WebHostingTalk, probably the largest web hosting community on the web, was recently attacked by a group of malicious hackers and had their whole database (including backups) destroyed.
The hacker(s) was able to destroy the offsite backup, onsite backup and the main database. It's a stark reminder how backing up your website is important but I also think it's quite worrying. I mean, if the largest hosting community on the web cannot stop hackers destroying everything then what chance do small website owners like myself have.
Smaller websites are perhaps slightly less likely to be attacked but there is still a chance it could happen. A few years ago my poker forums got attacked by Turkish hackers who found an exploit in a chat script which I had integrated with the site. They shut down the site, wrote ‘Fuck USA' and linked to their hacker community. I just wish they spent a few minutes on my site to read my about page and realise that I'm from Scotland!!
I have my own server and a backup hard drive which backs up all my sites every night. However, I know I need to make offsite backups more. This is something I think most webmasters are guilty of not doing. I just get out the habit of doing it because the sheer volume of data my sites take up. It just isn't practical to backup too often as it would literally take me a day of downloading to back all my sites up with my current connection.
I have already paid extra to have my own server backed up my hosting company but the attack on WHT shows that this clearly isn't enough. I don't mind paying a bit more for peace of mind, particularly when it comes to my livelihood.
When you make a living online, it's important that you take steps to protect your online portfolio. Which is why I am considering looking into an online service which does offline backups. Chris Beasley recommends Mozy but I'm gonna have a look at some alternatives and check out some reviews etc before I make my decision.
I'll let you know if I find an reliable affordable service for backing up files offline.