Whether you’re keeping track of a family or running a business, archiving your data is going to be imperative to your success. Unfortunately, archives can be vulnerable to damage and destruction. Protecting archives has been a profession since the invention of librarians, but nowadays even hard drives have become antiquated technology.

The next big thing? Backing up your files to the cloud.

Saving your data to the cloud has a lot of advantages over regular old hard drive back-ups. For one, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of/protecting your back up hard drive. If you all your data and then find that you’ve also lost your hard drive, you’re definitely in trouble. With cloud storage, your information is stored on the internet, so you can access it from any advice. Although uploading all your data for the first time can be tedious, updates are manageable and most likely easier with a hard drive.

So once you’ve cross over to the cloud side, you’re faced with another dilemma: Which of the dozens of cloud storage providers is right for your particular needs? This is a question that takes a fair amount of research to answer, but here’s some info on a few options, just to get you started.

backblaze

Backblaze

Named for the fires firefighters start to destroy fuel for wildfires, Backblaze offers unlimited storage capacity for $5 a month or $50 a year and can be set to automatically backup your files at whatever schedule best fits your needs. It does have some shortcomings however; Backblaze can only archive particular file types and excludes system, program and Windows files. There’s no way to share your files,  and it also doesn’t have the ability to back up the entire system to an external hard drive. That said, its security definitely ranks among the most airtight of all cloud storage providers.

 

carbonite

Carbonite

Carbonite offers several options as a cloud storage provider. For $59 a year, the Carbonite Home service offers unlimited backup for Windows and Mac systems. HomePlus ($99 a year) includes an external hard drive backup along with the ability to make copies. The $149 a year HomePremier service throws in a courier-recovery service where users can receive a copy of their backup in the mail.

Reviewers say Carbonite has an easy-to-use interface and even places a color-coded dot next to every file that will be affected by the backup. However, Carbonite does not provide a log of its operations. Its default backup includes only the desktop, music, document, photo, settings, email and video files. You can add other files, but Carbonite’s software has issues with system, Windows and program files. Carbonite can also back up files continuously or on a schedule. Your files will remain accessible from Carbonite’s online server for thirty days after you’ve deleted them from your computer’s hard drive.

crashplan

CrashPlan

CrashPlan can be used by a variety of users, from Mac to Windos to Linux. It also has apps for accessing data for AppleiOS and Android devices. It offers various plans, including a free version that allows you to back up to other computers (but not to the cloud). Paid versions allow you to back up your data online and users can purchase unlimited storage for no more than $50 a year. 10GB costs $25.

CrashPlan logs all tasks it performs and automatically backs up music, video and desktop files. Windows and system files can be backed up manually. It notices any changes made in your system’s files and automatically implements those changes into your next back up. It also never deletes your data.

All of these services have something special to offer, so it’s up to you to figure out what works best with your lifestyle and your archiving habits.

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