Well, here you are again with some new data in your computer that you believe is precious enough to keep safely. The time has come to make a backup.
A Backup is as essential to your lifestyle as sunlight is to a botanical garden. The concept of backing up data is almost as old as time itself. How so? Well, if you know the story of Noah you probably know that he had to build an ark and take in all species of animals. What followed next was a purge of the earth by a great flood. But rather than start from zero, the earth was repopulated by the animals that had been “backed up”.
This is just a simple example. Everyday as you interact with your devices you generate large amounts of data some of which you consider irreplaceable e.g. photos, videos, documents, audio and so much more. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to keep them stored in a separate location to facilitate quick and simple recovery in case of data loss.
Types of Backup
Online – This involves utilizing a server/ cloud-based platform to store your data which can then be accessed from any supported device with the correct credentials.
Offline – Involves utilizing a local storage medium such as a flash drive to store copies of your data. This device must then be propagated to the location at which you wish access the data.
What options are available?
A wide variety of online data storage options exist presently, but I will be focusing on the top 7 that deliver a commendable blend of convenience, efficiency and quality. You must however, keep in mind that none is perfect and each one has its own pros and cons. With that said, let’s begin.
7. iCloud Drive
This a cloud storage and computing service operated by Apple Inc. It allows users to store data such as documents, photos and music on remote servers and download it to iOS, Macintosh and Windows devices. The service allows users to share and send data to other users as well as manage their Apple devices if or when they are lost or stolen.
They offer apps for:
Mobile (iOS (Preinstalled))
Desktop (Windows, Mac (Preinstalled))
Provides new users with 5GB of storage space free but can be extended up to 2TB for a specified monthly fee.
The have an API allowing third-party developers to integrate their services in their apps.
The service is biased towards Apple devices. For example, one cannot create an account unless they have an iOS device or a Mac.
It does not provide end-to-end encryption and thus users’ data is left unsecured and easily accessible to unauthorized individuals.
There is a known bug in the service that may cause data loss if for example, a user attempts to move a set of files from iCloud Drive when they have not been synchronized yet.
6. One Drive
This is a file hosting service provided by Microsoft. It allows users to sync files and later access them from a web browser, mobile device or a PC running Windows 10.
They offer apps for:
Desktop (Windows PC (Preinstalled on Windows 10))
Provides new users with 5GB of storage space free. This is extendable to 1TB for users of Office 365 at a set price.
The storage quota being offered has changed extensively overtime. At some point new users would get 15GB free before the decrease to 5GB. This gives an impression of instability.
Data stored on OneDrive is subject to monitoring by Microsoft hence, you are not guaranteed privacy. In addition, any data that violates Microsoft’s Code Of Conduct may be removed and result in the temporary or permanent closure of the account.
5. Mega Cloud
Is a cloud storage and file hosting service that provides new user with a staggering 50GB of storage space which can be extended to as much as 4TB for paid users.
They offer apps for:
50GB of storage space with 10GB bandwidth per month for new users… Need I say more?
Data is encrypted on the client-side before being uploaded to the servers. This helps guarantee greater security as not even Mega Ltd themselves can decrypt and access the contents of your files.
They released an API for developers to integrate their services in their apps.
While 50GB does seem quite attractive, I am quite skeptical as I am still anticipating the unveiling of a hidden angle that may harbor undesirable contingencies in the near future. For this reason, I would recommend that you only use it to store non-sensitive data such as videos or music. You probably think I’m being paranoid but remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Is a cloud storage and file hosting, file synchronization and cloud storage service.
They offer apps for:
10GB of storage space for new users which can be extended to 50GB by performing various tasks such as installing the mobile or desktop clients and sharing to Facebook and Twitter.
Does not support free data warehousing. Inactive free accounts will lose their data after a certain period of time.
3. Google Drive
This is a file storage service provided by Google.
They offer apps for:
It is a Google product and hence, it easily integrates with their other products such as Google Docs to give you a seamless experience when handling your data on various platform be it web, mobile or desktop.
Provides new users with 15GB of storage free which can then be extended to 30TB at a monthly fee.
Supports a number of third party apps that can be found on the Chrome Web Store
Have an easy to use API to allow third-party developers to integrate their services.
While reading Google’s Terms of Service, (Yes, I do actually read ToS and you should too) I came across a clause that allows Google have free reign with your data once it is uploaded, submitted, stored, sent or received on or through their services. I quote:
You give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
I personally am not alright with that and hence, tend to avoid entrusting them with certain private data. If you don’t mind, then feel free to use the service.
I have used this platform for quite a long time (since 2011). The service they offer is quite satisfying.
They also offer apps for:
Mobile (Android & iOS)
They provide apps with easy to use interfaces and easily integrate with other software such as MS Word to allow collaboration on documents.
They also have an easy to use API (Application Programming Interface) for developers which can help them add backup functionality to their apps.
They have also been around for quite sometime and having used their services since 2011, I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to store data in the cloud.
New users start off with only 2GB of storage space. You can opt to buy more or simply invite your friends to the platform and get 500MB for each one that joins. This bonus only allows you to expand your storage to a maximum of 18GB after which, you will have to pay for more.
1. Personal Web Server
This is a server owned by you as an individual and not by a company or organization. You control how it is utilized and hence can decide what information is made available to the public (web) and what is “For your eyes only”. This is possibly the best option for those who believe that “If you want something done right, do it yourself”.
You get full autonomy as you get to decide what applications run on the server, when they get upgraded and so much more. Think of it as a virtual playground with no boundaries.
Privacy is guaranteed. Who sees what and when is all entirely up to you.
The server is fully customizable. You can modify and tweak the server to suit your preference.
Everything is on you. As the owner of the server, all the system administration responsibilities fall on you. For this reason, I highly recommend you only take up this option if you have adequate knowledge of the functionalities so as to avoid complications.
The options listed above are among those that I have personally interacted with and deemed worth using. As I said in the beginning, none is perfect but you may try them and determine for yourself which one best suits your needs.
I am open to any feedback you may have and look forward to hearing from you. Do leave a comment down below and share your thoughts.
Till next time.