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Key Features of Online Backup Systems
What are some important features to look for in an online backup system? Here are a few questions to help guide you in your research.
Ease of Setup
The most important computer application in the world becomes less then useful if it is difficult to install, setup, and use. Some services offer free trials to discover the answers to these questions.
- Is the program easy to install and set up?
- How easy is it to select which files and folders to back up?
After you have the application installed, take a look at the screen.
- Are the screen elements logically arranged?
- Is everything all bunched up, or is there plenty of "white space"?
- Can you see at a glance how to do what you want to do?
Level of support and assistance
Even with applications that are easy to install and use, there might come a time when you need help or just have a question.
- Does the service provide 24-hour telephone assistance?
- Is there a live online "chat" function?
- How does the service provide security
- Do they offer any guarantees?
- When the time comes to increase or decrease your storage requirements, how easy is this to do?
An online backup system will upload thousands of bytes of data on a regular schedule. And someday you might need to download your files and restore them on your computer. Obviously, the faster this can be accomplished, the better.
- Do you know the speed of your connection?
- Does the service offer upload and download speeds that will "keep up" with the speed of your connection?
Amount of server space
Chances are the files you need to back up occupy a lot of disk space.
- Does the server offer unlimited space?
- Are there different price tiers for different needs?
- Do you know how much space you need?
- Does the service offer any tools to help you know how much space you need?
Multiple versions of files
It is often useful to have down-level versions of files you are working on.
- Does the service offer protection of down-level versions, in case of accidental overwrites?
- How many versions will be kept?
- Is there a time limit before older versions are deleted?
If your family is like mine you have more than one computer and maybe even multiple digital devices in your home.
- How many computers can be backed up on one account?
- Does each computer or device require its own account?
- Does the service offer file sharing between multiple systems?
Other digital devices
Smart phones and tablets now contain many photos, music files, videos, emails, and other files.
- Does the service offer connection and backup of data from other devices, like tablets and smart phones?
- How easy is it to set up and connect these devices?
- How easy is it to restore files to these devices?
Compatible with both Apple and PC
It is important to know if a service offers support for different operating systems.
- Can the software be installed on both Apple and PC systems?
- Can multiple types of systems be backed up on the same account?
- Does the service work on UNIX, Linux, or other operating systems?
Before comparing features of online backup systems, make a brief list of your specific requirements.
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