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SOS Online Backup offers a lifeline to those concerned about data privacy

Online backup is a great thing, and there are a lot of companies offering it. But many farm out your data to storage sub-contractors and are reluctant to share even basic facts about how they go about their business. Even large concerns such as Microsoft and Google are reticent to provide details. SOS Online Backup owns all its own data centers and is very forthcoming about how they handle your data. Add affordable pricing, online access, and support for mobile devices and you have a storage service worthy of the name.

SOS provides a variety of plans. For a single PC, unlimited backup is $5 a month if you sign up for a year, and only $4.16 or $3.61 a month if you opt for two or three years. If you want to back up five PCs with unlimited data, the family plan is $20.83 a month with a year signup, $17.08 for two years, and $16.11 for three years. There's also a business plan with unlimited PCs and devices starting for $70 a month for 250GB and $120 for 500GB. That drops to as low as $45.25 and $77.77 with a three-year contract.

As you may have gathered, I find SOS's openness about its storage facilities refreshing. Of course, it's easy to toot your own horn when you run your own data centers in 11 different locations covering every continent save Antarctica. SOS employs regular industry standard inspections and practices geographical redundancy, aka, make off-site backups.

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SOS offers both online and local backup.

If you sign up with an agent via a phone call, SOS transmits data from your PC or devices using what the company calls UltraSafe Max where your encryption keys never hit the Internet. This means a government subpoena can't force SOS to turn over your data. Currently if you sign up online, you're only using UltraSafe (regular) and the keys do hit the cloud. Not an issue for most folks. Starting with version 6 of the SOS client software, you'll be able to use the Max version under any circumstance.

My gripes with SOS Online Backup are exceedingly minor. It was far more difficult to find the downloads page from the main account page than it should be, and the client on the PC didn't seem to want to be interrupted while it was searching out data. On the other hand, it searches most important file types and video, something you have to pay extra for with Carbonite. It also offers local backup, however, there's no facility to clone the online backup job, i.e. simply choose to back up the same files locally that you're backing up online. You must choose them again without the search facility. SOS promised a fix for this in the next full revision of the client software. You may also back up network locations, but only as mapped drives. Note that shadow copy doesn't work over the network, so files that are locked might be skipped.

I had zero issues with my trial run on SOS Online Backup. There was no system slowdown during backups and the client software is well-behaved. Signup and use are smooth experiences. You can say that about most services these days, but I like the fact that I know where my backups are going with SOS.

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