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My friend runs 2 osteopath clinics and works between the 2 locations with another osteopath (they rotate which days they work in each clinic). A laptop stays at each clinic, and until recently were simply using a USB stick to backup all their electronic files. When either went to the other clinic they would manually "sync" their files across the 2 computers (using the USB stick).

After the London riots they realised they need to be smarter (one clinic was ransacked, laptop stolen).

When they first asked me I suggested an online backup service like Mozy, but now I understand they don't just want online backups, but to also use the service to keep the files on both laptops in sync so they can access the same file in either location.

What services/software are available? I'm not sure Mozy will work. Has anyone else setup something similar?

Additional Info:

It needs to be idiot-proof (both users are technophobes), and considering the confidentiality of a lot of the data - security is paramount. Last night's comments are raising that encryption is a must (I just assumed that solutions like Mozy would be encrypted and secure).

They're not looking for free - although "enterprise" is probably out of their league.

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Are the files that will be synced in use at the same time? – music2myear Dec 8 '11 at 17:20
There are programs that will backup your files automatically. The real concern is that if the files contain Personal Identification Information or Personal Medicial Information a good majority of those solutions cannot be used. What ever solution you do use, the information must be encrypted, otherwise you will be visiting your friend in jail if the files are leaked. – Ramhound Dec 8 '11 at 18:57
The files being synced won't be used at the same time. – Dan Dec 9 '11 at 9:27

Since the dropbox + truecrypt ideas got a lot of grief... you probably should give us some additional insight on what you consider acceptable under your company's policies & local regulations.

If you already have a central server, you can always make use of file replication tools like synctoy or unison to automatically keep files in sync by scheduling a task to sync every 10 or 30 minutes (more or less as you see fit)

Synctoy is nice & simple... but is limited to UNC paths & local drives... so something like that you'd probably have to have a vpn tunnel in place and network-share access to a remote server.

Unison is really designed for *nix systems but does also have a windows implementation that works quite well. You can use UNC paths & local drive letters... but you have the advantage of also using sftp/scp to a remote server to transfer the files securely. It also works better with large files as it has the ability to only transmit the changes to a file rather than the entire file on any minor change. It can also be a bit more confusing than synctoy.

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I don't think they're that advanced with a formal policy. They're just 2 self-employed osteopaths. But of course they have to comply with the UK Data Protection Act. (This means actually I need to find a solution that isn't hosted in the US, unless we don't use an online service -…) – Dan Dec 10 '11 at 19:58
Thanks for persevering. There's no remote server present - just 1 laptop in each clinic (connected on plain old ADSL, dynamic IP addresses). I am thinking something along these lines though (whether synctoy/unison or something else) rather than an online backup might be the best option here. – Dan Dec 10 '11 at 20:02

1 word... DropBox

The desktop application will keep your files in sync... and it also has versioning support... as well as being freeeeeeeeeee.

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For doctors? I'm not sure what kind of laws the UK has governing their data, but they have to worry about complying with those if that data they're syncing falls under the governance of any laws regarding client/patient info and confidentiality. Dropbox almost certainly doesn't fit. – afrazier Dec 8 '11 at 17:45
Privacy and dropbox are never used in same sentence. They haveh ad issues in the past – Dave M Dec 8 '11 at 17:49
I would hope there isn't a solution like this that exists for this problem except for encrypted remote storage. – Ramhound Dec 8 '11 at 18:54
Sure... lots of hate from everyone... but no better suggestions. DropBox is fine as long as you remember it's "cloud storage" and should be treated as such. Encrypt anything you are worried about security. On the flip side... a true-crypt volume thrown in a drop box is a quick & simple way to securely have data in 2 places... without a thumb-drive. – TheCompWiz Dec 8 '11 at 18:55
@TheCompWiz - There are laws unique to the UK dealing with personal information. DropBox is an American company, subject to our laws, which means a great deal of concerns even if the information is encrypted. I suggested Amazon only because I do not agree with DropBox EUA. – Ramhound Dec 8 '11 at 18:59

if data-files are NOT "binaries"


same file can be changes on both sides at the same time


you have to have 2-side sync

you must to use any usable for you own or hosted *VCS solution, I think

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