We need to do a once-only archive copying of users' home folders to an archive server (pending final deletion) when they leave, in case they later discover that they may still require some of their files (although we do of course very strongly encourage them to take their own backup of everything they might still need before they go).
We had been using
scp for this, but have now got inadvertently snared by a former user who had installed some software which had created an unusual symlink structure in one of their folders, which seemed to result in scp looking ever upwards and then trying to copy rather more than was expected, before being stopped.
Unfortunately, it turns out that scp seems to always follow symlinks and does not appear to have any option to prevent this.
I am looking for an alternative way to backup a user folder that avoids this problem (and ideally is no more complicated than it absolutely needs to be).
tar could be a possibility, but I am slightly concerned that the creation of a tarball locally before copying it to the archive server could use a not insignificant amount of storage space, and might pose some difficulties in the event that our fileserver becomes rather more full at some point in the future.
Another possibility might be to use
rsync, but this seems possibly over-the-top for a once-only file transfer, and I know from previous experience that tuning rsync's own options can sometimes be fiddly in itself.
Can anyone suggest a reliable and simple alternative to scp for this?