Disaster Recovery

Review: SugarSync Online Backup

SugarSync online backup is unique in that will backup any selected folder in your computer in real-time and with versioning support.

Designed for users who need to access their files even when on-the-go, the on-line backup software of SugarSync is unique in that will backup any selected folder in your computer in real-time and with versioning support.

Supported platforms

Who's it for?

It is not a straight-forward exercise to categorize SugarSync, probably because it attempts to do so many things. It does them well though, and users looking for a reliable backup application that synchronizes in real-time to the cloud will find it here. In addition, its inherent versioning capabilities, as well as support for multiple computers, will endear it to business users and IT managers alike.

What problem does it solve?

One of the main problems that users face is the batch nature of traditional off-line backup software, which often requires a business user to be on the office LAN. With the increasing popularity of laptops, the result is that important changes or files are often not backed up prior to an untimely hard disk crash, or even theft. SugarSync solves this problem with its real-time backup via any Internet connection.

Standout features

  • Real-time backup: The automatic real-time backup means that files are constantly kept in sync without the user ever having to bother with a manual update. Moreover, it also means that windows of vulnerability between backup sessions are also conveniently eliminated.
  • Syncs multiple computers: The ability of SugarSync to support multiple computer means that updates done on a home machine, for example, are automatically available in the office, and vice versa. What this means also is that even if the SugarSync service were to go out of business, your existing data is still safe: as long as you sync to at least one other computer.
  • Accessible from Smartphone platforms: The SugarSync team has created clients for all the major Smartphone platforms around today. This means that all files protected by SugarSync are available to these Smartphone users at any time.
  • Versioning capabilities: Its versioning capabilities mean that inadvertent actions such as overwriting of files or other mistakes can be easily averted. Deleted files and folders are also moved to an online deleted folder: and this has saved my skin at least once when I deleted an important folder and only realized it many days later.
  • Ability to share folders: This is one feature that many companies will find useful to drop off large files. Without the tedium of setting up an FTP site, files from selected folders can be shared with any number of colleagues and those files can also be password protected.

What's wrong?

  • Weak Administrative controls: While SugarSync offers a robust and easy way to assign user rights and passwords for the sharing of files and folders, the administrative controls are weak compared to a service such as Box.net. In the same vein, it is also not possible for an administrator to manage SugarSync users as a group.
  • Inability to restrict external access: Some companies might not like the ability for users to access their data from home computers. Unfortunately, SugarSync does not support an enterprise deployment with centralized control.
  • Lack of Linux support: If you are a Linux user, you will probably be disappointed that SugarSync does not have a Linux client at this point.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

SugarSync has so many capabilities that make it a must-have backup solution for end-users and businesses alike. However, one fairly big dent to its enterprise readiness is the absence of centralized management.

In the final analysis, I would heartily recommend SugarSync for companies that do not already have a robust real-time backup solution in place. After all, compliance and government regulations aside, it is probably better to have a backup than be left with nothing in the event of a catastrophic data loss.

User rating:

Have you encountered or used SugarSync Online Backup? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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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
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you use an online backup service? Have you been happy with it? Do you trust it?

ben.bergman
ben.bergman

They support all those smart phones but don't provide a Linux client? This service looks sweet (no pun intended) but the lack of full cross-platform support might not do it for me.

ozinga1
ozinga1

We have had success with both Iron Mountain and Mozy. Mozy has limitations like 30 day retension and the need to have 1.5 times the data to be backed up free, to do the encryption locally.

tuncerx
tuncerx

I use Syncplicity and it's almost perfect. It helps me with syncing my files between three computers (one at the office , one at home and a macbook pro (bootcamp:win7)) Unfortunately, there is no Macos client right now.

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