In this increasingly digital world, most of us keep hundreds, if not thousands, of digital files on our computers. From financial records to family photos, music files to personal and business contacts, your hard drive is likely chock-full of irreplaceable data. The scary yet irrefutable truth is your hard drive can fail at any moment. And if it isn't equipment failure that does it in, fire, floods, theft and even user error all pose serious, viable threats to your data as well. Subsequently, backing up your data is crucial.
A growing number of consumers and small businesses are opting to back up their data online – and for good reason. First-rate online backup services, including Carbonite, IDrive and CrashPlan, offer distinct advantages over conventional onsite backup methods such as backing up to external hard drives. For instance, most have convenient schedulers, allowing you to schedule backups to occur automatically at a set time or whenever you make changes to already backed-up files. Remote backup services also tend to be more secure, employing cutting-edge security measures and technologies, like military-grade encryption, to safeguard your data. Lastly, keeping backups offsite on a cloud ensures you have accessible copies of your data should something locally wipe out or damage your computer. Browse through our articles on online backup services to learn more about the benefits of storing your backups online.
While there are several online backup services available, it's important to select one that will provide the features and usability you need. Through extensive testing and research, and using the criteria outlined below, we were able to determine the most important features and functions to look for when it comes to online backup services.
Backup & Restore Features
Features that make the backing up process convenient, easy and automated are important aspects of a remote backup service. We considered the available storage space, and the best services offer unlimited storage. Look for versatile backup options like the ability to schedule automatic backups, incremental backup settings that only update portions of your files you edit, and file archiving that allows you to access older versions of saved files. A good online backup service will provide remote access to your account from any internet connection and allow you to share your files either within the service or with an external public link.
Given the inherent security risks of keeping personal information and data online, seeking a backup service that uses advanced security schemes and technologies to keep your data private is of the utmost importance. A service should use state-of-the-art encryption before, during and after transfer when your files are stored on the cloud. Preferably, the service should encrypt your data itself, as well as own and maintain its own data centers rather than use a third party for encryption or storage. It should also have password-protected accounts and employ geo-redundant storage methods, storing copies of your data at multiple data centers in case one physical location sustains damage from events such as a fire or earthquake. Some services offer remote wipe options that allow you to remotely delete files from your physical computer in case it is stolen.
In addition to being able to access your backed-up data online, most online backup services also have apps that grant you access to your account on your mobile devices. Many services offer apps for Apple iOS and Android devices, and some also offer apps for Windows Phone. While the apps all allow you to view and download your data, only some of them back up the device itself. Many will automatically back up photos you take on your mobile device.
Help & Support
Even a user-friendly online backup service should still offer comprehensive help and support options. Aside from online product tutorials and user forums, we looked for all-inclusive direct technical support via email, toll-free telephone and live chat. Such support is especially crucial if you suffer data loss and need to restore important files quickly.
Online backup services are an affordable, effective and easy way to protect your data against computer failure and malfunctions. Our lineup encompasses top-notch services that offer rich features, secure data handling and remote access on a number or devices. Most importantly, they can safeguard your photos, music library, financial documents and all other irreplaceable digital data.
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