Cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive provide both safe data storage and the convenience of synching files across platforms.
But are they suitable for reliable, automated backups of PCs and other devices? Are they on par with backup-centric services such as Carbonite and Mozy?
On the surface, data synching and data backup serve very different purposes. You use services such as Dropbox to access and synchronize data across multiple Internet-connected devices. You also use those services to share files with others.
Backup, on the other hand, protects your data from fire, flood, hard drive crashes, and your own stupidity — such as when you accidentally overwrite the wrong file.
But cloud-based synching and backup services are in many ways very similar. Both require uploading your files (or some subset of the files) to what we assume is a highly secure and reliable online server, providing a level of protection that a local backup simply can’t match. And both types of services let you retrieve those files whenever needed.
That raises an obvious question. Do you need separate synching and backup services? Or will one serve for both purposes? If so, you’ll simplify the task of protecting your data — only one local app will be running in the background — and you’ll potentially save money.
If all you want is simple backup, online services such as Carbonite and Mozy would seem to be the obvious solution. But do they offer useful file synching across multiple devices? On the flip side, how well do the three most popular synching services work as online backup?