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I have been looking online for solutions to backup our remote user base, and would like to get some additional opinions on products/solutions that you may have used.

Current Environment

We have 25-30 remote users who will very rarely if ever VPN back to our internal LAN. All users run Win XP, and have a home office with a broadband connection. Each user has roughly 5-10GB of data (Office docs, pictures, Outlook Archive PST's). The users do connect to our internal services (SharePoint, Exchange, Web Services) however these services are all transported over http(s). All equipment covered is part of our domain. We currently use disk mirroring/snapshot's on our servers, and Backup Exec for backup.

Solution Requirements

I'm looking for a solution that needs zero user intervention to backup the data. Solution can be on or off our network. If the data resides of our network, data must be encrypted before transit, and rest on the target machine in an encrypted format. Restore can involve someone from IT. Cost is a requirement, however I do not have a define cost requirement other than inexpensive.

My Favorite Thus Far

I have been testing using Duplicati with S3, and have been impressed thus far. I'm a bit concerned however with how the S3 secret key is stored (SQLLite DB in cleartext).

My Questions

  • What are your thoughts on how the S3 secret key is stored. Is this a legitimate concern?
  • What other services/procedures have you used to backup remote user data without using a VPN connection?

Thanks in advance!

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Why the reluctance for VPN? I never want people to be saving locally and if they do its their problem. – PHLiGHT Aug 18 '10 at 3:07
I cannot guarantee that remote individuals will be able to VPN in. From my point of view, I can't have a user loose data, and then tell them that it was their problem because they did not follow procedure when I know full well that there are solutions available that do not need a VPN. – danorth Aug 20 '10 at 13:00

From your description, CrashPlan Pro should fit you needs very nicely. It encrypts before transport and to the disk store, which can be wherever you want it. I've been backing up 60 portables and other machines for over 2 years, and it's passed every restore test I've given it, from planned tests to restoring a user's home directory following a drive failure.

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The software looks very interesting. How did you come about finalizing on using CrashPan in your environment. Did you look at any other options? – danorth Aug 16 '10 at 22:06

I started using the consumer version for backing up my personal machines, and found it to work so well that I became a customer of the Pro version.

We're a 98% Mac shop, and had been using Retrospect for backups- it was the standard for Mac backup for many, many years. Unfortunately, the product has not aged well. I still use it as a redundant layer on servers for its bare metal restore abilities (which CPP does lack), but CPP wins in every other regard.

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