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Cloud backups seem like a straightforward concept. You set it up, it backs up your files, the end. But in truth, cloud backups are much more than that. Here are five nifty, albeit lesser-known, cloud backup features that might just come in handy.
1. Pure Privacy
Why? Spideroak encrypts your data on your home computer before transporting it, and it remains encrypted during storage as well. Even Spideroak itself has no idea what you are storing, making it the perfect service for those who want to keep their embarrassing high school snapshots away from prying eyes (why did you think that perm was a good idea?).
2. Idle Backups
Leading cloud backup providers offer idle backups as a standard feature. Idle backups are like little digital elves that work while you are away. They conduct backups even while your computer is idle, so you don’t lose any bandwidth while you are watching Netflix.
3. Multi-Destination Backups
Cloud backups aren’t limited to the cloud anymore. Some of the more advanced cloud backup providers, including Crashplan and SOS, support multi-destination automatic backups. Destinations can include:
- External hard drives
- Extra computers
- A friend’s computer
- The cloud (of course).
With multi-destination backups, users can capitalize on the strengths of each type of backup. Cloud backups are the most secure type of backup, since they are kept in secure servers (sometimes in multiple geographic locations). However, restoring a whole computer’s worth of data from a cloud backup takes time because of limited bandwidth.
Restoring from a local backup (like an external hard drive, or even a remote backup like a friend’s computer), takes very little time. But if both your computer and your friend’s computer crashed, if you had multi-destination backups, you could still restore from the cloud backup.
This is another standard feature, and cloud backup providers often choose to offer it free with their plans. Apps for both iPhone and android let users access and download any of their data from their smartphones. That means you can download your own media, such as music and video, on the go.
5. Computer Location
iPhone owners are probably familiar with the Locate my iPhone feature, which locates an iPhone using GPS signals if the device is lost or stolen. Backblaze offers a comparable feature with its service. For customers who lose their data due to theft or physical computer loss, this ability is a godsend. Not only will the customer will able to access and restore their data, they stand a fair change of recovering their entire computer.
This is just a small number of the dozens of helpful features included with cloud backup plans. Many plans let users share files, access deleted files, and sync across devices, to name a few other features. Want to know the specifics for a certain provider? Take a look at our reviews.