Folders

If you’re thinking of using an online storage service, these are the features to consider. Not all services offer all features – make sure you select one that gives you the features you need.

Local and online backup
Allows you to backup your data to a local hard drive or to another computer as well as to online servers, so you have access to all your files to do a full restore in the event of a major crash.

Cross platform support
Handy if you use a combination of Windows, Mac and Linux computers, so you can access and share your files across different operating systems.

Compression
Makes your files smaller, taking less time to backup and restore. Some services use smart compression, which identifies duplicate files, or parts of files, and only backs them up once, saving both time and space.

Encryption
Provides for your files to be encrypted before they leave your computer, protecting them from access by any third party while in transit and while stored on the remote server’s hard drives.

Mobile access
Allows access to your data via smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Android OS phones and Windows Mobile-based handsets.

Multiple backups
Uses one account to store files online from more than one computer. Some services backup multiple computers to one account, each with their own settings, at no extra charge.

Multiple sources
Means you can select more than one folder on your hard drive as the folder to be backed up. This lets you backup different types of data (for example, documents and pictures) without having them in the same folder or having to backup the whole drive.

Continuous monitoring for file changes
Keeps an eye on files that are new or changed and backs them up at the first opportunity, depending on your settings. This incremental backup can give you an up-to-the-minute safeguard against data loss.

Data sharing
Data-sharing with other users via password-protected web browser access can be useful, or sharing photos with online services such as Facebook or Flickr.

Versioning
Useful for going back to an earlier version of a file that has been changed in error, or for tracking changes.

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