Thursday, 14 June 2012

Online Backup - a Cloud With a Silver Lining

There’s a lot of talk about ‘The Cloud’ these days, despite the fact that many people are a little hazy about the meaning of the expression. For those who don’t already know, the Cloud a metaphor for the Internet which we all use already – what people are really referring to are cloud services, which is to say products that use the internet for both for service provision and data storage. This can be something as simple as Hotmail which has been around for ages, and keeps an effective backup of your emails on-line, all the way through to complex business solutions such as  Salesforce which give you feature rich tools within your browser.

What they all have in common is that they keep your data stored safely online so that if disaster strikes you can still access it even if your laptop is at the bottom of your swimming pool.

As a business we deal with a great deal of data loss and see first-hand the distress that this can cause our customers, and we have been pushing online backup as our preferred backup solution for some time as it separates you data from your computer – backup drives are great too but they usually sit next to your laptop or PC and a fire or a theft can mean the loss of both.

For a long time we recommended Mozy, but a few months ago we stopped using them because we received several complaints from customers who had been charged for renewals on their credit cards despite having stopped using the service. Mozy’s small print is quite clear about the fact that the subscription will automatically be renewed, but who can remember what they read a year previously? They could send out renewal reminders by email as most other companies we work with do, but instead they opt to inform you by means of your credit card bill. One customer was incensed as she had traded in her old laptop for a Macbook (with iCloud backup) a year and a half previously and had been billed twice even though Mozy must have been aware that the computer hadn’t once connected to their servers in that time. Mozy were refusing to offer her even a partial a refund for the remaining portion of the service that she wasn't going to use. How hard can it be to send out reminder warnings, or, if a computer hasn’t backed up in ages, firing off an email asking the customer if they still require the service? So I’m pointing my finger directly at Mozy and accusing them unethical conduct.

For on-line backup we now recommend Livedrive which allows us far more control over the backup options. Unlike the current Mozy products we can offer unlimited backup, and we also have a great deal of freedom over the level at which we set the pricing. Best of all is that it’s an evolving product; we’ve seen it go from good to better and the developers aren’t sitting on their laurels with new features constantly in the pipeline. At present we are trying their Briefcase feature which offers online workgroup sharing features, and unlike the 100GB limit of DropBox which we currently recommend we can store up to 2TB of data. we’ll keep you informed of our progress…

We’re presently offering a year's unlimited Livedrive backup for £39.99, so contact us if you want to know more!

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