Tag Archives: backup data

Amazon Cloud Drive offers free 5 GB online storage

There is a new player in the online backup marketplace and it is Amazon.com: you can now have 5 GB of online storage free of charge, to store files of any kind, including music, videos, pictures, or other types of documents!

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It’s very easy to start using it: all you need to do is log in to your existing Amazon.com account (who does not have one yet?) and click on the Upload files button to begin uploading your files to the storage. Or, click on the Cloud Drive button to see the files and folders that are already there. Right, all you need is a web browser and an Amazon.com account, and you are good to go.

Before you jump in, though, take time to actually read the Terms and Conditions for the Cloud Drive service displayed when you first attempt to upload files. There are a few portions of them worth considering (and remembering!). Such as:

5.3.Security. We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject 
to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they 
are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, 
protection and backup of Your Files.

That is, don’t assume the files you put in the Cloud Drive will be absolutely safe. Always have a backup of your important files elsewhere, to be able to restore them in case of a problem with the Cloud Drive service. Another interesting paragraph from the Terms and Conditions:

5.2.Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and 
disclose your account information and Your Files...

This tells us that the files you upload to Cloud Drive are NOT encrypted with a private key that only you have access to: Amazon can have a look into your files if they decide they want to. Keep that in mind, and if a file has a secret you don’t want anyone else to see, do NOT upload it to Cloud Drive, or encrypt the file with strong encryption before uploading it.

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Will Amazon Cloud Front create a strong competition to other online backup solutions such as Dropbox, Mozy, or CrashPlan? Not yet. Not until Amazon adds some sort of automatic file synchronization functionality, like these services offer. Still, if you don’t mind handling the backups manually, and have the discipline to do it regularly, Amazon Cloud Drive is certainly a service to consider.

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Always have a backup of your important files

If you have files that are important to you, make sure you always have a good backup of them!

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There are many ways to lose your files. For example, your hard drive may die. (Just search for such problems on the web, you will see how often it happens!) When you replace the hard drive and use the restore discs to make your computer work again, you get the computer in the state as it was when you first bought it, without your own files that you’ve added later. Without a good backup, you won’t have them anymore.

Or, consider a virus infection: some viruses may damage your system so badly that only a complete reformat of the hard drive may get rid of the virus. Again, without a backup, you won’t have your files back after that.

Or, the software that you use (including our software!) may have programming errors that may cause your files to be lost. Or, there may be a human error: you could press a wrong button somewhere that would cause your files to disappear, and not notice that until it’s too late.

The loss of files may happen unexpectedly. For example, consider the Windows Upgrade procedure. When you upgrade to Windows 10 (or to Windows 8, or 7) from a previous version of Windows, the Microsoft upgrade program makes a copy of all files that you have in the My Documents and other such folders. However, if it encounters a file that it cannot access (because, for example, you’ve used a file protection software, such as our Folder Guard or MySecretFolder, to hide or lock the file with a password, then Windows Upgrade program may skip such a file without giving you any opportunity to unlock the file. When it finishes the upgrade, it restores all documents it had saved before, except, of course, the files that were protected by the software. As a result, you would no longer have the protected files after the upgrade.

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You may feel the desire to blame the file protection software for that, but when you think of it, the software was just doing the job it was designed to do: it was protecting the files that you wanted to be protected! It should be the Windows Upgrade responsibility to alert you about any files that it could not copy, shouldn’t it?

In any case, the easy solution to any such problem would be to just restore the files from the backup.

If you don’t have a backup of your important files yet, then stop whatever you are doing and do a backup now. And set up a schedule to keep doing the backup regularly, to have the latest updates to your files saved, as well. If you use our folder protection software (Folder Guard or MySecretFolder), do not forget to disable the protection before starting the backup, because our software may keep protecting the files from the backup program, too! Always verify that the backup set that you’ve created actually has all the important files of yours, including those protected by our software!

There are many online backup services, such as SpiderOak or DropBox, that offer very cheap or even free online backup options. If you don’t like the online services, get an external hard drive, they are so cheap these days. The number of the available options is large, and it’s inexcusable to have no backup of your important files, period.

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