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.
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.
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.
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?