Disaster Recovery

SugarSync: Your backup in the clouds

Blogger Paul Mah shares his experience with a unique online backup service called SugarSync. It's already proved to be a life-saver for him.

Today, I want to share my experience with a unique on-line backup service called SugarSync. Like similar services, SugarSync works via a client application that is installed on the computer to be protected.

Beyond that, however, this is not your run-of-the-mill cloud-based backup service; it provides several features that I have found to be indispensable. In fact, while a free 2GB SugarSync account is available, I have upgraded to a paid account since April and have been using it ever since.

I highlight the most useful features here.

Sharing files across computers

The key strength of SugarSync is its ability to share files across multiple computers. This actually helped get me over my usual recalcitrance to format my laptop -- even when it is past time to do so. You know how it goes: you do a massive backup in anticipation of a computer rebuild, but something comes along and you have to stop and get some work done, only to realize that you can't remember the exact files you updated. So you have to do another massive backup, which you put off, and so on.

With all my files synced with the cloud service in almost real-time, however, I found myself stacking all my user-created files into a few folders that are protected by SugarSync. And because they are synced with my other laptop or desktop, I am able to continue work on them while I go about my reformat. All the latest changes will, of course, be downloaded seamlessly into my rebuilt machine once I get the SugarSync client installed on it. And yes, the client works with the Mac too.

Versioning

SugarSync also provides file-level versioning of the last five changes, which should help recover from careless mistakes resulting from saving too quickly. Even errors that are not recoverable -- even with undelete utilities -- such as accidentally overwriting a file, can be rectified with just a few clicks.

Undelete functionality

All files or folders that are deleted get shunted over to the Delete Files folder automatically. This has proved a lifesaver to me personally. You see, I accidentally deleted an important folder containing various billing information -- and only realized when I wanted to generate more invoices a few weeks after the incident. It would have been an unmitigated disaster in most backup scenarios. Thankfully, the folder and its 100 odd files were dutifully saved by SugarSync, and I was able to recover from my mistake.

Conclusion

Of course, there were other good-to-have features too, such as the ability to selectively share files on a customized URL based on the sugarsync.com domain. Using that, you can effectively share large files with friends or clients. In addition, the availability of clients for mobile devices -- BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile -- means that I can access all my backed-up files while on the move.

Do check it out if SugarSync sounds like what you need. In the meantime, do you have other worthy cloud storage services to recommend?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

6 comments
w0qj
w0qj

Good review ??? here are a few recent changes as of June 2011: You get 5GB of space with the FREE version, but now there is no restriction to the number of computers you can sync/backup (up from 2). It gives you the ability to upload and sync any folder on your computer. It is the only service that offers such a broad device and OS support with apps for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone/iPad, Symbian, not to mention your computer! Also if you use the below referral code you get a bonus 500MB extra on top of your Free 5GB! https://www.sugarsync.com/referral?rf=tbtp0asbw9pt Hope it helps someone.

jacky2000
jacky2000

You might want to also try http://www.DriveHQ.com. DriveHQ is one of the first few companies offering cloud storage & cloud IT services with over million customers. It is now offering the version 5.0 Solution. It is far more than just storage, backup, synchronization and versioning. Not only you can backup files to the cloud, you can also move your entire file server, FTP server, email server, web server and backup system to the cloud. You can create sub-users and sub-groups; you can set different user roles; share different folders to different users with different permissions. For a small business, Cloud-based storage, backup, sharing and Cloud IT Solution can save you a lot of cost, while offering better, more secure and reliable services that can be accessed from anywhere. For more info, please visit: http://www.drivehq.com/. DriveHQ basic service is free.

gene.gaines@gainesgroup_z
gene.gaines@gainesgroup_z

I have been using SugarSync for a long time on 2 PCs plus 2 laptops that are 1,000 miles apart. SugarSynch does backup to perfection, and in addition its "Magic Folder" sharing capability makes life so incredibly easy. The stuff we really care about is always available. The interesting point is some of the nuanced features of the program -- example, one can choose to have a copy of important files downloaded and available in every computer, or those important files available to all on a central SugarSync folder, so any PC can download them. The program has operated flawlessly. I don't know the company, because never have had problems. I emailed one question, was answered promptly and perfectly. So, no reason to talk to them. Gene Gaines, Sterling, Virginia

FooFooUK
FooFooUK

Interesting post. I have been using Dropbox for a couple of months now and wondered how SugarSync differs/is better/is worse than Dropbox? Have found Dropbox to be invaluable for sharing regularly updated files ensuring the latest version is in use. As a backup solution, it's great but it is always wise to have some redundancy in place.

CannyTyneLad
CannyTyneLad

Tried to access their web site today...getting http 502 error - not much use if you need your backup in a hurry!

Jaqui
Jaqui

still, on topic or not, putting the url in more than ONCE makes your post spam you know.