Off-site backup guards your data against fire, flood and most acts of the gods.
With broadband connections becoming more reliable and more efficient, online backup has become a viable option for many home users.
BullGuard Backup 8.0 provides a year's subscription to an online drive of up to 10GB, with an option to use local back-up sources for any other data.
BullGuard Backup excels in ease of use. Once you've installed the program and registered for your subscription it makes setting up and scheduling backups easy.
A wizard guides you through the process of selecting files for backup and setting a schedule. By default, the backup runs when your computer is idle to avoid taking up bandwidth when you need to use it.
The online drive integrates with Windows Explorer, enabling you to open it and drag files to it at any time. This is useful because it means that you can access files without needing to launch the program itself.
One of the concerns with backing up online is the safety of your data, both in transit and when it's stored remotely. BullGuard automatically encrypts data during transfer to prevent it being intercepted en route and it's also possible to opt to encrypt back-up data when stored.
This is belt and braces stuff because your online drive is password protected, but it provides some assurance should your account details be discovered by someone else.
You can access your online drive from other PCs using your username and password. This is handy should you be out and about and need to access a file. Browse to BullGuard's site at www.bullguard.com and sign in to download files from your online drive.
The £25 annual subscription provides 10GB storage, along with the ability to back up locally. If you need more online space you can buy additional gigabytes for around £5 per gig per year.
This is expensive compared to a back-up service like Mozy Home that offers unlimited backup for $4.95 per month (around £2.50), which works out at roughly £30 per year. This makes Mozy a cheaper option for anyone wanting backup space online over 11GB, but BullGuard's offering is more attractive to people who are interested in smaller back-up drives.
The default drive size is ample for most home use, but anyone wishing to archive vast quantities of high-resolution photos and videos may soon find the space filled.
When considering such large online drives it's only natural to be concerned about the amount of bandwidth being used for backups. BullGuard compresses data during transit to minimise the impact on your Internet connection. However, online backup should be avoided if you use a capped connection.
This is true whatever service you choose because there's no point in safeguarding your data, only to be hit by penalty fees for exceeding your ISP's data limit. Some connections offer bigger limits during off-peak hours, in which case you can schedule BullGuard to back up during these times.
For technically minded people there are alternatives to BullGuard Backup that work out cheaper, like the free but totally unsupported Gmail drive.
However, BullGuard's ease of use and its high level of support make this a service well worth considering. It's a strong contender for a set-and-forget back-up solution.