We hear this very often in the last couple of weeks since the new cloud storage service MEGA launched. People ask us if they should use MEGA as a backup solution for their computer files.
After all, MEGA claims to be the most secure cloud storage service available, right? Of course that alone doesn’t qualify it as an online backup service. Let’s tackle some of the issues that would come with MEGA being used as a backup solution.
Cloud Storage VS Online Backup
First and foremost, you have to realize that cloud storage is not online backup. While online backup generally mirrors the files you have on your computer, a cloud storage service does not need a local copy to remain “in the cloud”. That comes with a downside of course: if you change your file, those changes won’t be updated in the cloud.
An online backup service “scans” your system for changes (as it tries to mirror everything exactly as is) to be uploaded. Many cloud storage services work in a way that you can select individual files that you want to upload. Online backup is more suited for folders or entire hard drives that need to be backed up in the cloud.
So, MEGA is rather a cloud storage service. It is not an online backup service. You can select individual files from your computer, but don’t expect those files to be synchronized when you change them. You can read our article where we go into detail about what’s the difference between online backup and cloud storage.
You Cannot Schedule File Uploads
Normally, when you sign up for a dedicated online backup service, you can schedule your backups as you please. You can backup on a weekly or daily basis or even narrow it down backing up your files and folders hourly.
MEGA will not give you that option. If you want a change in a file to be reflected, you’ll have to manually upload that file again. There is no automated solution available, yet. Certainly, there might come up some tools that will do this task for you but for now it is better to use an online backup service for that purpose.
MEGA Has Not Been Tested Enough
This service only exists for about a couple of weeks. The owners themselves call the service a beta version so it should not be used in a productive environment. Things can go wrong and you don’t want to experiment with your most important files.
You can be sure, that the developers worked furiously on making that service a better solution than other cloud storage services like Dropbox.
But they will need time, too. Even if you do not use MEGA as a backup solution, there is even some risk involved using it as a cloud storage service. You may want to use it to experiment and test it out but hardly with files you depend upon.
While at first glance mega appears to be more secure than other cloud storage services, their security algorithms have not been tested enough by the community to be relied upon entirely. Further testing needs to be done before one really can trust their service.
Due diligence is always necessary when it comes to your private files. Even some online backup services do not provide enough security features. But you want to make sure that your data remains private.
Performance & Reliability
Upload speed has been horrible with MEGA when service first started. Of course, they experienced a tremendous rush when they first launched their service.
Now, upload and download speed have improved significantly so that uploading your files to the cloud is actually fun. However, the service is just too young to predict any long-term reliability, and therefore should be avoided for important files.
Test, Test & Test
We highly encourage you to test the service because this will make it better and ultimately it might become a good cloud storage solution with an incredible 50 GB of free storage.
However, as we’ve pointed out in this article, do not use MEGA in any productive environment. We have tested it a lot, and it worked rather flawlessly, however that doesn’t mean that you won’t run into problems.
There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to MEGA. There is an abundance of cloud storage services that offer the same features.
Probably you won’t find a service that gives you 50GB of free storage, but that might not be necessary for your needs. If you are looking for a cloud storage service that does backup, too, we highly encourage you to have a look at SugarSync or SpiderOak.
Those are services, that are pretty established in the market and have a high level of security. While they are more expensive than MEGA, they do offer desktop clients so that you can sync your files among multiple machines. If that’s what you’re looking for.
You might want to have a look at our comparison chart that will give you a good overview what each provider is capable of doing.
We like the efforts MEGA is making: using it is really a breeze, and it promises to be one of the more secure cloud storage services. It is, however, a little early for a final judgment but we cannot recommend it at this point in time as an online backup service.
To be fair: it is not intended to be a backup service. Rather, you should consider it as your hard drive in the cloud that adds additional space to your computer.
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But just like an external hard drive, there can be hiccups. Therefore, you should always keep your backups on multiple drives or with multiple services. If you must, you can use mega as a secondary backup solution but you should think twice if you want to use it for sensitive data.