Leo Backup
Backup features review

How to choose a backup software?

What do you want from a backup solution? That it keeps your data safe and makes it smoothly, so it won't make you do some excess actions. What to choose and how to detect what is best for you?

First, let's indicate the necessary features that every backup software should have. So there are:

Feature Why you need it
Easy for any users to install That's nice if a software is getting installed in few clicks and doesn't require any special skills, devices and even the following restart.
Simple wizard for creating/restoring backups When the software gives you the proper prompts while you create your first backup item you can be sure that everything's under control.
Scheduled backups You cannot and shouldn't remember all your tasks to be backed up, even if there is a couple of it. So your backup software must perform backup automatically, according to your scheduled prescribed plan.
Full and incremental backups You must backup your data entirely, so that no piece would disappear. But then, to keep the space and to compare the files version it's better to perform the incremental backup that related only to the files that have changed since the last backup. Basically those changes are minor, and so incremental backup is much smaller and quicker than a full backup.
Compression You may need to compress your files to reduce the consumption of resources. Be careful to the compression mechanism built in your backup software: it should be a standard model, compatible with any systems, like ZIP. Otherwise there might be restoring problems.
Timestamps This feature is aimed to specify the date and time of creation or modification of your file that is being backed up, letting you avoid the data accumulation and mixed list of files and folders.
Encryption Encryption converts information into a different form that is unable to read by anyone who does not have the encryption code. Without an encryption option all your files are too vulnerable to others.
Password protection The same as above, the password is must. Basically all backup programs offer the password option but it would not be some extras to check it.
E-mail backup You can definitely backup your e-mail files as any other ones: to find it thought the explorer and to add them in the backup set. But please note that it's not that easy: too long path and too many file types. Stable backup software should automatically detect e-mail data and offer them for your backup right in the interface. This way you can swimmingly work with your e-mails.
My Documents, Favorites and Desktop backup Here is the same approach: "My document" folder, Favorites and Desktop should be easy accessible through the interface of your backup software, so that you might regularly quickly backup your documents, music and videos, internet bookmarks and your commonly used desktop shortcuts.
Restoring of individual files from a backup set Maybe you might need the whole folder to be restored, but potential to recover one particular file simplifies and comforts the "backup-recovery" process a lot.
Reporting results of backup Your backup solution should provide a backup verification: e-mail message announcing the operation result on the whole and the log file where you can see all the details.

It's the main features that must exist in backup software to provide you with suitable data backup and restore.

But there is always something better.

And there are few options that would make your backup more convenient, simple and safe:

Feature Why you need it
Unlimited backup set Some even good programs, nevertheless, offer just a couple of backup sets that you can create. Remember: there should be no restriction for your files volume. More you back up, more you're safe.
Pre and post backup processing Backup that happens according to your scheduler should be proceeding without any drawback. If some other process impedes your backup run there must be some troubles. Try to choose the backup program adjustable to other application by the "Pre/Pro" switch.
Open files backup Other variant to avoid any applications incompatibility is a shadow backup. You can work with files used by other application without its interruption.
Backup to a remote FTP server Not to include the network in the backup - it's yesterday. To achieve good offsite backup you do need the server as a backup destination, so find software that supports FTP...
Can backup on remote SFTP server ...and moreover you need SFTP (as well as SSL/TLS) since only the secure protocols might guarantee the safe file transferring and undamaged state of your data.
Registry backup The registry is a structured hierarchy of keys, subkeys and values. If your work is involved in periodical registry editing you must back it up. Incorrect edit of the registry may damage your system in earnest.
Service mode support To be not constrained by the system logoff/logon (provoking the stop of your backup process as well) it is recommended to search for the backup solution supporting the service mode. In this case all operations remain uninterrupted regardless of user logon/logoff.
See also: back up manager | back up automatic | remote backup | network backup | back up utility
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