Midwest Data Center is committed to providing automatic, secure, and remote backup service for your business computers.
Midwest Data Center
What files should I backup?
Focus on the data that is essential for your home or business. Commercial software that can be reloaded from an existing or newly purchased copy does not need to be backed up. It is important to back up the files and data that you created using those commercial software packages: documents, accounting and tax records, customer information, photos, presentations, sales brochures, databases and any files that provide settings or preferences for those software packages. [Back to Top]
Should I back up EVERYTHING?
The short answer is no. You need a plan for recovering everything, but that plan may or may not include a backup. For example, if you needed to replace your commercial software, replacement copies can be readily purchased so most folks will elect to not include commercial software in their remote backup set. There are also many files that are the equivalent of scratch pads – they are needed when created, but shortly become useless, so these do not need to be backed up. We do advise backing up files that preserve changes in preferences, etc.
However the DATA that you use in your business cannot be replaced easily – if it can be replaced at all! Files containing important, business-specific information like customer names, accounts receivable, payroll, tax data and sales presentations need to be securely backed up to a remote location protect your business from irreplaceable loss. So it is critical to determine which files or file types would be difficult or impossible to replace if something happened to (1) your computer, (2) your office or (3) your region of the country. [Back to Top]
Hey, those records are sensitive. Is it risky to send them over the Internet?
All files are securely encrypted ON YOUR COMPUTER using a special code key only for you. After they are encrypted, they are sent over the Internet. The contents can not be viewed while they are being transported and can not be viewed while they are stored on the Zipup Backup servers at Midwest Data Center. [Back to Top]
How do I know that it is working?
After each backup, you will receive an email that confirms the action that was taken and shows your space utilization. You can also check your Zipup Backup Manager at any time to see exactly which files were backed up on any date. [Back to Top]
Why is Zipup Backup better than copying my files to another (portable) hard drive, or zip drive?
Three reasons: automatic, secure, and remote.
By its nature, backing up to a portable hard drive is relatively inexpensive (after the initial investment in backup media), but either the backup media is stored conveniently nearby or it must be brought to and from the site for backup and restore. Typically, just a straight copy is made without regard to file type, retention needs or security of the data.
Zipup Backup, in contrast, automatically backs up your files after they are securely encrypted on your computer, and copies are stored on a server at a site that is remote from the computer that is backed up. You can specify that different file types or different directories can have different backup frequencies and different backup modes. [Back to Top]
Why is Zipup Backup better than using FTP to copy my files to another computer?
FTP is a simple protocol which does not offer same benefits as Zipup Backup. Files backed up with Zipup Backup are securely encrypted on your computer and then safely stored in well maintained Linux servers in the Midwest Data Center. Linux servers have been recognized as being extremely resistant to potential malware like viruses. Our servers are also protected against hardware failures with RAID 5, a duplication scheme that enables the data on a failed disk to be fully restored when the failed hardware is replaced. [Back to Top]
Why is Zipup Backup better than putting the files on a CD or tape?
Portable media are just that – portable. They are prone to loss either on purpose or by accident. If they are removed from the site after receiving copies of backed up files, it may be a challenge to locate them when a file needs to be restored.
Although tape has been the backup method of choice for many years, it has been shown recently that disk-based backup methods like Zipup Backup have a much higher recovery rate and recoveries are faster and more complete than from tape. Moreover, a single file or directory can easily be recovered from Zipup Backup, but it is more difficult to do this from tape.
Backup to tape or CD also involves some manual steps (to insert and remove the media at least) and may not always be completed when scheduled. These steps are automatic with Zipup Backup. [Back to Top]
What is a “client” anyway?
The short answer is that a “client”, also called the Zipup Backup Manager, is a little software program that runs on your computer that interacts with a “server” to deliver a service to you. The Zipup Backup client periodically selects files for backup, prepares these files by encrypting and compressing them, and sends these files to the Zipup Backup server at Midwest Data Center. You will use the Zipup Backup Manager to specify how you want the client to do these backups.
The term comes from the “client-server” architecture used by this backup solution. [Back to Top]
What if I have a problem with my service?
Midwest Data Center sales representatives are experienced technicians and can troubleshoot any backup problems that may occur. We are here to support you and will do our best to correct the problem. We understand that you are purchasing remote backup service that should back up and restore as advertised and want you to be pleased with your service. [Back to Top]
Will my backups be encrypted so no one can read my files?
Before they leave your computer, all backups are encrypted with
448 bit encryption before they are sent to Midwest Data Center. This allows for an Encryption Code Key of up to 56 characters. [Back to Top]
How can I determine how much space I will need?
The easiest way to check this is to download and install our Zipup Backup software. You have 10 days to try it with no cost to you. One of the options is to estimate the size of the backup.
As a next best guess, you can add up the sizes of some of the more prominent files or folders that you expect to back up. Don’t forget to include the sizes of your databases and or exchange mailboxes. (To find the size of a folder, right-click on the folder name in Windows Explorer and open Properties.) Another option is to use the search function on particular file types (e.g., *.doc, *.xls) and add these up.
There are some features that you may wish to use that will increase the space required. For example, if you want to save multiple versions of certain documents or certain directories, this will take more space. [Back to Top]
When should I schedule my backup sets to back up?
The easiest plan is to leave your computer connected to the Internet at night and schedule the backup to occur after the close of business. This is when the backup will have the least impact on your work since Zipup Backup, like all backup programs, does use a lot of processing power.
Others prefer to just let it run in the background while they work and specify smaller backup sets.
Mobile laptop users may want to take advantage of the “run now” option to backup whenever they are connected to the Internet and then have a scheduled backup to occur when the laptop is most likely to be docked. [Back to Top]
Can I backup files from a Mac or from a Unix or Linux file system?
Any file type can be backed up. The Zipup Backup client must be installed on a PC with a Windows operating system, but if the files can be mapped to a drive on that PC, then they can be backed up with Zipup Backup. [Back to Top]
Can I backup my operating system?
Yes -- and no. If you make an image of your operating system so that it is an ordinary file, then it can be backed up just like any file. However, restoring this kind of file is a bit tricky (and exactly how it is restored depends on the reason that the restore is needed). Contact us if you are interested in doing this so that we can be sure that this will meet your needs. [Back to Top]
How many Zipup Backup Managers do I need for my office?
We recommend that each laptop have its own Zipup Backup software, even if it can be mapped to another computer with the Zipup Backup Manager. This way it can be backed up from any location where it has connection to the Internet.
The desktop computers can share a copy of the Zipup Backup Manager –IF– the computers can have their folders “mapped” to the computer with the Zipup Backup Manager.
Tell us about your office configuration and we can recommend the right number of Managers for you. We can set up your account so that each Zipup Backup Manager in your office has its own storage space quota -or- you can purchase a pool of gigabytes (GB) that all can use.
Note: physically the storage space is separate for each Zipup Backup Manager and only the Manager that backed up up a file can restore that file. However, from an accounting point of view, we can pool your storage space to give you a better price for your service. [Back to Top]
Even Sql Server databases and Exchange (email) databases can be backed up, without closing them!
For files or databases that have exceptions when they are left open, we advise that you plan to make a copy of the file/database using the “copy” utility of the software that has created the file or database and then back up that copy. We can assist you in setting this up so that these steps automatically occur as part of the backup. [Back to Top]
Full, incremental, differential or bit backup -- what’s the difference?
Full backups are the easiest to explain, but the least used option. For each file in the backup set, every part of the file on your computer is sent to the Zipup Backup servers at the Midwest Data Center each time a backup is scheduled, whether they have changed or not.
Note: This sounds like a desirable choice until you realize that this will very quickly fill up your space quota with identical copies of the same file!
Incremental backups back up only those files that have changed since your last backup. After they are backed up, the files will be marked (using the “archive bit”) on your computer as having been backed up. This is the default and most widely used way to back up your files.
Differential backups back up only those files that have changed since your last backup just like incremental. But the files are not marked as being backed up. This can be used when both remote backup and tape backup are part of your file protection strategy.
Bit backup is especially useful for very large files or databases that change frequently, but the areas of changes are relatively small compared the overall size of the file. Bit backup first makes a local copy of each file in the backup set. This copy is saved on your computer, so there must be adequate space for this to occur. Then this copy is backed up to the Zipup Backup servers. In each backup period, the copy on your computer is compared to the working copy. Any parts (“bits”) that have changed are backed up. Periodically, the entire file is copied and backed up again and subsequent bit backups are based on this new copy. [Back to Top]
How can I restore a file?
Restoring a file is as easy as selecting a file to open. On the Zipup Backup Manager menu, select “Restore”. Select the date and backup set from which you wish to restore. Select your file and it will be transported back to your computer. Once there, it is uncompressed and unencrypted and restored to you. Unlike other types of backup storage systems that are based on tapes or CDs, there are no requests or service tickets to fill out and there is no need to wait 24 hours for a technician to locate your backup and restore it for you. You have complete control over the recovery of your files.
You can restore all the files within a particular backup set as they were backed up on a particular date, or a particular file within any backup. [Back to Top]
How can I restore all the backed up files?
Selection criteria are available to help you select which files to restore. To restore all the backed up files, select the “Only Most Recent” option to identify which files to restore. [Back to Top]
How can I restore all the backed up files to a new computer?
If you are restoring your files to a new computer (for example, because the original computer was lost, damaged or had a hardware failure, or you are upgrading), you will first need to download and install a new copy of the Zipup Backup client from our web site.
IMPORTANT: You will need the encryption code key that you received or selected when you first installed the client on the new computer in order to have access to those files.
Note: if you are using this capability, it is very, very important to only have one copy of the client set up with the same encryption code key and user name at any one time. Having more than one copy will jeopardize the integrity of the backups and the ability to recover the resulting files is NOT guaranteed. Let us know if you need to do this (or if you want to try it) and we will provide additional guidance. [Back to Top]
How often can I access my data?
With Midwest Data Center you can access and restore your stored data files 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as often as you like. [Back to Top]
How do I set up my service?
There are four steps to setting up your Zipup Backup remote backup service. Detailed instructions are available from the Downloads menu. There is also a Quick Start Guide to help you set up your backup sets. [Back to Top]
What if I have trouble installing?
We are here to support you. Email support is always free but we can support you by phone, via remote login or, in some cases, in person. Sometimes we do need to charge a fee, but if we do, you will always know in advance how much it will cost you.
Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We strive to keep our costs -- and your fees -- low, so at this time, our phone is staff only for limited hours. Voice mail messages can be left at any time.
If you need to speak to us, please let us know.[Back to Top]
How do I schedule my backups?
The Zipup Backup Manager has a form very similar to Microsoft's Windows Explorer®. You can select particular files, folders or types of files (by the file extension) using a green checkmark . You can specify that certain files, folders or types of files should NOT be backed up by using a red X . You may also want to review the Zipup Backup User's Manual or our flyer called the Anatomy of a Backup. [Back to Top]
How long will it take to set up?
Assuming that you have broadband (DSL or cable) Internet access, the download and installation steps should take about ½ hour. The test step just takes a minute or two.
Setting up a backup set can be very simple if you accept all the defaults and back up all files that meet those criteria, but initial backup may take many hours. [Back to Top]
Can I have more than one backup set? Why would I want to do this?
Yes! There are several reasons why more than one backup set can be scheduled.
First, backups are usually processed in groups of 200-250 files. If these files are unusually large (or equivalently, not easily compressed like photos), processing a backup set can take a while. It may be desirable to specify a backup set with more typical file types to backup first, and then schedule the set with very large files to follow it to make sure that all your files are backed up within the backup interval.
Second, it may be that the backup strategy for different file types is different. Some file types may be backed up each night; others may be backed up less frequently. The type of backup may also be different. You can specify full backup, incremental backup, differential backup or bitbackup for each backup set. [Back to Top]
What if my PC/laptop does not have access to the Internet during the scheduled backup time?
The Zipup Backup Manager will continue to try to backup again later until the end of the backup window (typically about 6 hours) has been reached. Subsequent backups will be attempted as scheduled or queued up behind any that are still waiting.
You can also use the Run Now option to initiate a manual backup. [Back to Top]
What if my first backup takes a really long time?
The first backup probably WILL take a long time. It may take more than one backup interval to complete. The speed depends, in part, in the “upload” speed of your broadband connection. However it will complete and subsequent backups are substantially shorter.
We can also use a portable hard drive for the initial backup. Once the backup is complete, the files are then moved to the Midwest Data Center servers and subsequent backups will complete over the Internet. [Back to Top]
Can you set it up for me?
Yes! Installation and initial setup of backup sets is $149. Additional Managers installed at the same location or re-installed when a server is refreshed is typically $75. We are here to support you. See also the answer to Install.2 [Back to Top]
What do I get for the free trial?
For 10 days you have use of the Zipup Backup Manager and the associated server resources at Midwest Data Center. This is the actual product used for the service. We recommend that you take the time to download the Zipup Backup software and install it. The registration is completely handled from within the downloaded software. Set up a backup set or two, back up a few files – or all of them!
We’ll send you an email message with payment information. If you want to continue your service, then pay. If not, then your account will automatically be disabled on the server after 10 days. [Back to Top]
What happens at the end of the free trial period?
If you have made arrangements to pay for your service at the end of the 10 trial, then your service will continue at the end of the trial for the period contracted. If not, then the account will be disabled.
Any backed up files will be kept for a short while, but then discarded. In either case, your data files are secure. All backed up files are encrypted on your computer, so they are not readable as they are transported over the Internet and they are not readable while stored on the Midwest Data Center backup servers. The files are only readable by a computer that has the Zipup Backup Manager installed and registered in your name with YOUR unique encryption code key.
Shortly before the end of the contracted period, you will receive an invoice for continuing the service. [Back to Top]
To pay monthly, payment must be set up using a credit card, debt card or electronic check which will be automatically charged each month. We process credit cards through PayPal. [Back to Top]
What if I need more space than I have purchased?
After each backup, you will receive an email confirmation and it will indicate what percentage of your space is being used, so you can monitor this.
If you exceed the storage you have purchased, we will send you an email with two options: to reduce your space or purchase the next level of service. [Back to Top]
What type of operating system (OS) does your storage server use?
The Midwest Data Center storage servers use the Linux OS because Linux has been demonstrated to be highly resistant to viruses and computer malware. [Back to Top]
What if the Internet service connection is down?
Midwest Data Center has dual connectivity. If one Internet service provider is down we switch to the next one. (Your Internet service must also be up in order to backup or restore.) [Back to Top]
Midwest Data Center's Zipup Backup remote backup service
Frequently Asked Questions