Thumbs up for online backup

I have a dream – a dream about finding the perfect online backup solution. As you know, I am already an online backup fan girl, but even I have to admit that there isn’t a single tool that does it all. Here’s what online backup nirvana would look like for me.

Cross Provider Sync

The recently announced impending closure of Google Reader reminds us of something we should already know – you can’t rely on people to keep a free service going indefinitely just because it suits you. That’s why it’s a no-brainer to back your stuff up to multiple services. But the trouble is it just isn’t easy.

At the moment you have to install more than one backup client on your computer and have them both chugging away, which can slow some machines to a crawl. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler if you could hook one online backup provider into another and have everything done in the cloud to avoid hogging your computer’s resources? I think it would.

Unlimited Version Tracking

 Have you ever edited a document and then wished you hadn’t? With some online backup providers you can get access to a previous version via a revision tracking feature. The problem: it’s limited.

SugarSync for example, saves five previous versions and with Dropbox  you have to pay extra for unlimited version tracking through its Packrat service. I’d love to see this rolled into my perfect online backup service for free.

More Automation

The ultimate online backup solution would automatically know which documents and folders you use most often and back them up with a single click.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? This would be an ideal scenario for my non-techie friends and family.

Options in Plain Sight

For people who like to tweak, the perfect online backup solution would make it easy to do that. In the old version of SugarSync, I found it really annoying how difficult it was to find and configure the folders being backed up.

Thank goodness that’s been improved. I say: put the options where I can find and enable them easily – don’t make me search!

In-Browser Editing

I’ve used several online backup solutions and no two of them seem to handle document editing the same way. Some use their own proprietary engine; others embed Google Docs; still others embed Microsoft Office Online.

As a user, I don’t care which it is as long as I can edit the document within my web browser and have it preserve all my formatting. I don’t want to have to download it, edit and upload again and I want it to work seamlessly every time.

Great Mobile Access

There aren’t many online backup or cloud storage providers that don’t have a mobile app these days, but if you check out the reviews, there are always complaints that the mobile apps don’t work like the web and desktop versions.

Open Links on Mobile Devices

Whether it’s a case of application crashes, inability to edit or the difficulty of dragging and dropping files (all issues I’ve seen raised for different backup apps on Google Play), some of the apps just aren’t robust enough. For most users, the point of a mobile online backup app is to be able to use them just like the other versions, so I’m adding this to my online backup wish list.

Non-Proprietary Backup File Formats

Back when I first used Mozy – a pretty long time ago – I once needed to restore a single file. Finding the file was torture, because the Mozy backup file was in its own proprietary format, making it difficult to find just one item.

Choose the Format Options

Thankfully, that’s no longer an issue for most of online storage service providers I use. Proprietary file formats are not user friendly and should either be outlawed or should sit alongside an easier option.


Well, there you have the top seven features everyone should be on the look out for. Although not mandatory, including these seven features would create the perfect online backup solution for me.

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