Many online backup services are available today, and choosing one is becoming more and more difficult. They all offer online backup, but the features can vary considerably from one service to another, so finding one with the most useful features can be a hard task.
The need for backing up data to an online storage solution is essential for most people today because they commit so much to their PCs. Businesses need them to ensure that their files, and those of their clients, are accessible should disaster strike their computers, and individuals are coming to realise that they are the ideal way to keep their files, including photos and music, as well as household documents, safe.
SpiderOak – What does it Offer?
Accessing SpiderOak’s ‘Live the Cloud Life’ link, brings the user to a ‘Defining the Cloud’ page, which describes what the service does, and highlights the four main principles on which it is based, which are:
‘Backing up and Storing all of your data – regardless of platform (Mac, Windows, Linux) or remote device (external hard-drive, network volume, USB key).
Synchronizing and/or Sharing any combination of folders across any combination of machines.
Accessing all the data you have stored from any machine throughout your network.
Consistently maintaining ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy.
SpiderOak works with Windows XP, 2000, 7, and Vista, as well as Mac OS X, Linux package for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and openSUSE’.
Backup and Sync
The service automatically backs up data, including any additions or changes to the user’s backup set. It is then stored securely and privately on his SpiderOak Network. Files can be backed up with one online service from desktops, laptops, servers and network drives, and from different devices, such as USB keys, external drives, and other types of removable media in the users SpiderOak Network.
SpiderOak syncs folders over multiple operating systems and PCs, using its free online sync feature.
Data is accessible from any device on the user’s SpiderOak Network, at any time, and from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. Files can be accessed via the website or a mobile device by way of a password which stays, in encrypted memory only, in SpiderOak’s server for the length of that particular browsing session. As soon as the session is over, the password is destroyed leaving no trace behind it, ensuring that no-one without the user’s authority will be able to access his stored data.
To share files, users will need to create a ‘Share Room’, to which they, and those to whom they have given permission, will have access. The Share Room can then be accessed, from the SpiderOak homepage, by way of a unique URL, or by the user’s ‘ShareID and Room Key’. This enables family, friends, colleagues, and clients, to share his files.
Historical versions of every file are kept by SpiderOak, ensuring that all versions, whether they be the most recent, or those to which changes have been applied, are available whenever they are needed. To save space, it will only upload the parts of files that have been changed.
SpiderOak uses a ‘layered approach’ to security combining 2048-bit RSA (RSA Data Security) and 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). Outer-level keys are encrypted using 256-bit AES. The user encrypts his own key, making it impossible for anyone else to breach the encryption. To access his files, the user follows a protocol that proves that he knows the password, without having to divulge it. Known as the ‘user authentication process’, it requires that the server challenges the user to provide three data items in order for him to gain access.
SpiderOak’s price plans are simple and straightforward. The user has two choices; a free account, which includes a full feature-set, backup, syncing, sharing, data access, and storage for an unlimited number of computers. This account provides 2GB (gigabyte) of file storage, and can be kept for a lifetime, if necessary.
The SpiderOak+ Account costs $10 per month but, if a year’s plan is taken out, the user gets twelve months for the cost of ten). This provides 100GB storage; further 100GB increments can be added, each costing a further $10 per month.
SpiderOak is confident that the answers to most questions will be found by accessing the FAQs page, or ‘Engineering Matters’; these are comprehensive and informative, so they may well be right, but most users will want more direct access to support just in case they have problems that are not addressed on the site. There is no telephone number for assistance; instead, users are invited to email for support, and they are assured that a ‘real live human’ will take care of them; the details give no indication of how soon users can expect a response.
The ‘Engineering Matters’ page gives in-depth descriptions of SpiderOak’s features, which many users will find useful. The FAQs section is just as helpful, and many issues are addressed there.
SpiderOak has useful video tutorials, too, which explain how each of the features work.
A great personal touch comes by default with SpiderOak; accessing the ‘about us’ page produces a list of the SpiderOak team members and, by clicking into the name of each one, the user will find a brief description of him or her, their role in the company, and even a globe showing their geographical position.
The price plans are simplicity itself to understand, with no complicated packages to work out, and even the free plan comes with all the features, and can be kept forever.
SpiderOak is a simple to understand service which will suit users with varying needs. The FAQs and ‘Engineering Matters’ pages are packed with useful and interesting information. The only drawback to this online backup provider is the lack of a telephone number for support.