Computer backup has become an obligatory part of computer safe keeping these days. From built-in services like Apple’s Time Machine
to various online services, keeping copies of a computer’s content has never been easier. But, while the horizons of online backup
have widened greatly, they’ve also consequently become very murky. Which is why a guide on how to find an online backup service for your files is something no one should be without.
So, how to kick off this quest for the perfect online backup provider? Well, let’s start with a space.
How Much Space Will You Need?
In my experience, unlimited backup is the best amount to use, because, as files, documents, media and other data increases, there’s generally a lot more to backup. And most companies these days offer unlimited backup at a pretty cheap price, ranging anywhere from $5 to $10 a month. However, for whatever reason, if an absolutely precise amount of backup is needed, then it’s better to look for a service that caters to that space range and charges fairly for it. Since online backup is essentially using a company’s servers for storage, most will tend to charge a rather expensive (some companies, not all) fee for an upgrade to either more storage or less restrictive terms.
Speaking of Restrictive…
There’s something I need to share with you…a secret, about what “unlimited backup” truly means. Usually, in the case of backup services that advertise such a truly wonderful feature; the ugly truth is that they lie. Unlimited backup is usually politely worded term to simply allow the company to use vaguely (undisclosed) terms as an excuse to can overzealous users and save on bandwidth.
Here’s a better way to think about this whole “unlimited backup” saga, “abundant-yet-undisclosed-storage-amount”. Or AYUSA…for short.
But, it would be extremely unfair to paint all backup companies with the same paintbrush of somewhat dodgy ethical advertising behavior. A lot of top grade backup providers do honestly offer unlimited backup, or state their limits clearly, or state conditional caveats openly in their F.A.Q and T&C documents.
Which is where reviews and opinions come in handy, knowing a second party’s opinion about a company is an invaluable asset to possess before one offers up money at the altar of online backup.
So in summary: most of the time unlimited backup translates directly to generous backup, however, sometimes the truth shines through as well.
So, What to Store?
Most private households and individual look to backup a Hodge-lodge of personal files, media files, work stuff, college papers and, of course, the mandatory smattering of audio collections of dubious audio quality.
And this is of course perfectly fine, assuming there’s a Broadband connection quick enough to accede such demanding use of its services.
However, it’s generally better to store large amounts of data with services that specialize in backing up certain kinds of data. Most commercial mainstream companies will handle multiple file types; more upscale ones will happily backup a business’s files, system, and network, while industrial scale outfits will be busy making a virtual mirror of Coke’s innumerable digital documents. So, from individual, group, to business and corporations, there’s a type of cloud backup to pacify everyone.
Make The Most of Your Free Trial
Almost every cloud backup service or company either offers a free plan or trial period. You can check some options here. Make the best use of it, feel free to push it to its limit, ask customer service reps questions, keep a careful eye on the upload speed and general likeability of the service in question.
Use the free trial opportunity to take careful stock of the software’s features, ease-of-use and general usability. If you’re comparing two options at the same time, comparing their free trials side-by-side isn’t a bad idea at all. However, please keep in mind, not to backup all or very large portions of data when on a trial service.
If you’ve enjoyed a service’s trial, and consider their prices and support to be satisfactory, then all that’s left is the second to the final step.
If you’ve enjoyed a service’s free trial, and consider their prices and support to be satisfactory, then all that’s left is the final step before we hit upload.
Buying The Plan
Now comes the time to truly put your money where your heart is and pay for a backup plan. The crux of the problem lies in the fact that you’re locked into recurring yearly payments of a certain fixed amount. So, not looking ahead and failing to take stock your future backups needs could prove problematic down the line.
Usually, an unofficial rule of thumb is that the year-long plans offer the best value for money–but never underestimate the savings a proper gander at the price plan table can give you. Make sure everything is sound and fine monetarily. And get ready to pay up.
Prep The Data
Now that we understand how curate space, what unlimited storage truly means and the importance of tinkering around with trial periods. All that’s left is to finally prep the data for a full on backup. This is going to be a long and relatively boring experience. So prepping yourself for the first major upload is an important step. Pick a free day, ensure the Internet is at its peak, grab a nice drink and hit upload. However, do keep in mind that backing up a lot of files does take its time, even months to complete.
So, to summarize our findings thus far:
- Figure out how much data you need to backup
- There’s a limit to unlimited storage and backup
- Read review carefully and fully test out free trials
- Check the pricing plans carefully – go with what works best
- Upload at peaks times and be patient
With these five tips, and a careful eye, finding the best cloud backup for your needs should be a snap and a half!