Key Features and What To Look For
There are many online backup services out there....so which is the best? What do
you look for in an online backup service? Your files are important and you need
a service that will protect those files. Online backup offers many advantages
over other backup methods like using CDs or external hard drives. First, you
don't need to carry around extra CDs, hard drives, or USB flash drives. All you
need is an internet connection. This is especially nice if you travel a lot with
your laptop since you can get internet access almost anywhere. Online backup
services also offer "off site" backup. If your laptop gets stolen or
a disaster strikes your home and you lose your computer, you will not lose your important
data with an online backup service. It is an affordable way to give you
peace of mind and protect your irreplaceable files.
Obviously price is very important. Most online backup services offer pricing on
a monthly or yearly basis. Since you will probably want to continue to save your data for a
long time, the yearly price is best for most users. When you purchase at least 1
year of online backup, these companies usually offer a discount and it is a much
better deal than the monthly pricing. Prices can differ greatly with these online
backup services, so be
sure to consider how much backup space you are getting for the price when
comparing these services. Check out our comparison page for the different
pricing offered by these online backup companies.
Online backup companies now offer many more services than they did in the past.
Some of the coolest new features involve access to your files using your mobile
device. You can also sync all your devices using one account, so your tablet,
mobile phone, and desktop computer can all be up-to-date with your latest files.
Imagine taking a picture on your Android or iPhone and having it almost
instantly appear in your pictures folder on your computer. You can access your
files from any device, so if you are working on a presentation and your desktop
computer crashes, you could use your laptop to finish it without losing your
work. These services offer automatic scheduled backups and continual
backups. Continual backups will sync your files to your online storage the
moment you save them locally. You have the ability to
choose which folders use this automatic continual syncing. Some of these
services include the ability to backup files that are in use, so you don't have
to stop writing that paper, or close your email to have it backed up. Another
nice feature to look for is versioning, or saving multiple versions of your
files. If you backup a document then update the document and perform a backup
again, both versions
are saved by your online backup service. You then have the ability to
restore an older version of the file if you want. The different
features offered by each online backup service can be seen in our comparison
Ease of Use
Using online backup services should be simple and hassle free. These companies have
put a lot of effort into making their software and services very easy to use.
Most offer a backup wizard which will automatically choose your pictures,
documents, and email folders for backup. Of course, you can always
customize which files you backup and how often you back them up. When new files
are added to the selected folders, they are automatically added to the backup
list. Once configured, these backup services run seamlessly in the
background without any intervention needed by the user. Some will even send
you an email if a backup fails, so if you don't get notified of an error, you
can feel confident that your files are being backed up successfully.
Speed can be an important factor when choosing an online backup service.
Most of the time users will configure automatic backups to run
in the early morning hours when their computer is not in use. However,
you don't want these backups to be so slow that they are not complete by the
time you go to use your computer later in the day. This can depend on your
internet connection speed, but also the online backup service speed. If you
choose to perform continual backup, you want the service run in the background
and not affect your computer's performance. The online backup service should also be able to serve
your files to you quickly if you need to restore them. If your
computer crashes, you want to be able to restore your large files, such as an
outlook email file, without having to wait hours.
Please be aware that the initial backup of your files can take a long time
depending on the size of your backup. The best online backup services offer
incremental backup as a way of speeding up your subsequent backups.
Incremental backup will only backup the files that have changed since your last
It can be a little unnerving sending your files off to "the cloud", not really knowing
where they are stored. The best online backup services respect your privacy and
put a lot of time into protecting their customers. You should look for an online
backup service that uses the most current encryption standards (such as AES-128 or
better) for your data while transmitting and storing it on their servers. This
means that the online backup companies won't be able to see your files.
You will have access to decrypt and restore these files only after
you enter a password that the online backup company does not know. So be
careful not to lose your password. These companies also have multiple storage
sites in different physical locations where your files are redundantly stored.
So if one of their facilities is destroyed, your data is still safe at the other
These online backup services are designed to be easy to use and most have setup
wizards to easily configure your backup files and settings. However, sometimes
problems do come up. It is nice to know you can find help and support if you need it.
Should you need more help, these online backup companies can be
reached by phone, email, or live chat, and they offer user support forums and
knowledge bases as well.