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Datto: Off-site backup made easy

A NAs device that automatically syncs its content to a remote server.

Recently in a blog about hard drives with built-in disaster protection, I mentioned that off-site backup could be time-consuming and inconvenient. I wasn't entirely right.

Datto NAS devices automatically sync data to a remote server for an off-site copy in case of disaster. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

The name is Dattoand it's the realization of an idea of a network-attached storage (NAS) device that automatically syncs its entire content to a remote server so that you have an off-site backup copy in case of disaster.

Datto's NAS devices come in two sizes: 100GB and 500GB, which cost $399 and $500, respectively. However, that's just for the devices; you'll have to also pay an annual fee for the backup service, which costs another $99 for the 100GB version and $249 for the 500GB version. The service includes the server storage space, 24-7 backup motoring, and rapid covering. When data loss occurs, Datto will recover and deliver it to you within 24 hours. In case of burglary, the NAS device can also be remotely commanded, presumably over the Internet, to permanently destroy the data it contains.

This is actually a great idea and it works. However, how well it works depends a lot on how fast your connection to the Internet is. It can take a very long time to upload GBs of data on a regular DSL connection, during which time, your other Internet services, such as e-mailing and browsing, will get adversely affected. Datto's NAS devices are designed to communicate with the server using AES + SSL key-based encryption, which is very secure, but also makes the upload speed a bit slower. After the initial full upload, it depends on how much data changes how often and how much data the NAS device syncs back to the server again.

So it looks as if off-site backup could no longer be inconvenient, but, still, it remains time-consuming and expensive.