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Online Backup Services review

how to sync your data online and secure


Photo of online sync and backup software clusterThe amount of data used by businesses has increased exponentially, in the past five years alone. Corporate scandals, international unrest and glaring security flaws in computer operating systems and software applications have resulted in intense and detailed analysis of data, as it enters and leaves an individual’s PC/enterprise computer.

With the proliferation of the Internet, data sensitive resources like computers cannot be viewed in isolation – they have become supply chains in themselves. This supply chain has now gotten integrated with the next level of data movement of data backups - from end user’s (individual/enterprise) PC to online backup locations, located at an offsite location in a different geography.

Why has the extension of data movement from user’s PC to the online backup location gained significance?

Synchronization softwareThe private information stores of several prestigious organizations, largely sensitive and personal in nature, have been lost, misplaced or accessed by hackers. With the emergence of affordable, high-speed Internet connections, online backup solution providers are gaining popularity by offering numerous advantages over traditional tape strategies.

Gartner research corroborates their business strategy as well, with its popular report that states that '71% of all tape restores fail'. This is an alarming statistic for anyone used to the traditional system and should send a warning signal to thousands of SMBs who rely solely on it. Many SMBs have paid heed and embraced online backups, as we will see later.

The objective of this white paper is to highlight the key aspects that separate online backups from its predecessors and why the concept has gained currency in the recent past.

Online backup services

Online backup can be defined as a web-based service that specifically allows customers to back up files to a secure or protected site i.e. a remote data center. The purpose of the service is to create a second copy of the customer’s primary files, to insure them against any loss of data.

Online backup systems are typically built around a client software program that runs on a schedule, typically once a day. This program collects, compresses, encrypts and transfers the data to the servers of a remote backup service provider. Other types of product are also available in the market, such as remote continuous data protection.

Providers of such services frequently target specific market segments. High-end LAN-based backup systems may offer services such as near-real-time transaction-level replication or open file backups.

Main players

SugarSync backup service
SugarSync, a consumer product that promises to automatically synchronize data across desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, and even televisions. Year before the release company announced the first version of a photo application that could sync photos across devices. SugarSync is the all-purpose syncing system, previously dubbed “Hummingbird”, that was anticipated back then.
While the photo app required users to change their behavior by giving up other apps like iPhoto and Picassa, SugarSync syncs files from the file system level. Once users download, install and configure the SugarSync client (available for both PCs and Macs), they don’t have to use any SugarSync-specific programs to edit and organize their files.
As long as these files reside in folders that have been configured for synchronization, they will be kept up-to-date with not only Sharpcast’s cloud storage but all other synced computers as well. Make a change to a file on your PC and that file will be instantly updated on your laptop as well, assuming both devices are turned on and connected to the internet. You’ll also be able to access these synced files through the web browser wherever you go.

FolderShare backup service
Foldershare was a pretty cool little utility that allowed you share documents between computers or online. It sets up a private p2p network that allows you to to share specific files or folders to share between your own computers. It can also be used to access files remotely or share documents with others that you are collaborating on. It will even keep the files that are on different computer in sync so that most up to date version is available on all computers.
Microsoft obviously likes the concept as they bought up FolderShare and made online backup service from it.

Mozy backup service
MozyHome gives you unlimited online data backup with reasonable price. MozyHome offers context menu option to add files and folders to your online backup list. MozyHome can start taking backup in schedule or it can start taking backup in the background without affecting too much to your running programs. MozyHome does not have the concept of archiving if you delete some file from your computer MozyHome automatically delete file from your backup also. MozyHome recently launched its beta version for Mac operating system.

DropBox backup service
The idea behind Dropbox, which officially enters into private beta, is that little to no effort should be put into keeping your desktop files synced with “the cloud”. So the three founders have built a Python-based desktop client (available for both PCs and Macs) that acts like a regular folder on your machine. You can manage files within this folder just like elsewhere on your machine (add, edit, copy, and delete them) and changes will be automatically synced to Dropbox’s Amazon S3-backed storage, and very quickly at that.

iDrive backup service
iDrive gives up to 2GB of storage, and, where most rivals give you extra space for a set time if you refer acquaintances that then join, IDrive permanently adds 10GB to free accounts just for sharing five e-mail contacts. IDrive gives you beyond the offerings standard in consumer online backup services, with drag-and-drop file restore, backup-set searching, and Web-based viewing of backup logs. The only problem IDrive has is that it’s very confusing user interface. IDrive also supports Mac operating system.


With the dynamic landscape and new entrants emerging each year, online backup is an exciting space. Innovation coupled with sound business model exhibited by various players has stamped its authority in the storage sector. While mergers and acquisitions will continue in this field, it is poised for a well-planned growth trajectory, as echoed by the belief of large industry behemoths in their acquisition rationale of smaller, niche players, in the segment.

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