put another way.. imagine you're going on a trip.. would you hand the key to your home to someone you don't know who says "Trust me, I'll take in the papers and mail, and water your plants and yadda yadda"? Hardly.. well, backing up your computer to some company's server, just because they have a "Privacy Policy" that tries to make you feel all warm and fuzzy and secure about it is no different.. they could be bought out tomorrow by some other outfit.. and who knows where your data is gonna end up, sniffed and snooped by who knows who for whatever reason, privacy policies notwithstanding.. as far as I'm concerned, they're written in pencil and are meaningless..

You can get a 1 tb external hard drive for about $75.00 these days..

So call me paranoid.. I've been called worse, but I'm not going to use any online back-up service over whom I have NO control for every reason you listed, and a bunch more I could think of..

Collapse -
using online backup
by lulukelley2004 / February 20, 2010 9:18 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....since you begged

I agree with Steven also! Companies come and go and my biggest reason was that I had carbonite pre-loaded onto my system when I purchased my laptop and everything was fine til my trial ran out! all of a sudden I got pop-up after pop-up reminding me to pay for this service or my data would be deleted! I bet the pop-up came up every 5 minutes and I thought god if I'm being aggravated by this service already what's going to happen if I purchase it! eeeeeeeeeks so I decided backing up with cd's was my best bet! I really felt uncomfortable even thinking someone else could view my personal information!

Collapse -
I almost agree, that is, never again.
by Michael Tsark / February 20, 2010 9:32 AM PST

I tried it once before only to find out the storage website was totally corrupt at stealing customers? original works by 1) Making sure the upload process and access to the uploads would continuously work faulty with numerous glitches from the get-go in order to frustrate paying customers into going away and never coming back, 2) Blocking access to any and all uploaded important files they possessed that could seemed of monetary value such as an unfinished draft of a book, 3) Hidden web bugs on every webpage of their website, 4) They also hacked into my computer and within two minutes of my starting a private email to an acquaintance the storage website emailed me to ask if I wanted to upload the email onto the their website, I ignored their email but wondered how in the heck could they know I had just started an email and they named the email by its subject title, then a few minutes later they emailed another request asking me again to upload that specific unfinished email to their storage website, 5) They refused to respond to over a dozen polite online website messages and emails asking for assistance to fix the problems particularly with the most important files I had uploaded onto their website, that is, until I finally tested them by sending them a short but extremely angry message and within two minutes they responded by saying they?re closing my account because of my use of profanity and then they blocked my access altogether while keeping the draft of my book which I had uploaded onto their website. Beware of ProtectMyWork,com for they are as corrupt as they come. In summary, unimportant files is okay but otherwise anything of importance is NOT SAFE when placed into the possessions of strangers online whom one does not know personally.
Tsark out.

Collapse -
by Steven Haninger / February 20, 2010 11:20 PM PST

As I mentioned above, why would anyone trust critical, sensitive or personal information to something like this. If someone wants to pay money for on line storage, it better be for stuff that's expendable and not something they might really need back if their other backup methods fail. Worst case scenario would be one's house destroyed or vandalized causing all local copies of data to be gone except that which was off site. I'd opt for some other off site backup method then some service I didn't know enough about to trust my life with them. Who knows where the servers and mirrors are...if they even exist. Could be in some country with a corrupt government that seizes the place and all the hardware in it. If it's that important, I'd buy space in a local bank vault. If it costs more, so what?

Collapse -
Correction: I had tried it twice before.
by Michael Tsark / February 21, 2010 3:11 AM PST
In reply to: Precisely

To be accurate, I just remembered I had actually tried two different storage websites a few years ago, one was a free service and the other was purchased. It was the free service which I had uploaded original draft songs to Supload,com but failed to get access to my uploads from the get-go and for several days I failed to get any response to help fix the glitches so then I tracked down the owner who at first ignored my email but days later after I sent it again I finally got an email response from his partner-in-crime who tried to twist everything around by changing the subject in typical criminal mentality fashion so then I accused them outright of stealing peoples? works and within a couple of hours I was hit with a very significant increase in spam. I?ve accused at least several different other criminal websites of various natures and nearly all of them ended up retaliating by significantly increasing my spam within hours as if right on cue. After Supload,com is when I decided to try a paying service only to discover ProtectMyWork,com was also corrupt at ignoring any requests to close the account and I had to file a formal complaint with numerous authoritative agencies before eventually getting a full refund. One of my last resort remedies is to file an Internet Fraudulent Transaction with my bank which has never failed in getting back my full refunds pronto because criminals want to avoid a criminal investigation by state and federal authoritative agencies who are connected with the bank. Unfortunately the Internet is a bottomless gold mine for stupid criminal enterprise. By ?stupid? I mean in the sense we all have only one chance at life to live and it?s rather stupid to go through life trying to make this world a worse place to live in and although there are experienced criminals I conclude there are no such things as intelligent criminals. I tested two online storage websites and learned to NEVER bother wasting anymore of my valuable time as I don?t believe any of them can be trusted because there?s simply way too much money to be made in criminal enterprise. After ten years of computer experience I?ve learned the hard way our Internet is infested with criminals much more than people normally suspect. When you said ?the list is too many to count? I knew exactly what you mean because it really is. Troubleshooting suspected criminal activity is sometimes like a part-time hobby for me and I concur no storage website can be trusted and my common sanity tells me they all give in to the enormous profit gained through criminal intent compared to legitimate means especially when it comes to selling private information, that is, why settle for hundreds honestly when thousands or more can be made criminally while the risk of getting caught is practically nil? If all followed your lead in this and NEVER trusted a storage website then the crime rate would surely drop to some degree.
Tsark out.

Collapse -
Trusting Online Data Backup Services.
by Fletcher2007 / February 22, 2010 2:16 AM PST

Personally I don't trust these services for two reasons.
1) Servers can be hacked & infected
2) In the long run it would be more economical & safer to purchase an external HDD with a fair amount of space (1.5 TBS) to back up your data yourself.
It's my opinion that these services are setup for the convenience factor that anything else

Collapse -
using an online backup program
by cbhillman1 / February 19, 2010 9:04 AM PST

I am sure there are good online backup programs. Why would anyone pay a monthly fee when it is not that difficult to just back up files to a CD or DVD??


Collapse -
Not for everyone but these are things to consider...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 19, 2010 9:12 AM PST

What if you have a few TBs of data? And what if that data was always changing? That's a lot of CD-R or DVD-Rs to manage and store...

And you can't just depend on DVDs or backup hard drives. What if your house burns down or gets flooded, etc...? I'm just thinking of worst case scenarios, but best to prepared than sorry.


Collapse -
TB of data ?
by Agamaras / February 20, 2010 3:03 PM PST

Well you are correct, that is a lot of data and if the data is always changing that to is difficult. You have to pick your method of madness if you have things important enough for storage. I use a tape drive on my own server at home that backs up my data on a daily basis (as it changes), however if my house burns down or gets flooded I'm lost again, but then again all my paper records are lost too if my fireproof safe doesn't work. If you have enough data that needs backup then MORE than one plan is a Necessity. I don't trust on line backups period. The only solution for me therefore is to take my data to a safe deposit box once a month or week.. Yea right. But anybody that needs it should really consider more than one method of storage.

Collapse -
Online Storage
by Sierra496 / February 19, 2010 9:13 AM PST

I have just one small input to all the pro's and con's about online storage. Yes, these people offer something needed for those who can't afford to take the time to place their records on a CD or DVD. I would believe that these organizations have put forth their efforts in an attempt to assist the average computer person like me. You know, I can click on the boxes or titles but doesn't care what happens as long as the right screen shows up.

No, my concern is this; with all the involvement of the government into people, places and you really think your stored online records are personal? Can any of your photos be misconstrued as something more than what they are? Are your documents coded with a business lingo that may indicate you are someone more than what you are?

Hey, the people that provide this service are not to blame! The government is getting their nose into everything they can under the guise of National Security. Think about you want any part of your personal life brought to light in front of your city, State or Country? Give me CD's or give me death!

Collapse -
by rfwarnock / February 19, 2010 9:27 AM PST

Have used sugarsync for some 6 months and am satisified. Took some time to upload 15gig on 5 computers but once up and running have had little trouble. There was a few days of problems experienced by all about 4 months ago but they resolved the issue and have been running fine since.

Collapse -
Never: data might be inaccessible when most needed
by Diluvium / February 19, 2010 10:22 AM PST

If the situation were to arise that I need to restore my system, chances are that my internet connection will not be functioning. What good then would be restoration data that are effectively beyond reach?

Collapse -
Never, Never, Never
by Wimpy6 / February 19, 2010 10:26 AM PST

I would think that the number one reason for not using an online backup service is as Steven said above: Companies come....companies go. When they does your data. With something of this importance, I will never trust anyone other than myself.....and even then I'm kinda leery of that. :))

Collapse -
Never, Never, Never.
by bigbear639 / February 20, 2010 2:00 AM PST
In reply to: Never, Never, Never

Years ago there was a website based in Canada, Photopoint I believe and they stored Photos for Free. Many Computer Users and some Internet Appliances like webtv, AOLTV etc had no way of storing them to a disc. The Company went Bankrupt and all the Photos were lost. They gave very little warning and to get your Photos saved to a disc Cost $50.00.

Other examples, Yahoo Photo, Epson Photo and a dozen others also decided to eliminate Photo Storage. Transfering Hundreds of Photos before the alloted time was a nightmare. as each Photo had to be downloaded or emailed to another site, some of those sites then also closed with no warning.

The best Backup is to add an extra Hard Drive either internal or external, you can then move all the files to other Computers. I use another inexpensive method by Backing Up all the Files etc to R/W CD or DVD's. Virtually all the last 3 Windows OS, XP, Vista and W7 have ways to automatically Back Up your Files. The first time may take several hours, but you can still use the Computer while it is copying files. W7 absolutely great at this.

When I add a new computer I simply copy all the programs, links and Favorites including Music, Photos and Games from the Back Up external HD or CD/DVD's I want.

Collapse -
I lost a ton of photos thanks to Sony..
by hrlaser / February 20, 2010 2:30 AM PST
In reply to: Never, Never, Never.

Sony ImageStation went away a couple of years ago.. I was using a VERY expesnive Mavica at the time, (saves to floppy discs).. and had uploaded MANY photo albums to Sony ImageStation, which was free.. I copied the floppies to a hard drive, or at least I thought I did, and then re-used the floppies..

Then Sony decided to pull the plug on ImageStation.. it was similar to Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, and lots of similar, current photo sharing / storing / printing sites..

Sony DID give a few weeks' warning that "we're shutting down Sony PhotoStation, so if you want to save your albums, log-in and download them"..

Well, as John Lennon said, just when you're making other plans, life gets in the way.. I put it off and put it off and forgot about it, and then, by the time I remembered their cut-off date, I logged in and poof, everything was gone.. Sony ImageStation had erased everything.. nothing was transferred to some other outfit.. it was just wiped clean.. I lost all those photos, since I had re-used the floppy discs, and couldn't find them.. they might still be on one of my old old computers, maybe, possibly, perhaps.. but if a company the size of Sony can just pull the plug and wipe out everything..

Sure, I'm partially to blame for procrastinating and not downloading my photo albums before they took PhotoStation out behind the barn and put a bullet through its head.. modern life is complicated enough what with everything one has to remember..

Why did they shut it down?.. Why didn't they hand off the photos to another, similar online service?.. They never explained, and I could never find out whom to contact at Sony to find out..

I thought ahha! Maybe's wayback machine has a copy of ImageStation.. well, it does and it doesn't.. it has archives of the site, but not user-uploaded photos or albums..

Collapse -
Never - Due to security and trusting my own backups
by ESUNintel / February 19, 2010 10:47 AM PST

I would not feel comfortable at all using an online backup service. For one, hackers know people are using these services to keep their data safe - so why should they worry on trying to hack into personal computers, when they can simply hack one site and gain data from hundreds or thousands of users. I work for a defense contractor, and it's pretty surprising and interesting to see the queries people run on our external customer-facing site, as well as on other sites like social networks to try and get to sensitive information. A backup service site would be like a dream come true for a hacker.

At home and my personal business, I recently purchased a Mac Mini server, and it does a great job at backing up all my information. I've recovered information from Time Machine backups before (twice this year already), and it's truly amazing how not even a single file is lost when recovering over time machine. I can't wait to experience the full power of OS X Server backups working together with Time machine. I'm not saying it's the best solution - someone can still steal an HDD from the rack mount or steal the Mac Mini server, but it's safer than online services. For those in a PC environment, I would highly suggest a Windows Home Server (WHS) to backup your precious data, you never know when someone might "borrow" your laptop for good (that brings about a different topic - encrypt your computer HDD's or SSD's and/or use LoJack for laptops), or when an HDD might fail.

Collapse -
Discipline Will Save Money
by Boogaloo / February 19, 2010 11:52 AM PST

With just a little discipline, it's more cost effective to backup yourself. For the price of an on-line service for a year, one can about acquire a USB hard drive for backup purposes. It helps if one has developed a discipline in how original files are stored. In my case, "My Documents" is the critical folder containing all priceless business documents. It gets backed up every weekend. Using it to restore files is a breeze and one doesn't have to be concerned about security over a public network.

A backup service offers one advantage; off-site storage of critical files in case of fire or theft. If this were a major concern for me, then I wouldn't hesitate to go for an on-line service.

One backup I highly recommend comes when one buys a new computer. Get a second hard-drive or other storage and IMMEDIATELY CLONE the original drive and store the backup. Most new internal drives come with cloning software. It creates a backup disk that can restore your operating system with ease. The utility restoration discs that came with my last desktop DO NOT WORK. A clone works every time.

Collapse -
Online backup data
by WJME / February 19, 2010 11:57 AM PST

My data is private. I do not trust strangers with my private data.

Collapse -
Give my data to strangers, and pay them to take it?
by vizenos / February 19, 2010 12:35 PM PST

Never. I wouldn't put that data on an external drive, then
take it with me, walk down the street, and hand it to the
third stranger I happened to encounter--so why do the cyberspace
equivalent, and hand over your data to someone you've never even
seen, and wouldn't know how to contact if he shut his website

Far smarter, and safer, to take your data and give it to a
randomly-selected homeless person. At least then you would
not only know what the guy holding your data looks like,
but also you know at least one place where you might find him,
if you have to.

And yes, the increased possibility that the government, or some
agency thereof, will seize your data is also something to think
about very seriously. Remember how easy it was for the government
to set up its "Carnivore" project, so that every email you send
or receive can be grabbed by the government with no due process
issues whatsoever?

Face it, people--if you have a firewall protecting your computer,
and/or security of whatever kind protecting your home network,
did you ever wonder WHY you thought those were good things to
have? Before you send all your data to strangers who have no
reason to care about you, why not just take down your home
network security, delete whatever firewalls you have, and put
a message to the whole world, on your Facebook page, telling
all the government and private-enterprise hackers in the world,
"Come and get it!"? That would be far cheaper than paying some
stranger to store your data on his servers, and not the smallest
bit more stupid, either.

Collapse -
Trust someone else?
by flrhcarr / February 19, 2010 2:00 PM PST

Seems to be the answer, & I agree. What if they lose it, than what? Oops, sorry? That's only one thing, what about someone (who you don't know) having access to your files?
No, the best thing is off site & redundant. A hard drive is the best as discs tend to lose their ability to hold data very well. Except maybe gold RAM discs or high end discs like that. The more important it is to you, the more you'll protect it.

Collapse -
Would you trust an online backup service with your data?
by kmcnulty / February 19, 2010 5:21 PM PST

No reason to "trust" such a service. One, I have no requirement for such a service particularly given the very affordable price of backup/removable storage devices. Storage devices the size of a PDA easily fit in my laptop bag (if I need to carry more data than my laptop can hold or require backup for critical data). And I just don't like the idea of my personal or professional data on a server I don't control. Call me old fashioned, but this idea just has no appeal to me whatsoever.

Collapse -
by SeaWolfCuracao / February 19, 2010 8:53 PM PST

I use an online service as well as a local hard drive. Online gives me the advantage of off site backup.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,224 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,453 discussions
Laptops 20,090 discussions
Security 30,722 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,937 discussions
Windows 10 1,295 discussions
Phones 16,252 discussions
Windows 7 7,684 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,215 discussions


Roku Streaming Stick 2016

Roku has the most apps, the simplest interface and the best search, making it CNET's favorite way to stream Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO and all the rest.