In other mintywhite tutorials we’ve seen how to make your USB into a functional power house, installing Ubuntu, encryption, portable applications and backups . There can be some files which change all the time which are essential, such as password storage (Keypass) that has latest details that you need to access from the office, a meeting or school. One of the best ways to make this work is with online backup and it won’t take you more than 10 minutes. MintyWhite is here to show you the best and make the choice easy.
In this review we’ll look at the free online storage services: Binfire, SkyDrive, Wuala, iDrive and Mozy
The most simple, no-frills service is Binfire. I’m not sure where that name comes from, but it’s about “running your online office”. This is derived from its collaboration functions and affinity for having contacts with and messaging other members. I feel this would be most suited for use at school, or institutions where you are working off a simple computer with very limited privileges.
It has a good clean layout with supportive, functional buttons for your files and services.
Ultimately it feels like navigating through colourful FTP, but what was most perturbing was when I found the public files section. There seemed to be many of people’s files open to browsing and search and I’m not sure of the real use of this…
…But one of the other features is the online collaboration with other members. This may be of real use when working with others team members at different locations. It ‘s easily the best service for users with limited technical ability and was the only one found to have live chat technical support.
Binfire is, therefore, an option worth considering but a simple one that is superseded by higher storage.
Get started with Binfire
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s answer to the free online storage movement and supports its own online services and applications suite. You can synchronise your computer and devices with Windows Live Essentials, otherwise navigate through the online web interface. SkyDrive offers you a INSANE 25 gb free, which is the largest I’ve found and is the best value by far but, this is offset by the 50MB per file upload limit. Some archive programs (winRAR/7zip) can separate archived files into certain amounts. The advertising is a bit of a pain aswell – a common trait as it is within the MSN Messenger program as well.
SkyDrive is a solid option with astute upload and download times and a blatant flow to useability. If your already part of the Microsoft “LIVE” circle, such as using MSN Messenger or Hotmail , this simple and easy 25GB worth of storage is already awaiting you.
Get started with Skydrive
Wuala (pronounced wah-lah) is a unique and technology driven service from the storage company LACIE, that will have every security minded user happy; as everything is encrypted prior to upload, using 128 bit AES, 2048 bit RSA or SHA-256 algorithms for encryption, signatures, integrity checks and even has fragments sent to multiple locations. They have a small introduction video that introduces you to every feature and concept. Initially a free user is given a miniature 1Gb, only expanded further by referrals to friends (up to 6gb), purchase or trading.
Through trading local storage, a user can attain the same amount online for ‘free’, up to a 100Gb. One of my main issues is that I never have enough space, so I’m not entirely sure how applicable this is. Most notable is the online and local application as they are exactly the same: the “Remote Access” utilising Java looks and acts exactly the same as the desktop application.
For super secure and fast upload storage Wuala is your best option above all. Keep in mind though, for all the strengths of Wuala, the space constriction is its largest weakness.
Get started with Wuala
iDrive is a jack-of-all-trades free storage with up to 12GB of storage. It starts out with 2GB and then with a quick mail out to e-mail contacts (via Hotmail or Gmail), you will have an extra 10GB of storage immediately and that’s the end of the story. Take note that no one has to click or sign up.
iDrive has both an online login in as well as an application. This application integrates into your system for drag-and-drop back ups and automatic synchronizing of specific files automatically. Furthermore, iDrive has encryption to, from and on the server, a WordPress plug-in for site backup and a mobile device backup application (iPhone, Blackberry and Android).
Now this is definitely a favourite and surely makes it easy to have those files you need backed up for remote access. But even then, with all the options, the useability can suffer a little. This is where Mozy comes in.
Get started with iDrive
Mozy seems to have been created with useability strongly in mind, having a heavy modern-styled Mac OS feel to its website and application. Mozy is very similar in many respects to iDrive with support, an application that automatically synchronizes files, throttles bandwidth and it even has a referral service earning you 256MB of storage per viewed e-mail.
I didn’t find the ability to upload files via the Mozy website, so downloading the application is the only way to go. The good news is that the application is straightforward to use and will not crowd you with too many options. It will, however, initially want to back up your bulk file types but, with access to a few settings, single file and encryption are easily manipulated.
Mozy even goes so far as to put an explorer function in, similar to iDrive, yet seemingly more direct and functional. Again Mozy improves by providing a support area that helps out with troubleshooting and fills you in on some details.
So if the multitude of options is getting you down and the technical details are too much – I’m sure Mozy will help you out.
There are so many remote backup services out there that it’s worth signing up for at least one. There are so many quality brands with brilliant features that is was hard to keep it simple. So do not hesitate getting one now, if only to set up a weekly file sync. There are so many of us that have had hard drive failure, let alone fire or theft destroy our data, so protect yourself today.