Berkeley Data Systems offers two online backup services: Mozy is free for personal use, and MozyPro for business backups. Online backup services such as MozyPro help businesses recover data after disaster strikes.

While quick and popular, RAID (redundant array of inexpensive, or independent, disks) and removable storage media backups do have weaknesses. When a major disaster strikes, such as a flood or fire, RAID doesn't preserve your data. And backups on removable storage are only as current as the last time you transported the media to a safe location.

Internet-based systems such as Mozy that transmit backups to remote data centres ensure that a copy of your valuable business information is safely tucked away many miles from your office.

Online backup services are convenient and can be configured to operate automatically. However, if your business has dozens of gigabytes of important data, a full backup can take days to complete, even over a broadband internet connection. Monthly service fees can be pricey, though preserving your vital business data is probably worth a substantial sum.

Backups for Personal and Business Use

As stated above, Berkeley Data Systems offers two online backup services: Mozy for personal use, and MozyPro for business backups.

The two backup services share many similarities, but there are some significant differences. MozyPro handles server backups for Microsoft Windows Server 2000 and 2003 in addition to the Windows Vista, XP and 2000 backups supported by the Mozy personal service.

With MozyPro businesses also have more support options, including access to telephone as well as standard email support.

MozyPro adds an intuitive administrative console that offers flexibility and control for managing backups from multiple PCs. You can assign or reassign backup licence keys to computers and change the allocation of the backup storage quota among the machines.

You can also select which files to back up and customise backup schedules.

You can even set up a custom third-level domain, so you can log in to your backup service at

How MozyPro works

When you sign up for an account, you determine the services you require. Each computer you wish to back up requires a licence ($3.95 per month - around £2), on top of which you must also pay for backup storage, which costs 50¢ per gigabyte per month, with a 2GB minimum.

You must download and install MozyPro's client software on each PC you wish to back up. This takes just a few minutes. Each PC requires a licence key, which the administrator can email to the user.

Then you determine which files should be backed up. MozyPro suggests some common data types, such as Intuit QuickBooks files, but you can change these as you wish. Note that the service is designed to back up business data - it's not suitable for an entire hard drive, including the operating system.

To keep your data secure during online transport, MozyPro automatically encrypts it before uploading. Optionally, you can assign your own private key to encrypt data stored on the MozyPro servers. If you do this, remember to keep your private key secure, because you won't be able to restore your data without it.

The wait

You can configure MozyPro to work only when your computer isn't overloaded (for example, when your processor is less than 70 percent busy) or only if it has been idle for a certain period (say, 30 minutes).

Once the parameters are set, you can pretty much forget about MozyPro. The default settings automatically update your backup every two hours. MozyPro operates in the background and notifies you of problems, such as an out-of-date backup.

The most frustrating part of using MozyPro, or any online backup service for that matter, is the long wait that follows after you set it up. Depending upon the amount of data that you wish to back up and the speed of your broadband connection, you may wait for days or even weeks until your first backup is complete.