Amazon has just released a desktop client for its free online backup service, Amazon Cloud Drive. Decisions, decisions, decisions. So many cloud backup/file sync services, which one to choose!
Today, Google officially released Google Drive. Google drive is a file-sync/online backup solution from Google. It’s completely free and includes 5 GB of storage right out of the box. Additional storage can be purchased, if needed.
Thus far, Google Drive installed and synced very quickly. Google Drive functions much like Dropbox, in that only a specific folder on your computer will be synced by Google Drive. This means, you have to put your important files or files you want to have access to from multiple computers, within one specific folder. While this keeps Google Drive simple and straight-forward, we like the ability of programs such as SugarSync and Mozy, which let you select specific folders on your computer to include in your backup + file-sync.
Google Drive does however add Google Docs synchronization + offline functionality. This means you can work on documents and spread sheets while you’re offline (e.g. while traveling) and your documents will sync with Google Docs as soon as your Internet connection is restored.
Google Drive would also be a great solution for consignment store owners who wish to have a redundant + off-site backup. Just point your consignment software’s backup setting to your Google Drive folder – e.g. C:\Users\Dean\Documents\Google Drive – and your daily backups will be safely and securely backed-up to your Google account.
That’s what makes SugarSync so unique. It’s capable of keeping multiple files/folders in-sync across multiple computers. This is a huge help for those of us using multiple computers and who want to sync more than one folder. For example, I work on both my desktop and a laptop, as well as a few other systems. I also have my Android device. SugarSync is installed on each of these devices and instantly uploads and syncs any files that have been added or modified. If I’m working on a file on my laptop, by the time I walk back to my desktop, it’s already there waiting for me. If I’m in another location with my laptop and I edit a file, all of my other systems automatically receive the changes I made.
With the exception of ConsignPro, each of the consignment applications let you specify a default backup path – i.e. the place your consignment software will put a backup when you close the program each day.
The benefits to SugarSync are:
- Selective file backup, so you can pick individual files or specific folders to include in your sync process
- Instant upload, so files are uploaded and synced immediately
- 5 GB of storage
The drawbacks to SugarSync are:
- No scheduling feature
- Cannot backup files from or to an external drive
- Cannot specify individual files within a folder, only entire folders
Since ConsignPro does not offer a backup path setting, we do not recommend SugarSync for ConsignPro users.
Also, since SugarSync is file synchronization software, it is VERY important that you do NOT configure SugarSync to backup folders that contain dynamic files, such as consignment software database files. We have had a number of clients whose local techs installed Carbonite and configured it to backup consignment software databases. This is wrong and it will break your database, period. Any qualified tech would know to never use file synchronization software to backup live database files.
Think about how many little files you might work with, or want to work with, but can’t because you left the file at home. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the backups you made through your consignment software, were instantly saved to your home computer as well?
Remember, one copy of a file is not considered a backup. You need the file(s) to be backed-up to a different disk and even to a completely different location.
Mozy is a very powerful and easy to use backup solution. This is the backup solution The Computer Peeps recommend for most of our clients.
We recommend Mozy because it also has functionality to backup your files not online off-site, but also to an external hard drive. Redundancy is key when working with sensitive database backups, such as the ones generated by your consignment software.
We’ve been utilizing Mozy as our backup system for Peeps’ clients for nearly three years now. We haven’t had a single issue with Mozy and each time we’ve had to use it to recover files, it’s always worked without issue.
The benefits to Mozy are:
- Selective file backup, so you can pick individual files or specific folders to include in your backup process
- Scheduling feature, so backups only take place after-hours
- Handy “receipt” on your screen each morning, letting you know backups went without a hitch the previous night
The drawbacks to Mozy are:
- The free version only offers up to 2 GB worth of storage
- Mozy currently does not offer a file-sync solution (although Mozy Stash file sync is currently in public beta)
We really like Mozy’s selective backup option, especially when utilizing Mozy in conjunction with consignment software. While some of the consignment programs allow you to specify where your backups go by default, not all of them let you configure a backup path.
For example, ConsignPro has no backup option to tell it where to backup to each day. Instead, you must either let ConsignPro backup only to a specific drive letter OR to the default location in Program Files.
Liberty does let you set a backup path, but the RWMaint backup utility doesn’t. RWMaint is Liberty’s additional backup/database maintenance application. It will only store its special backups in one folder.
This is why Mozy’s great in both of these examples. Since the consignment programs don’t offer a path setting in the examples above, we can tell Mozy to go and get the files. Problem solved!
For the most part, Mozy is still the primary backup solution we recommend for clients.
Dropbox is a fantastic application. Dropbox lets provides you with one, simple folder in your My Documents folder. Anything you put in this folder is *magically* uploaded to your online Dropbox account. Install Dropbox on multiple computers, and anything you put in your Dropbox folder will be synced across all of your computers/devices.
We’ve been using Dropbox since they launched the service back in 2008 to keep important travel documents, files we frequently work with, etc. in-sync across all of my devices. It’s great when you can pull out your smartphone and grab a document you need while you’re on the road.
Dropbox is extremely lightweight, does not interfere with your system, does not slow it down, and it is extremely easy to use.
The benefits to using Dropbox are:
- Dropbox is free
- Simple – put your files in the Dropbox folder and they are synced.
- You can install Dropbox on as many of your computers as you’d like
The drawbacks to using Dropbox are:
- Dropbox will only sync one folder – you have to put anything you want to sync, in that folder.
- The free version only includes 2 GB worth of storage
For consignment software backups stored in a secure, off-site location, Dropbox can come in handy. Install Dropbox at home and your daily consignment software backups will automatically arrive on your home computer, long before you get home. Dropbox should NOT however, be utilized as “backup software” and instead should be utilized for the convenience of synchronizing files between multiple computers. Dropbox by design, is file-sync software.
As we discussed in the SugarSync article, not all consignment programs use the same backup methods. Since ConsignPro does not have a backup path option, you cannot tell ConsignPro to backup to your Dropbox folder. It’s for this reason that we do not recommend Dropbox for ConsignPro users.