Thursday, October 7, 2010

Virtual document and data storage, part 1

All systems fail.

Which is why we all back up our data.

Yeah, OK, now that everyone has finished tittering --
While rooted to a desktop PC, surrounded by the bricks and mortar of my house, I felt comfortable with one form of back-up for my data, such as a usb (flash) drive.  

But now that I'm going rootless, I need two forms of back-up. This is because my laptop is more portable, thus subject to theft, being left on a bus, eaten by dingos, or falling into a lake. Or I might visit a place where a laptop will be more trouble than it's worth, and I won't even take it with me.

When my system fails, I want it to fail smartly. (This link goes to a September 2002, edge-of-your-seat article by Charles C. Mann, in the Atlantic Monthly, on system failure, terrorism, and Homeland Security.)

In addition to an external device (e.g. usb drive) that carries my little universe of data, I also need to have a web-based storage unit.

Security versus convenient access:

It's like sex. If I want to reduce the odds of getting an infection, there's a continuum of choice, including abstinence, having protected sex with a responsible partner, and just being stupid out there.

I'm opting for choice #2.

The protections I buy depend on the answers to these questions:
  • How much storage I need; 
  • How secure I need it to be; 
  • How accessible it needs to be; and 
  • How much I want to spend

'course, like any protection, buying it does no good unless I actually use it.

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