Saturday, May 13, 2006

Online Storage

When it comes to backing up your data it's generally a case of "I'll get around to it tomorrow". I'd be the first to admit that data backup is not the most interesting thing that you can do on your PC, but it has to be done if you want to ensure that you don't finish up losing some important files at some point in the future.

One of the reasons we don't back up our data more frequently than we should is that we don't always have a convenient and suitable place to copy the data to. Floppy disks are unreliable and hold very little data (1.44MB). CD's and DVDs are reliable and hold between 650MB and 4.7GB but aren't always to hand when you want to backup your data. A second hard disc drive, preferably an external one is the ideal solution, but not many users have an external hard disc drive.

If you have a broadband internet connection there is another option open to you and, depending on how much data you want to back up, it need not cost you a penny. The possible solution to your backup problems is online storage. There are now a wide range of companies that will offer online storage, which involves uploading your precious data to the data storage company's servers. Once the data has been uploaded you can retrieve it at any time, so if your computer suffers a catastrophic failure at some point in the future, resulting in total data loss, you can be sure that your data is OK and you can download it to your PC again once it has been repaired. An added benefit of storing your data online is that no matter where you are in the world, once you have access to a PC with an internet connection, you can retrieve your stored data.

So, who are the main players providing this service? Well there are quite a few, each offering slightly different products, so you need to shop around for the one that suits you. Three players that you might want to check out are Xdrive, Box and Streamload. The last of these, Streamload, offers 25 GB of storage for free, though there are restrictions on how much you can download per month (100MB). If you want to download more than 100MB per month from your online data repository then you will need to sign up for one of their subscriptions - $4.95 per month increases your download allowance to 2GB per month and you get unlimited storage, as opposed to 25GB with the free service. Other subscription rates allow greater monthly download allowances.

Box also offers free storage, though only 1MB, and 5GB will cost you $4.99 per month, which is still pretty good value for the safekeeping of your data. XDrive doesn't offer free storage and comes in at $10 per month for 5GB of storage, but offers extra security for the premium price.

One service that we haven't checked ot, but which looks pretty interesting is Carbonite, check it out for yourself.

The bottom line is you need to back up your data - not necessarily all your data, but at least the data that you consider important and irreplaceable. How you do it is up to you - but with the advent of online data storage you now have a convenient and always accessible option. Check out the services that I have highlighted and Google online storage to see other potential solutions. Look carefully at the various options before selecting one that suits you.

Update: IBackup has contacted PC Medic to inform us of their service. Check out their comment below.

1 comment:

tech_nick said...

I wonder why a pioneer like IBackup is missing here. IBackup has been around for some time even before the current lot of free services made a splash.

IBackup’s offers of 5GB for $9.95 and they give value for your money. All their data transfer is encrypted and your data is safe and secure with them. You can have sub accounts along with your main account, if you demand them. There is no one-time or monthly limit on downloads and it all depends upon your connection. There are a number of other plans suitable for both personal as well as Small Business Networks.

With IBackup for Windows you will get IDrive that maps your online account as a local drive onto your PC. With this you can drag and drop and edit your files. Snapshots allow historical read only view of user data for up to 10 days. The additional storage requirements for Snapshots will have no impact on your usable storage space.

IBackup does not have any hidden catches and it’s a totally safe and secure service to use.