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Long Term Personal Data Storage

These days, with more than half of our waking hours spent online, people are generating more and more personal electronic data that they can’t afford to lose. From photos and videos to professional office documents, data has taken an all-important role in our daily lives. We have all heard of or even faced horrific situations, in which precious data has been irretrievably lost due to a hard drive failure or some other problem.

This brings us to the matter of online backup, increasingly known as ‘cloud storage’. Basically speaking, this is a method by which your data is securely transferred over the internet, for safe keeping on a remote server. It can then be restored to your primary computer, should you ever need this. These days, most online backup services offer synchronization features, where you can be sure to have the latest versions of your files always available, should something untoward happen to your primary computer. This is very handy indeed.

How Do I Choose the Best Storage Service for my Data?

With the amount of online backup options available all over the internet, each claiming to be better than the rest, it has become very difficult to choose the best one. The top ten data storage services are reviewed here. Here are also a few questions to ask yourself, which can help when you are facing such a decision:

How Many Computers am I Backing Up?

There are a lot of options to choose from if you are dealing with only a single computer. However, if you have more than one computer or device at home and want a comprehensive backup plan for all of them, it’s best you stick to companies which specifically offer multiple home computer backups, like SugarSync and Mozy, for example.

How Much Storage do I Really Need, and What’s my Budget?

These two questions can turn out to be the most important criteria for determining which online backup company you go with. Limited backup solutions like Amazon Cloud Drive can come for as little as less than $2/month while prices can go up to $8.25/month for cloud solutions such as DropBox. It’s best to go for something which you can easily afford and which offers excellent value for money. If you go for something in the range of about $5/month, you get the best of both worlds!

Also make sure that you are really clear about the amount of space you need for online backup. It is a good idea to go for a package that allows you to add space when you need it, for a minimal price increase. Remember that as time goes by, you will constantly be adding more and more data to your online cloud storage.

How Secure is my Data?

It’s best to go with a company that has been in business for at least a few years. Make sure they use 128-bit encryption, which will give you the same level of data security as your bank. Read the fine print of all contracts, to make sure that you are the only person who will have access to your data. It is worth noting that Google offers a free online storage service, but will trawl through your data in order to ‘improve their services’ to you, whatever that means!

Am I Entitled to Technical Support and Other Additional Features?

Even though online backup services are very easy to use, you may have problems at some point in time. It’s best to invest in a company that offers free technical support. Otherwise, you might have to spend a lot of time looking through online forums, trying to find solutions to your problem. Decide in the beginning whether you can do without 24/7 online tech support, however, as this might involve some added costs. If your need for access to the data is not absolutely urgent, then it’s best to go for a plan involving a limited but helpful amount of technical support from the providers, be it through online chat or live telephone support.

Final Considerations

When it comes to backing up your personal data, there are now so many services available that it’s wise to shop around. Choose the provider that best fulfills your needs, and don’t go for additional features that will cost extra amounts of cash and ultimately be useless to you.