The time is now for Mozy and cloud backup services

Here's my top three reasons why I'm considering a cloud offering to backup my most valuable data - my personal digital music and photo collections.The cloud won't fall off the desk and become damaged.

Here's my top three reasons why I'm considering a cloud offering to backup my most valuable data - my personal digital music and photo collections.

  • The cloud won't fall off the desk and become damaged.
  • Kids can't spill their juice on the cloud.
  • In case of fire, those files on the cloud will still be safe when the smoke clears.

I started thinking about this when I met with Steve Fairbanks, director of Product Management for Mozy, at the EMC World conference earlier this week. Mozy, which is now owned by EMC, is an online storage and backup-and-recovery product that's mostly targeting consumers but also attracting some interest from business customers.

The idea isn't new. Yahoo had a product called Briefcase (which has since folded) and AOL had a similar service called XDrive (also shuttered now). Those products were probably ahead of their time - before consumers had confidence in online services and well before the broadband pipelines were fat enough to handle big uploads.

But times have changed. These days, customers pay bills online and freely type in their credit card numbers on online shopping sites, confident in the security measures that are in place. They've also become comfortable with online - aka cloud - services such as Web mail and social media sites.

With EMC - known for its storage offerings - as the parent company behind Mozy, there's a level of comfort in knowing that it's not a startup that could potentially fold if it burns through all of its VC funding. There are competitors in this space, though - such as box.net, as well as up-and-comers that have some interesting approaches, such as dropbox.

It's not just music and photos, though. Important documents - from insurance policies to tax returns - can also be scanned and uploaded to a modern day safety deposit box on the Web. For Mozy, that opens the door wider to potential business customers as consumer products continue to influence business operations, just as it did for instant messaging services to social networks.

Mozy offers consumers 2 gigabytes of storage for free or unlimited storage for $4.95 per month. Business users have monthly, per-user and per-gig prices.