Australia is a well-known country in many respects, yet its cloud backup and storage offerings have been lacking, to put it somewhat lightly. Nonetheless, we’ve found the top five cloud backup services, which should be able to provide Australian users with everything they could possibly need, to securely backup their data.
Let’s start by asking the big question, why does Australia offer little to nothing in the way of world-class cloud backup and storage services? The answer lies in Australian data and information laws, which are so stringent and intrusive, that it becomes difficult for cloud companies to operate there.
The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (ARPA) controls data transfers in and out of the country, including offshore data centers which operate via the cloud. They do so in efforts to reinforce the Australian National Privacy Act of 1988, which governs how organizations store, use, modify and disclose users’ personal data, although it has since been replaced by The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) act, which is a successor to the 1988 act.
According to the law, a cloud company based in Australia which has a data center in the country, needs to get permission from ARPA to move data from that center to a different one, located in any other nation. And that’s not all, ARPA also needs access to all offshore hosting facilities, so they can perform background checks at their own discretion, which isn’t a particularly privacy friendly policy.
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Why Cloud Privacy is Important in Australia
Most big cloud backup companies prefer to provide privacy-friendly services, while spreading their servers across various countries, to ensure easy and reliable access. But Australian laws are too stringent and very NSA-like, which is why most cloud companies generally avoid using the country as an avenue for data storage and retention.
So, in this post, we’ll be talking about the five best cloud backup services that can be used securely, quickly and relatively cheaply, if you’re in Australia. Before proceeding, let’s first break down how this article is setup and its purpose. We’re here to provide a general summary of each service, a small snippet of what we liked about them and a list of pros and cons.
Under every summary, there’s a “Read review” button, which we highly recommend you click for a full in-depth breakdown of how exactly each service works. With that info-bite out of the way, it’s time to get this show on the road!
CrashPlan is one of the oldest (founded A.D. 2007) and most reliable cloud backup services around.
Its features include end-to-end encryption, high customization, affordable rates and most importantly – unlimited data storage. CrashPlan provides access via a pretty handy web app, though most of the advanced settings and features are present on the app’s desktop version. Which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.
CrashPlan’s ace in the hole is its highly customizable nature; you can change every little setting to correspond with personal data and privacy needs, which is important if you’re in Australia. Users can play around with features such as backup scheduling, where the app can be set to backup when the computer is idle or whenever the user wants. Bandwidth throttling can also be customized; you can stop CrashPlan from backing up when the system battery is low.
Hard disk data is displayed in a tree structure, so backing up individual items becomes pretty easy. And the settings pane can be used to exclude certain file types, decide the frequency and number of file versions created, and much more.
Other Reasons Why We Like CrashPlan
CrashPlan has end-to-end encryption, which encrypts data before it’s uploaded and is only decrypted when a file is downloaded. Aussie users should get a private encryption key, which isn’t shared with anyone.
Better still, you can either backup data to CrashPlan’s cloud, another computer or network drive. Plans start at $5.99 per month, for unlimited storage, making CrashPlan a great option for personal and business users.
- Seeded backup
- End-to-end private encryption
- Lots of customization features
- No file-sharing
- Lacks file syncing
- Discontinued Windows Phone app
Backblaze provides military-grade security and truly unlimited storage, for the affordable price of $5 per month. It’s also a completely automated backup service (unlike CrashPlan) and comes with the Locate My Computer service.
While Backblaze doesn’t let the user choose what to upload, there is an option to decide what not to upload; the excluded folders list can be found inside the settings pane. Backblaze also has bandwidth throttling and backup scheduling features, but they aren’t as nuanced as CrashPlan’s.
Backblaze is designed for automation and ease, the perfect choice for someone absolutely new to backing up data, or somebody lazy. Now, let’s move onto data restoration, which can be done in three ways:
- Method 1: A ZIP file containing all your data can be directly downloaded from Backblaze’s website.
- Method 2: A USB drive with a storage capacity of 128GB can be directly couriered to you.
- Method 3: A USB hard drive which stores over 4TB can be shipped to those of us with a lot of data. And yes, they do ship to Australia.
Other Reasons Why We Like Backblaze
A set-and-forget service, Backblaze is a true boon for the lazy or busy among us. With Backblaze, all you have to do is install its desktop app and the software will handle everything on its own.
You don’t even have to spend time checking off folders that need to be uploaded. Backblaze scans a hard drive and uploads all the folders that it deems important.
- Unlimited storage
- Automated backups
- Easy restoration
- Lack of folder selection for backup
- Slow restores via web interface
- No File Explorer/Finder integration
Carbonite is a cloud backup service that comes packed with features like incremental backup, bandwidth throttling, private encryption and mobile access. And just like the competition, Carbonite also provides unlimited backup space.
Founded back in 2005, Carbonite is one of the few cloud backup services that adheres to most of the compliance standards required by businesses. With a 15-day trial period, signing up quickly and getting started with it isn’t a hassle.
It has desktop apps for Windows and Mac, which you can directly download from Carbonite’s website, but no Linux support. Though, you can upload folders directly through the website most of the essential features are only accessible through the desktop app.
Speaking of features, Carbonite has a lot more settings to play around with compared to Backblaze, but not as many as CrashPlan. It sort of strikes a balance between the two in terms of options and features. Unfortunately, Carbonite does not backup network or attached drives and videos, without a subscription to the Plus or Prime plans.
Other Reasons Why We Like Carbonite
Now, coming to the most important part – security. Carbonite offers an ultra-safe security key option, HIPPA compliance and very secure data centers.
Although Carbonite does have its servers located in the U.S., with private encryption, you can set a personal encryption key and be assured that your data is completely safe.
- Unlimited storage
- Windows Explorer integration
- Continuous backup
- Windows only mirrored backup
- Lacks collaboration features
- Discontinued syncing option
With 5GB of free backup space, IDrive comes with both cloud backup and a separate folder for file syncing. The only reason it’s at fourth place on our list, is because the service lacks an unlimited storage plan, with the highest plan available being capped at 10TB.
As soon as IDrive is installed and runs on a PC, it will scan through the hard drive and list out all the folders that should be backed up.
The auto-recommendation of which files to backup can be changed. But the change has to be made quickly, because IDrive starts backing up data as soon as it’s finished scanning the HDD. Security wise, IDrive uses 256-bit AES encryption during transfer and storage, adding to that, there’s also the option to set a private encryption key.
IDrive also comes with backup scheduling and continuous data protection, which makes sure that files are backed up in real-time.
Then we have the separate sync folder, where you can drag and drop all the files that need to be made locally available. And if you have a lot of data that needs to be backed up quickly, the IDrive Express service will come to the rescue, even in Aussie land.
Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive
We really liked IDrive having 5GB of free storage and no trial-period. Plus we think the service is a good option for people who want to sync a part of their data, and backup the rest of it, without using separate cloud storage services.
On the mobile end, the well designed Android app can backup data from separate folders like contacts, messages, notes and photos.
- File synchronization
- File versioning
- Private encryption
- Lacks unlimited backup
- No monthly payment plans
- Instant backup post HDD scan
SugarSync can easily rival Dropbox when it comes to syncing, plus it can do so across an unlimited amount of devices. Better yet, the service is also a decent backup option, unlike Dropbox. If you’re looking to nip both syncing and cloud backup in the same bud, SugarSync is a great option.
The service has a separate folder for syncing (just like IDrive) and a separate folder for backup — named Vault. SugarSync is very reliable, has a great interface and it’s easy to use. However, since it’s not a pure backup service, it does have limited features in that department; there is no backup scheduling, but bandwidth throttling is available.
Overall, SugarSync is suitable for users who have basic backup needs, and also want a very versatile multi-device syncing service.
Other Reasons Why We Like SugarSync
SugarSync took the cake for us in terms of great usability and fantastic smartphone and desktop apps. Plus, the service offers file versioning, with five copies of each file saved.
SugarSync also offers collaboration services.
- File versioning
- File sharing & collaboration
- Photo album sharing
- Lacks private encryption
- Difficult to cancel plans
- No unlimited storage space
Neither company offers a personal plan, they’re strictly business-level cloud backup services. Again, we would not recommend either one, unless your data must be stored in Australia and privacy isn’t a big concern.
Otherwise, our recommendation is to take each of the five cloud backup services mentioned above, out for a spin, via their free trials or free plans — before deciding which one to settle on. Once you do, please let us know which one caught your eye and why, in the comments section below.