• 06/11/2010
    10:49 AM
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Online Storage Buyer's Guide

Web-based storage providers, including Jungle Disk, Backblaze, Mozy, and CrashPlan, keep your data secure and accessible with backup, synchronization, and file sharing features.

Crash Plan
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With CrashPlan, it takes a village. The free CrashPlan client software can perform a daily backup to one of your local computers or to the computers of your friends. As long as both machines have CrashPlan installed, you can establish free, two-way backup exchanges between the very people who would be most willing and able to help you recover from a system failure.

When it comes to security: You can pick your friends, and you can pick your backup files, but you can't pick your friends' backup files. Your remotely stored archives are secured with an encryption key based either on your CrashPlan account password, a separate password, or for maximum security, your own private key.

On top of that, you can also replicate files onto the CrashPlan servers in Minneapolis by paying $54 per year for unlimited backup capacity from a single computer. The family plan, which covers everyone in a single household, including kids away at school, costs $100 per year. Note that there's only one "head-of-household," who has unfettered access to all non-encrypted files backed up by any family member under the plan.

The initial backup can take weeks to perform for a loaded hard drive, and so to surmount that hurdle, CrashPlan also offers a service whereby they'll send you an external drive for you to fill and return.

The consumer version of CrashPlan doesn't officially recognize "mapped" drives, whether a remote network share or network attached storage (NAS) device. However, the enterprise version, CrashPlan Pro, supports enterprise-class storage and networking environments and provides continuous, intraday backups rather than daily backups.

The CrashPlan Pro free server software runs on your own hardware and includes remote configuration and Web management, access controls, auditing, tools, and monitoring tools. The client software starts at $350 for a five-pack with one year of support, with additional support starting at $76 per year per five-pack.


SpiderOak combines backup, sync, and sharing in a single cross-platform application, and provides similar controls for each of these three primary benefits of online storage.

The client software, which can be installed on multiple devices including Windows, Mac, and several versions of Linux, does more than simply push files into an online storage bucket. To speed upload time, reduce file sizes, and provide security, the client software will perform compression, de-duplication, and encryption prior to sending files to the company's servers.

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