Cloud storage is the latest thing…without a doubt. There are offerings from lots of vendors like Mozy, Carbonite, Sugarsync, Backblaze and tons of others. Take a look at them and decide which one you like.
You will find two different camps when it comes to pricing. The “all you can eat” model charges a fixed price and backs up whatever you have. The “pay for space” model charges you a price based on the space you buy. One big difference is that the “all you can eat” vendors generally immediately delete a file when you delete it on your machine, while the fixed space people move the file to an archive and don’t delete it. Of course, that is because you have paid for space and they don’t care how you use it.
If a vendor is trying to keep a fixed price, they will do everything they can to minimize what you are using! If you need a Terra byte (1,024 Giga Bytes), today’s price for fixed storage is probably too high for you, so you will probably go for the all you can eat model!
Use external drives? Make sure your vendor supports them (BackBlaze does, Sugarsync does not today.) Once you opt in to a service, you download a little sync app that runs in the background, decide what to sync and that’s it! It may take days for the system to get everything you have out to the cloud, but you can just forget it and it will happen.
If you have a failure, just replace the bad drive (or machine) download the sync app on the new machine and tell the system to bring everything back. Again, this can take a long time, but it will happen without any intervention from you and will put everything back where it was, including folders and subfolders. If you need something quickly, most services let you go to a website and specifically download the files you want.
Virtually all vendors provide excellent security for your files with DES encryption or something like it. All operations are numerically lossless regardless of file type or extension. So even if they send you zips your original files are never modified.
Most support PCs and MACs..and most offer a free trial…so you can check a few of them out to see if they fit your individual needs. As far as user interface is concerned, I like what I use, but that’s pretty much a personal preference. If you use multiple computers, you may find that the “pay for space” model gets better if all machines can fit into a common cloud space. There are lots of other features like auto synced shared directories and the like. I have been on Sugarsync for years and don’t worry about my hardware at all! It’s liberating! As usual, the prices will continue to tumble and the features will continue to grow!
Georgia McCabe spent 30 years as a Sr. Executive in the computer and photo industry. As a driving force in conceiving and executing breakthrough approaches to the photo printing, sharing and delivery market place, she literally “changed the rules” for a category undergoing massive technological change and re-invention.