We’re getting closer to the day when practical internet based storage will be a reailty for non-technical small business users and oridnary consumer. This will be huge. Wouldn’t it be nice if users could setup a backup system that backs up simply and easily over the internet? No more manual backups, forgetting to backup, or dealing with technical and location limitations of a local backup system.
While a number of companies have offered internet based backup in the past, it hasn’t really been a practical solution for users connecting via consumer broadband. Consumer broadband offers great download speeds but upload speeds are terrible. Backing up a large amount of data via DSL at a ~100kbps upload speed is impractically slow.
But broadband is getting better all the time and I think the new crop of online storage providers are anticipating better upload speeds with consumer broadband. Hopefully in the not too distant future we should be able to drag and drop files to a remote backup server somewhere on the internet just as we drag and drop files on our PC’s hard disks.
My only experience with internet based storage is with the Streamload service. It’s still slow when uploading via a consumer broadband connection, and it’s user interface could be better, but it offers unlimited storage for a small fee. You only pay when you download that storage. I think of Streamload as a kind of data insurance system. It isn’t really suited for dragging and dropping files back and forth but it’s nice to know it’s there in case of catastrophe.
For some better information there’s a good review here of some of the up and coming online storage providers.
Also: Some say beware the backup capabilites of Google’s just released Desktop 3. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “The privacy problem arises because the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986, or ECPA, gives only limited privacy protection to emails and other files that are stored with online service providers-much less privacy than the legal protections for the same information when it’s on your computer at home.”
I guess that goes for Google as well as all future online storage providers. As online storage grows it would be nice to see the ECPA modifed in some way to protect our rights. Living in a more networked world doesn’t mean we have to give up our rights.
Ah the future, so cool, and so creepy.