Off-site data backups are the perfect protection against marauding virus attacks, disk-drive disasters, natural calamities, theft, bumbling-office-turnip-induced tragedies, even your own occasional predilection for the Delete key. The Internet proved its worth as an ideal, and easy, conduit for exactly such off-site backup and sharing medium ages ago.
Yet, till quite recently, your choices were limited: You had to either put up your own Web server to stash away your data, or squeeze the files sparingly into pigeonholes such as the 30MB Yahoo Briefcases.
(Illustration by: Malay Karmakar / Mint)
At last, however, there is help: A number of online data storage and sharing services available on the Net promise to keep a backup of all your data. We give you snapshots of some of the best.
MozyHome Free gives you 2 gigabytes (GB) of free storage space indefinitely and is compatible with both Macs and PCs. No meandering set-ups, no conditions, no expiry dates here. What is thrown in with this Mozy deal is open/locked file support, 128-bit SSL encryption, 448-bit Blowfish encryption, automatic scheduled backups, email backups and much more. And if you think 2GB storage space is not enough for you, you could try the paid MozyHome: It gives you unlimited space, starting at $3.95 a month. There’s MozyPro with its online backup services to businesses with more than 2,000 employees. And then, MozyEnterprise.
A free Lite (single user) account with Box.net gives you 1GB of space. An Individual account gives you 5GB but costs $7.95 per month after a 14-day trial period. A Business Box.net account (at $19.95 per month) allows up to 10 users to share 15GB of space. The paid versions come with mobile access and support. You can store your stuff online, share whatever you want, and collaborate on projects with clients, colleagues and friends. It is a fairly fast, easy-to-use service with well-integrated, intuitive file management.
Additionally, it even allows you to edit documents and photos online using its OpenBox services.
Microsoft Live SkyDrive
Did you know that an MSN, Hotmail or Live account gives you 5GB of totally free online space for backups? You can create personal, shared and public folders on SkyDrive. You can also decide who has access to what folder: Personal folders are password-protected. Integration with Hotmail and Spaces is virtually seamless. SkyDrive can get a bit iffy in terms of speed in India given our “pseudo-broadband” services. Yet, few Web services can match Microsoft’s long-term reliability, dependability and security for your data.
Though a newcomer to this domain, ADrive gives a heavy 50GB of free data storage to its users. The biggest file that you can shovel in here can be as chunky as 2GB. You can upload multiple files and folders in one shot. ADrive has a vital search function that helps you find what you’re looking for pretty fast. And it also allows you to email files to others straight from your ADrive account. But there is no FTP or media streaming. Soon, the site also plans to introduce online document editing.
DropBoks gives you a tidy Web cellarage to secure your files online for free. However, at 1GB, it is rather modest by current standards. You can upload and/or download files (in any format) up to 50MB in size. There is no jazz or jetsam about the interface. Everything is straightforward and simplistically idiot-proofed. Your files are encrypted, authenticated, and secure once uploaded. The site is planning to offer upgraded storage for a monthly fee in the near future.
An online service that commenced services in May 2006, Carbonite offers unlimited backup storage to consumer and small businesses for a flat $49.95 for a one-year subscription and $89.95 for a two-year subscription. It installs a small program on your computer that works in the background and uploads all new and updated files automatically. Files can be any size (even larger than 4GB) and are encrypted twice before being uploaded for security. You can start with a 15-day free trial.
Arguably the best-known file sharing service around, RapidShare boasts of an efficient Premium (€54.99 annually) zone and a fairly clunky Free Zone. It allows 2GB file sizes and unlimited uploads to Premium customers, while the maximum file size for freebies is 100MB. Premium account files are never deleted, while free user file are deleted after 90 days without a download. Paid users may download 25 GB within five days. You can only access files whose exact address (URL) is known to you.
Another overtly simple and file-hosting solution that offers as much as 5GB of free online space. And quite indefinitely. To top it, you can do all this anonymously as you don’t have to register or key in any personal info anywhere if you don’t want to. On the home page, simply select the file you would like to share and upload it to the server. Once uploaded, you can email the links or share it on your website. Uploads are fast and the user interface, a virtual no-brainer.
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