Risky Business – Faster Backup is Better Backup

In our last blog post we compared the maximum upload speeds of some of the most popular online backup services. The results showed a distinct advantage in upload bandwidth to the pay-for-what-you-use services from Mozy and KeepVault vs. the ‘unlimited’ plans from iDrive and Carbonite (Carbonite took 575% longer to upload the same file as KeepVault).

But what does it mean to have a fast upload speed vs. a slow speed?

Risk Index

The whole point of offsite/online backup is to reduce the risk of data loss due to some unforeseen incident/disaster at your location. Now, consider this: during the time it takes to back-up a file, it is still unprotected, eg it is still at risk.  The larger the amount of data you have, and the slower your connection, the more at-risk your data.

We can express this as:

Risk Index = (amount of data to be protected x time to protect)/2

Visually, the Risk Index (Ri) is the area under a time-to-protect graph:

online backup risk index

The table below shows the Ri values for KeepVault, KeepVault Pro, Mozy, Carbonite and iDrive (based on the results of the earlier test).  Indices were normalized against the leading solution (KeepVault Pro).

Service Risk Index (Ri)
KeepVault Pro 1.0
KeepVault 1.4
Mozy 1.7
iDrive 5.0
Carbonite 7.1

iDrive is five (5) times more risky that KeepVault Pro, while Carbonite is seven (7) times more risky!

Reduce Risk Further – A Hybrid Approach

The Ri values above are only part of the story, it actually gets worse for iDrive and Carbonite. Neither service offers hybrid local and online backup.  KeepVault Pro, KeepVault, and Mozy all allow the user to backup data to both a local hard drive (KeepVault Pro also supports network drives like a NAS). The main advantage of a local backup is speed; your data will be protected quickly, preventing loss due to things like accidental data deletion and equipment failure on the protected device.

If we were to compare Ri values and factor in local protection then KeepVault, KeepVault Pro and Mozy would be tens, if not hundreds of times LESS risky.  KeepVault also has true Continuous Data Protection (CDP), files are protected the moment they change. Some services batch-up changed files and protect them when it’s convenient for THEM.


Don’t be deceived, just because you slapped down some $$ and purchased ‘unlimited backup’, doesn’t mean you are magically and instantly protected.  Speed of backup is vital in reducing your exposure to data loss. Next time, choose a hybrid backup solution with fast upload speeds and CDP; otherwise you’re risking the very files you want to protect.

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