Recently, I have been scanning and shredding financial documents dating back to 2000. This has freed me of several file cabinet drawers worth of space, which is good. I am not sure that I will ever need DSL, electricity, and itemized credit card and cellphone bills going back 8 years, but it felt wrong to just shred them without keeping at least a digital backup.
Currently, documents are scanned onto the hard drive of a G5 iMac. They then get backed up to the TeraStation, which uses RAID mirroring to ensure that a good copy is always on two of its internal disks (as well as the Mac.) Because the data exists on three drives, this is an excellent insurance policy against hard drive crashes. This is not the greatest policy against fire, flood, or theft because everything resides in the same room of the house.
So my question to you, dear Lazyweb, is what should I be using for an online backup? I have several requirements:
1. It needs to work on a Mac. I don’t care whether it is a GUI or a shell script, but it must run on a Mac.
2. The data needs to be encrypted as it is sent out to the online backup and decrypted when it returns. It should never be sitting as “plain text” on a remote machine because this is perfect identity theft source material.
3. It needs to be incremental. The financial data itself is relatively small right now, but I will likely want to scale up this solution to other files, too.
4. Cheap-to-free is best. Bonus points if it works with Dreamhost (or any random shell account) because I am already a customer. There’s no way I’m paying $99/year for dot-Mac.
5. It needs to be reliable. I’ve seen a few hacky dot-Mac replacements that require you to recompile a special Apache server or patch your OS or whatever–things that will probably break when the OS gets bug fixes. I want a real solution that uses proper APIs, not funny hacks that I have to worry about whether or not they will break in the not-too-distant future.
Here are two backup systems I have previously (or are currently) using that fail to meet some requirements:
1. rsync over ssh. I use rsync to back up things around the house. It’s great, it’s incremental, it can be tunneled over SSH, and can be put on an automated schedule. It does not (to the best of my knowledge) store things in an encrypted format.
2. WebDAV. I have on occasion used Dreamhost’s WebDAV to mount a network drive and copy stuff to and from it, much like you would with an iDisk from dot-Mac. This can be done pretty easy from a shell script (by using some AppleScript glue to have the shell script tell Finder to mount and unmount the drive.) It’s convenient and even lets you get to the files from a web browser. Like rsync, it also does not encrypt things on the server side. I supposed I could maybe create a *.DMG encrypted disk image to store on the WebDAV disk and rsync to that, but something tells me that the efficiency of mounting an encrypted DMG over a broadband network share will be molasses-slow.
I have looked a little bit at Mozy, but their buzzword-heavy website makes it hard to figure out if this is what I want. Plus, I’d much prefer a free Open Source solution, as I feel I could trust it more than some company that gives me a black box app and says “trust us; everything’s encrypted.”