By Paul Niemeyer
May 19, 2013
Quick summary and verdict
SOS Online Backup is one of the top of the line cloud storage services in the market, and is the optimal choice for users that want a premium service with additional services across multiple devices. While the strength of this services is its versatility, interface as well as the numerous specialized features that are lacking in competitors, it does have a glaring limitation in its data storage, being limited to 50 gigabytes or 100 gigabytes of storage, depending on the plan.
This is especially hard to justify for users considering the hefty price tag of the service, being at the high end of cloud storage services, so users that have a large amount of data may want to reconsider alternatives like JustCloud.
- Versatile cloud storage and backup solution
- Hefty price tag
- limited storage options
Is SOS Online Backup Something For You?
The target market for the SOS online backup service is users that want a convenient and professional cloud data backup service across multiple devices. The limitation of 50 GB or 100 GB is pretty significant and likely to alienate users that have a large amount of data (like me). Even though I prefer unlimited cloud storage option (such as JustCloud) I want to give SOS Online Backup a fair shot since it has been reviewed highly by some of the bigger PC magazines.
The price can be particularly glaring, at $75 per year for a two year contract, with additional price plans for additional data, when competitors have larger or even unlimited data plans at similar price points. It can also serve as a supplementary service to cloud backup services that store more data, since the strengths of this service includes its triple encryption of data, since data is encrypted on the computer, during transmission as well as on the SOS Online side. This means that users can store their more important data and program files on SOS Online Backup with minimal fears of security problems or other people having access to their files.
- Very secure, thanks to triple encryption
- Starts from 50GB
- A lot of features
SOS Online Backup was founded in 2001 and headquartered in El Segundo, California, with offices in India, Ukraine and Australia. The company has twelve data centers around the world, with the highest concentration being in the United States, where it has six data centers. It is known as one of the cloud storage and backup systems with the most secure encryptions among comparable services.
Backing files up
The interface and process of setting up SOS Online Backup was very intuitive and user-friendly. Users need to create their account on the SOS Online Backup website before using the service, as well as installing the SOS Online Backup software onto their computer.
First time users are guided through the process of the initial backup, while advanced users will find that there are customization options available to them as well. There is the option of storing files locally as well as online, and users can schedule automatic backups according to different intervals of time depending on personal preference.
You can also access customer support in the form of live chat operators as electronic tickets. In addition, SOS Online Backup also includes a Live Protect feature, which allows users to select important files to constantly update and be backed up on the local or online servers.
The actual process of backing up files online is largely limited by the user’s own internet speed, although SOS itself officially stated 5 megabits per second transfer speeds, which supposedly beats out its competitors Mozy and Carbonite significantly. However, actual rates of online backup can vary significantly depending on a user’s computer as well as internet speed.
However, one of the key features missing from SOS Online Backup is prediction of the time required to complete the task, which is something that most competitors have. On the other hand, the SOS progress bar does show more detail, although it is hard for users to gauge how long the process will take when dealing with large file transfers.
In addition, SOS Online backup allows users to perform data backups locally. Generally, it is not advisable for users to backup their data on the same external hard drives that they currently have the data located on, since backups are primarily to hedge against hard drive failure.
Nevertheless, users may find this useful if they have a large external hard drive they can store in a safe environment. Storing files locally is much faster than performing an online backup because the speed of transfer is limited by the speed at which the USB cable transfers data instead of internet speeds.
In addition, there is also the option of users locally backing up their data and then mailing it to SOS for them to upload to their servers. This may be a good option for users with limited bandwidth or slow internet speeds.
Restoring files on SOS Online Backup is intuitive as well. Users can provide parameters for the files they want restored, or be presented a list of the files they have backed up.
They can select the directory to which they want to download the restored files. Furthermore, SOS Online Backup never deletes any files removed from online backup, which means that users can always recover files they have deleted. Overall, restoring files is simple and relatively painless from SOS Online Backup.
You can also restore your files from the web. So even if you’re on vacation or on a business trip you can get a hold of your most important files.
SOS Ultrasafe is the name of the private password program that users can use on top of the triple encryption of their data. It restricts access to users that have the password, and even SOS itself cannot access the folders protected by Ultrasafe.
One of the most important and versatile features of SOS is the excellent support for mobile devices, including iPhones and Android. This means that users can use their mobile devices as part of their online backup plan. Users can also share files and view files on their SOS account, which allows SOS to go beyond the services of an online backup service.
Final verdict and recommendation
SOS Online Backup is a strong cloud storage and backup program with unique strengths, such as its versatile mobile support, file sharing capabilities, and triple encryption security, but also a fatal flaw in its limited data options. This means that while the other features are attractive and useful, they are limited by the inherent weakness in the program as an online backup plan, and makes SOS Online Backup difficult to completely justify at their price point.