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SafeSync: secure data backup in the cloud for everyone at last?

Manufacturer:
Trend Micro
Product Website:
URL Screenshot of http://us.tr…al/safe-sync/
Price:
$59.95 per year
Pros:
Absolute and automatically synchronised data backup, ease of use, access from anywhere, emphasis on security, fantastic value for money.
Cons:
Erm, the first data backup takes a while, otherwise nothing to see here...
Summary:
Once you appreciate that security is not just about data backup, but also data integrity and availability, then SafeSync starts to truly come alive. All your valuable data is always backed up, securely stored and made available whenever and wherever you need it. Where SafeSync really scores highly though is that it does this invisibly and quietly, without impacting on system resources while ensuring your files are always up to date and securely stored in the cloud. If ease of use, value for money and data security are of equal importance then SafeSync is the consumer data backup solution for you.
Rating:
9/10
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(happygeek)
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DaniWeb has looked at Network Attached Storage in the shape of the myDitto server which offers excellent value in terms of both cost and capacity . DaniWeb has looked at a personal cloud device in the very pink format of PogoPlug which is great for anytime and anywhere sharing . DaniWeb has even looked at traditional backup software which dispenses with your own hardware and moves your backup into the cloud, as exampled by the Acronis Online Backup product.

safesync000.jpgBest of all worlds

However, all of these have their own particular drawbacks be it complexity of setup and usage or maximum data storage restrictions to name but a couple. Wouldn't it be nice to have a totally secure data backup and sharing solution that 'just worked' without any hassle, didn't cost the earth and imposed no limits on storage capacity? In other words something that encompassed all the good bits of traditional NAS and backup solutions, and then threw in the advantages of the cloud as well? Enter SafeSync, a rebranded and revitalized incarnation of what used to be known as Humyo until Trend Micro acquired it.

Reasons to be cheerful

This is the same SafeSync that Trend Micro bundles for free with the Titanium Maximum Security 2011 product as reviewed by DaniWeb , so why would you want to pay $5 a month for it? Two reasons: 1. You may not have nor want the Trend Micro security suite. 2. The free bundled version has a maximum 10GB of data storage which may not be enough. You can add a third reason if you are in the market for a fire and forget data backup and sharing solution without storage limits but with some seriously impressive security credentials in terms of data encryption and access failsafes and safeguards: all of this peace of mind comes in at a rather reasonable $5 a month. If the value of your data isn't worth $5 a month then you either don't need to be backing it up in the first place or, as I suspect is more likely, you have seriously miscalculated that data valuation.

safesync001.jpgGetting started

Getting started really couldn't be simpler, although it would be nice if it were a tad quicker truth be told. You start by selecting the data you want to backup and keep synchronised using SafeSync, and this is made easy by using the data groups you are used to such as My Documents, My Music, My Videos, My Pictures, Favorites and Contacts.

safesync002.jpgThis may take some time

Once you've done this, you can sit back and relax. Or better still, go and do something else like read War and Peace or build a model of the Houses of Parliament out of matchsticks. In fairness, Trend Micro does pop up a screen which warns that "It may take some time for the first sync to complete but in future only the changes to your files will be transferred making syncs almost instant" although replacing 'some time' with 'best left to own devices overnight' would probably be more appropriate given my experience.

safesync006.jpgSpeed issues

On the plus side, you can get on with other stuff while SafeSync drags a copy of all your data onto its servers and a configuration setting is available that allows you to adjust how much of your broadband connectivity is devoted to file transfer and how much is left for web browsing and the like. As with all things SafeSync, Trend Micro have ensured that this is also dead easy by employing a simple slider with Fast Internet at one end and Fast Transfers at the other. Don't worry if you turn your computer off before the first sync has completed, SafeSync is clever enough to simply carry on where it left off when you switch it back on again.

safesync007.jpgSystem resource impact

Once you've successfully uploaded all your data initially, and got past the historical slowness of doing so, the good news is that SafeSync switches from marathon mode to stealthy 100 metres sprint mode. Seriously, not only does it work effectively in the background to the point where I actually had to check it was indeed still working during the first day of testing as I thought it might have shut itself down or gone into some kind of standby mode, so light (to the point of non-existent) was the impact on system resources, but it works incredibly speedily as well. Bearing in mind I decided to give SafeSync a run for its money in testing terms by installing it on far from the most powerful netbook the world has ever seen, I experienced no noticeable slow down in either web browsing or general productivity application usage. What's more, and just as impressively, every document I changed and every file I saved was instantaneously uploaded and synchronised in the cloud.

safesync010.jpgSystem restore?

This is, dear reader, data backup as it should be. What it isn't, of course, is a system restore solution nor a drive imaging solution. There is no big restore button to get you out of trouble if aliens zap your hard drive, but there is peace of mind in knowing that the important stuff (your data) is not only all still there but bang up to date (no worrying about when you last actually ran that full backup routine) but also instantly available on whatever device you have around to grab it. What that means, in my real world at least, is if my netbook is stolen or, more likely, left in the back of taxi or on the train, then the document I had been working on for the meeting I was attending will still be there, in the cloud, and accessible on my iPhone or using a desktop machine at my destination as if nothing had happened. When I get back to the office or return home, same thing for me as it happens, that data will also be available to sync with another netbook, laptop or desktop. Applications are easy to reinstall, especially if you are like me and most of them are in the cloud anyway, it is my data that is most valuable. SafeSync completely understands this, and ensures that my valuable data is always available no matter what spanners I may throw in the works to confound that goal.

safesync009.jpgAutomatic sync

Let's look at the how and why of that statement shall we? For a start SafeSync offers truly unlimited data backup without scheduling. This removes the double-edged worry of most traditional, and many cloud-based, backup solutions of 'have I run the backup routine today?' and 'do I have enough storage space for this backup, or will I have to upgrade to the next service level payment band?' For me, removing scheduling from the equation is an absolute godsend. After all, I have yet to experience a hard drive failure or theft that happened on schedule. The continuous and automatic backup and, equally importantly, synchronization of my data by SafeSync circumvents scheduling altogether yet without impacting upon system performance. As long as the SafeSync synchronization client is installed on every device you want to sync with, everything is handled automatically.

safesync011.jpgSafeSync and secure

Of course, all of this is for nothing if your data is not secure. It is this issue of security that keeps many from moving data backup into the cloud, where that security issue is being palmed off to a third party, and firmly in the physical hardware territory of the NAS device. However, that's where SafeSync scores a truly massive hit: Trend Micro comes with a 20 year history of securing data on the desktop and managing Internet content security. If you are going to trust your data to someone in the cloud, then you could do a lot worse than opting for that outfit to be a long established security vendor. So what does Trend Micro SafeSync bring to the data security table? How about financial institution grade 256-bit AES encryption for data transfer, a permissions-based structure requiring specific permission to view any file to act as a failsafe against software bugs, security industry standard (as you might expect from a security vendor) firewalls to defend the cloud infrastructure hardware, plus load balancing and multiple independent storage clusters with continuous backup to ensure your data is always available when you want it. Oh, and in case you were worried about data privacy, Trend Micro promises that nobody at their end will access your files without your prior permission.

System requirements

Trend Micro SafeSync works with Windows 7 (32 & 64-bit), including Windows 7 Starter Edition, Window Vista SP2 (32 & 64-bit), Windows XP SP3 (32-bit only), Mac OSX 10.5.8 or later and 10.6 or later and supports the following web browser clients: Internet Explorer 7.x & 8.x (32-bit & 64-bit), Firefox 3.5 and higher, Safari for Mac 4.x and 5.x, Chrome 5.x, iPhone Safari and Windows Mobile IE.

Attachments safesync000.jpg 43.58KB safesync001.jpg 47.23KB safesync002.jpg 40.89KB safesync006.jpg 55.95KB safesync007.jpg 56.65KB safesync010.jpg 20.04KB safesync009.jpg 61.17KB safesync011.jpg 102.8KB
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Davey Winder

I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .

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Phinessence
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Thank you Davey. Your review has answered my main concerns about securely backing up to the cloud and remembering to schedule to do so.

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happygeek
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Glad that you found the review helpful in coming to a decision about using the cloud for data backup.

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Martin B
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54 posts since Oct 2010
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I think you ought to declare your interest:


SafeSync - PC Pro not-so-special offer will cost you double

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mariehelene
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SafeSync now limits size ? New pricing !!![

Unfortunatly price and space limits changed a lot since that reveiw was done

I loved Safesyn reliability, versioning and illimited size
But, in march, I just noticed that "illimited" it was no more.

Actually, a new pricing had been offered, as a new limit for accounts size.
It seem now that our SafeSYnc accounts are (or will be) limited to 20 GB for $50, 50 GB for $90 or 100 GB for $149...

click on http://us.trendmicro.com/us/products/personal/safe-sync/ , then on "pricing"

That mean a big increase for the next years for Trend Micros safesyn client. What it just à bait ???
After doing publicity and getting all the fantastic review on the net for your "illimited" theyx change all the asset, price and limit.

The increase is huge:
Consider that they are still may illimited alternative, as Carbonite, Backblaze or OnlineStorageSolution, for a very low price (like yours before or quite lower).

Beside they are many free solutions, like Microsoft SkyDrive, (free 25 GB) Medaiamax (free 25GB) or ADrive (free 50 GB !!! ), absolutely free, and offering more GB storage than this new Safefync20 !!!

Candies are nice... But won't replace the promised meal.
And what about about the trust ?

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happygeek
veganarchist
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I think you ought to declare your interest:


SafeSync - PC Pro not-so-special offer will cost you double

I have no interest to declare. I am a freelance writer, one of the publications I contribute to is PC Pro. I have no interest in, or even awareness of, the marketing deals that the publisher (Dennis Publishing) does with various vendors. Indeed, until you pointed it out (and I'm sorry I missed your comment at the time of posting) I had no idea PC Pro even had such an offer.

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happygeek
veganarchist
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SafeSync now limits size ? New pricing !!!

That's a shame, and as you say does limit the appeal somewhat... :(

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Bizywk
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I have been a customer of Trend's SafeSync since late last year. During the pairing process, it went backwards into my local hard drive and systematically destroyed thousands of family photos and other files. I called the help desk early this spring and was told they don't support the system deferring me to an email help desk. I'm 8 months into this troublecall paying for this service waiting for someone there to finally figure out how to restore my files. They refuse to talk to me on the phone and ask the same questions over and over, then stop responding. With my experience, I absolutely cannot recommend this service and wonder how on earth they could be rated so highly by many reviewers - maybe they never tried it. The reviewers keep listing the phone bank as great customer service. hmmmm

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PeterM88
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Nearly a year since I subscribed.
During that time, they have dleted files on my hard drive without warning. Leaving folders in place. Support does NOT want to know.
Service times out.
Backup are meant to be safe. Please... do NOT trust this backup.

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