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5 Little-Known Factors To Consider When Choosing An Online Backup Service

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July 9, 2012

Whilst the benefits of online backup services are many there is a big issue when it comes to deciding on which online backup service is most appropriate for you. The problem is that on face value they all appear virtually identical save for the name and so as a result many people end up making a decision based on something basic like price rather than looking more fundamentally at what you get for your money.

As you’re about to discover, when we dive into the complicated and muddling world of online backup services there are a huge range of differences that can make one service far more appropriate for you than others – if only we “dig beneath the surface” and understand what we’re looking for.

So, with that said, let’s take a closer look at a few of the factors that very few people consider when shopping for the best cloud storage service, in the hope of providing you with the necessary knowledge to make a far more educated choice about your options.

What Files Are Backed Up?

When it comes to online backup services you may be surprised to learn that not all services will back up all the files and folders on your computer.

As an example we’re aware of a major online backup service that only backs up video files if you manually back them up while other files are done automatically, and several which will back up your documents such as photos and music but won’t back up your program files incase you accidentally delete one of these.

So take the time to consider exactly what files and folders you’d like to back up – your entire hard drive or only specific things – and then really dig into the details of any cloud backup service you’re considering to ensure they offer this feature.

How Many File Versions Are Kept?

Many of the more popular online backup solutions like Sugarsync are set up in such a way as to automatically back up any file as soon as it is either created or modified. And it’s the modification that’s a key consideration here.

Imagine working on a word processing document for work. Like a smart individual you regularly save your work and of course the latest version of your document is backed up by your cloud storage service. But what if you suddenly realize you’ve accidentally deleted a passage you meant to keep?

Some online backup services will *only* save the very latest version of your documents, meaning that the passage you accidentally deleted could be lost for ever. In contrast other services keep each different version of a file for a period of time – a month is typical – so that you can go back and download a previous version of the file if necessary.

Are Shared Folders Allowed?

One useful feature found in some online backup solutions is the ability to “share” folders with other people. This can be tremendously useful for a variety of situations. For example you can “share” a folder between your work computer and home computer, thus always being able to access any documents you might need no matter where you are.

Another use is when one wants to share a file with other people for example if you are working collaroratively on a project or even if you want an easy way to share your latest photos with family members who do not live close-by. Rather than having to individually email them all your photos you can simply upload them to the shared folder and they will instantly download onto the other computer ready to access.

However useful this feature may be not everyone will have a use for it so consider whether it would make your cmputing life easier and if so consider looking for a backup service that offers such an option.

Will Their Software Work On Your Computer?

In this day and age it sounds strange to say but some online backup providers simply don’t work on Macs, though these are admittedly few and far between. However if you hve opted for an Apple computer rather than a standard PC be certain to check that the solution you’re considering will work with your computer.

How Many Computers Are Covered?

Whilst some online backup services will allow you to install their software on, and back up, multiple computers, many more will only back up a single computer. If, like me, you own a number of different computers, or you are a family with more than one PC, it would be well worth investigating this issue. Otherwise the “bargain” you found may be anything but when you realize you actually need to pay for an account for each of your computers. For larger users – such as small businesses – many online backup services offer “business” solutions to cover a network of computers all controlled by one central location.

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