What is Offsite Backup Software?

S. Gonzales

Offsite backup software is software that allows a user to store and save computer data somewhere other than on his or her computer. The transfer of data to a separate location helps users safeguard their information from destruction or loss because of natural disasters, hardware failures, thefts or security breaches. Offsite backup software ensures that the data is kept safe in a second location so that the user can retrieve it at will.

Some offsite backup software contains features that lets users back up their data through email.
Some offsite backup software contains features that lets users back up their data through email.

The type of offsite backup software that a consumer elects to use can largely depend on his or her personal computing habits and needs. For example, some offsite backup software contains features that lets users back up their data through email. Other software can be geared toward users who use low-bandwidth connections or operate within small businesses or organizations. More advanced users might choose to use software that provides them with customizable options. Software like this can let a user increase the speed at which data is saved, manually lock or open files, configure synchronization and use command-line interface and batch file scripting.

When backing up files offsite, a user's data will be copied and transferred to a different location, so security is an issue for users who keep financial or private business records on their computers. For those who require extra security, special encryption methods often are employed. Encryption levels can vary, but it's generally understood that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security and 128-bit encryption are the minimum elements needed to protect data. Once an encryption key has been set, the owner of the data will be the only person with access to it, and he or she will need the key each time an attempt is made to retrieve the data. Encryption can be a viable method for security, provided that the offsite backup software does not contain any back doors that would enable third-parties to view a user's data.

Generally, users should try to find a software that can transfer files and easily recover them. The processes for both of these should be simple enough for the user to complete but difficult for third-parties to initiate. Users should also keep their budgets in mind, because some software will charge users per gigabyte, and others will charge a flat fee.

Users are encouraged to find suitable offsite backup software by taking advantage of free trials offered by software manufacturers. By signing up for free trials, users can become familiar with the software, perform test backups, determine the helpfulness of technical support, study report files and attempt to restore data. Any incompatibilities between the user and the software or between the user and the operating system can then come to light and will encourage the user to move on to another potentially suitable offsite backup program.

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