Top 5 online backup services

We round up some of the best online backup services

At DCA we regularly deal with people who come to us for data recovery. We have a pretty good track record at salvaging important files; however, in many instances of catastrophic damage to the hard drive, there is no means of recovery. This can leave some people distraught. I have personally dealt with people who have lost their entire photo collection, ledgers, as well as critical tax documents, just to name a few examples.

If you are yet to experience losing irreplaceable files, you’re one of the lucky ones. The truth is, though, it could only be a matter of time. A research study made in Carnegie Mellon University recently revealed that 13 per cent of all the hard drives in use, crash every year. In addition, a further FBI study revealed that 2 per cent of all laptops get stolen yearly. Add destructive viruses, accidental file deletions, and unforeseen disasters to the list, and you get the most common scenarios that may lead to data loss. The only way to ensure that you can start anew with your files intact is by using a backup system.

Traditionally, computer backup is generally done using external hard drives, flash drives, discs and tapes. But with the ever-increasing volume of data that individuals and organisations accumulate, these conventional methods may no longer suffice. They also leave the backup device vulnerable to the same thing that may take out your PC. Like theft, fire or power spike.

Many of our clients nowadays feel more assured with an alternative backup method and particularly one that provides a remote way of securing data. With online backup, your critical files and data are securely stored in off-site server locations and the risk of losing your files to unfortunate circumstances is reduced to practically nil. Most online backup providers offer solutions that you can just “set and forget.” After the installation and initial backup, the program does the subsequent backups automatically without the user having to lift a finger.

That said, we’ve taken a close look at the more popular backup solutions available and these are the top five services that, depending on your needs and budget, are worthy of serious consideration.

Carbonite

This service was launched in 2006 and has since backed up over 80 billion files of subscribers in more than 120 countries worldwide. Clearly, Carbonite has scored well with many users, and there are three factors that may account for such popularity: unlimited storage at a flat-rate fee, ease of use, and security features.

Carbonite is only one of the few service providers these days that still offer an unlimited plan (US$54.95/year), and it has done so without compromising on security. Plus, the fact that it’s so simple to use makes it an ideal choice for home users. Sure, it could use some upgrades to make it more competitive with other services features-wise, but anyone who wants nothing more than basic, affordable, and simple to use backup will find it with Carbonite.

SugarSync

SugarSync is a file syncing service that also effectively doubles as a backup solution. Files are not only backed up to the company servers, they are updated across the multiple computers within your synchronisation network as well. This makes SugarSync an ideal tool for file sharing and collaboration. And with apps available for Apple, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Symbian devices, you’ll always have access to your files.

But all the features that SugarSync offers do come at a price. If you’ll need more than the 5GB free storage they are offering, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid plans. The lowest is for 30GB at US$4.99 per month, while the largest storage available is for 250GB priced at US$24.99 per month. Yes, the service is by no means cheap but for those willing to pony up for the additional features, SugarSync is one sweet deal.

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David Parkinson

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