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#1
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I have decided that it would be a good idea to institute an online backup system for my fledgling full-time practice. I looked at Carbonite, which charges $24 per month, ie $288 per year. A Google search reveals Acronis as an alternative. They appear to have been around for a decent length of time. Their business plan starts at $99 per year, which is a significant saving for a one-person new business. However, when I see such a large price difference, I ask myself why. Cheaper now is not always cheaper in the long run. Finding a comparison of the two is difficult without being able to judge the motivations of the article authors.

So here is my situation. I have a Windows 7 machine (currently) in a serviced office with a dedicated wired internet connection. I have no server. I back up nightly to a Seagate external drive using the provided software, but I am unconvinced it is backing up everything I need it to. Hence my desire for a more comprehensive backup.

So I suppose my question is whether the cheaper service with Acronis would be a reasonable option for me to pursue.
 

#2
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Not sure how much space you need but we use a cloud server like drop box and don’t need back ups.

Works great... info is available 24/7 from anywhere.
 

#3
KRHCO  
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I use idrive.com
 

#4
makbo  
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SumwunLost wrote:I have a Windows 7 machine (currently) [...] but I am unconvinced it is backing up everything I need it to.

Two big problems here: 1) Windows 7 end of support in half a year.

2) "backing up everything I need" -- if you never test your backup via a recovery, you are pretty much wasting your time and money.

Suggestion: buy a new Windows 10 machine, and as part of the upgrade, turn your old machine off and restore to the new machine only using your latest backup - do not copy a single thing from the old machine, including any installation files for software programs you use. That will tell you what if anything is not well-configured. This is far more important than whether your backup is local or using online storage.

I have done this type of procedure more than once myself. In fact, on several of the multi-week long road trips I have taken over the last decade, I made sure that if my notebook computer was stolen, or if my bags were stolen from my motel room, or even if my car was stolen, I could if needed go buy a brand new computer and get it fully configured to my current needs just using what I had with me. The only time my system would fail would be if I was carjacked during the day, as that would be the only time when everything would all be in one place (my car). If I spent the time and money to put and regularly update a few hundred GBs of backup on an online storage service, I could even avoid that problem, but I still prefer my local, physical backup media, so I don't do that.
 

#5
TaxCut  
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Also look into Boxcryptor to encrypt Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive.. etc.. works pretty good.
 

#6
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Southpark, my whole hard disk stands at about 83GB at the moment. Fingers crossed, this will grow a wee bit next week when my client base increases by about 2,500%. How do you feel about Dropbox's security? Is Dropbox Professional different to Dropbox personal?

KRHCO, is there anything you don't like about idrive.com? Their website seems to be reasonably transparent in giving information. How user-friendly is it? Their pricing seems to be comparable with Acronis but they also seem to offer more storage, unless that is part of the introductory deal for one year.

Thanks for the responses. It is good to hear from people who think like me and speak English rather than BASIC or whatever.
 

#7
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Makbo, I should clarify that I suspect the Seagate software is not backing up what I need, not that the Windows 7 machine is lacking. The software does not seem to allow for configuration to any great extent.

I will be replacing this fine old computer in time for tax season. I have my eye on a Lenovo laptop at a local computer store, with Windows 10 Pro. Thanks for the tip about not copying files across. With computers for personal use, I have done that for years, but have wondered how much garbage I have transferred.

TaxCut, I will look at Boxcryptor. Thanks for the tip.
 

#8
KRHCO  
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SumwunLost wrote:KRHCO, is there anything you don't like about idrive.com? Their website seems to be reasonably transparent in giving information. How user-friendly is it? Their pricing seems to be comparable with Acronis but they also seem to offer more storage, unless that is part of the introductory deal for one year.


I’ve been using Idrive for about ten years. It has improved. You use to be able to backup to an external HD or thumb drive. I am now using Office365. I recently learned that the MS backups are not so great. Idrive in the business version will backup Office365 but it get a little expensive.

I thin Acronis might be better than Idrive in that respect. When I get back from vacation, I am going to try Acronis.

No matter what you choose, always do a test restore.
 

#9
CathysTaxes  
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I'm very small and use individual Carbonite for $99 a year.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 

#10
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Cathy, do you think you have obligations under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and does the individual Carbonite allow you to meet those obligations?
 

#11
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SumwunLost wrote:Southpark, my whole hard disk stands at about 83GB at the moment. Fingers crossed, this will grow a wee bit next week when my client base increases by about 2,500%. How do you feel about Dropbox's security? Is Dropbox Professional different to Dropbox personal?

KRHCO, is there anything you don't like about idrive.com? Their website seems to be reasonably transparent in giving information. How user-friendly is it? Their pricing seems to be comparable with Acronis but they also seem to offer more storage, unless that is part of the introductory deal for one year.

Thanks for the responses. It is good to hear from people who think like me and speak English rather than BASIC or whatever.


I have been assured by my IT provider, a TOP company, that Dropbox security is beyond reproach. I don't use Dropbox for my tax practice BUT we use it fir different "stuff". Dropbox is now a public company with the highest 64 bit security.....
 

#12
CathysTaxes  
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SumwunLost wrote:Cathy, do you think you have obligations under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and does the individual Carbonite allow you to meet those obligations?

I haven't checked into that. I'm very small and the computer probably has more images than client data. One PC is being backed up and honestly when I started using them I didn't go out of my way to pick individual. It is an individual computer being backed up and not a network.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 

#13
makbo  
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SumwunLost wrote:Makbo, I should clarify that I suspect the Seagate software is not backing up what I need, not that the Windows 7 machine is lacking.

My point was, your Windows 7 machine is lacking, or soon will be.

SumwunLost wrote:Cathy, do you think you have obligations under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

All U.S. tax pros are subject to GLB.

southparkcpa wrote:I have been assured by my IT provider, a TOP company, that Dropbox security is beyond reproach.

Hacked Dropbox login data of 68 million users is now for sale on the dark Web (from 2016, when new data about 2012 breach was finally disclosed)

If it happened once, it can happen again.

The point is, no organization is "beyond reproach" when it comes to security, and the fact that your IT provider would so blithely make that statement shows they are pretty naive at best, if not downright deceitful. People who want to take their heads out of the sand (or someplace darker and more personal) should try reading something like Schneier on Security newsletter for a few months.
 

#14
cp_acwt  
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makbo:

What are your recommendations for security/encryption/backup/restore?
 

#15
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makbo wrote:
SumwunLost wrote:Makbo, I should clarify that I suspect the Seagate software is not backing up what I need, not that the Windows 7 machine is lacking.

My point was, your Windows 7 machine is lacking, or soon will be.

SumwunLost wrote:Cathy, do you think you have obligations under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

All U.S. tax pros are subject to GLB.

southparkcpa wrote:I have been assured by my IT provider, a TOP company, that Dropbox security is beyond reproach.

Hacked Dropbox login data of 68 million users is now for sale on the dark Web (from 2016, when new data about 2012 breach was finally disclosed)

If it happened once, it can happen again.

The point is, no organization is "beyond reproach" when it comes to security, and the fact that your IT provider would so blithely make that statement shows they are pretty naive at best, if not downright deceitful. People who want to take their heads out of the sand (or someplace darker and more personal) should try reading something like Schneier on Security newsletter for a few months.


Everything is suspect.... I would bet the IRS servers are more vulnerable than dropbox for example. But yes, there no such thing as a sure thing.
 

#16
makbo  
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southparkcpa wrote:Everything is suspect.... I would bet the IRS servers are more vulnerable than dropbox for example. But yes, there no such thing as a sure thing.

Yes -- remember, someone once said the Titanic was unsinkable, too. About the only realistic, practical thing you can do is get cyber insurance.

I don't think IRS servers are connected to the open internet, but they might be more vulnerable to "front door" attacks, where someone already has already stolen the credentials. Remember, ordinary taxpayers don't have IRS logins, and the customer count for IRS massively dwarfs the customer count for Dropbox, so it stands to reason it is easier to fake who you are to the IRS.

And then, there are some tax pros who actively fight against increased IRS security summit measures with their little mouse tingler devices to circumvent vendor security features.

cp_acwt wrote:makbo:
What are your recommendations for security/encryption/backup/restore?

I've posted them all before, but in a nutshell:

  • For encryption, I use Windows 10 Bitlocker and WinZip Pro.
  • For "security", I follow good practices (such as applying updates regularly, not sharing or duplicating passwords, using different email addresses with different accounts, and sometimes I even use MFA). I use Kaspersky Internet Security suite for online protection (have been for many years, before that I used Zone Alarm since the late 20th century before the Israelis took it over and ruined it). I also don't read my email online.
  • For backup/restore, I follow a diversity of practices, but none using online storage, since I don't want to be dependent on having a high speed internet connection (and as a side benefit, I don't have to pay extra for it). I have a notebook computer which is a regularly updated "clone" of my desktop (meaning, it can do all of the same things, with current data); I have several external backup drives, located anywhere from five feet to four thousand miles away from my desktop; and I backup my data files locally every 24 hours, or more often manually if I've done a lot of work I don't ever want to have to repeat.
    I test a full restore every time I get a new computer (every 2-3 years), and every so often do a random test of whether or not I can successfully view/extract an older version of one of my key data files

If I had employees, some of this would be more complicated and expensive.
 

#17
makbo  
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Also, don't neglect this, a recent discussion right in this forum:

Deceased Tax Preparer

What happens to your DropBox when you're deceased and somehow your password is unavailable (or legally, even if it is? what are DropBox's terms and conditions for deceased subscribers? No fair looking if you are a subscriber but don't already know!!)

At least my heirs will be able to get their hands on several of my recent backups without getting someone else's approval first!
 

#18
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Hilton Head Island, SC
I have had a lot of issues with Carbonite. At one point it was implemented for a company I worked for, and I have had a number of clients that use it. Chronic issues, IMO, and I would not touch it with a ten foot pole.

I have had great luck with CrashPlan Pro. I have been using it for at least 12 years.

And as good practice dictates, CrashPlan is only one type of backup. I have about four backup systems in place, including local rotating backups on HDDs, one of which is always kept in a large safe.
 


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