With the number of online backup services that are available at the moment, it can be hard to sift through and find that one that really offers something unique. One service that works well for backup purposes that you might not have otherwise considered is Syncplicity. As the name suggests, Syncplicity focuses primarily on, and is best known for, providing a comprehensive syncing service. However, depending on how much data you need to back up, Syncplicity can also work well as an affordable, versatile backup service.

The Basics

Syncplicity is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Some of the developers are former Microsoft employees, so it’s no surprise that Syncplicity integrates very well with Windows, but it is a bit disappointing that there is currently no offering for the Mac platform.

Users can choose between Syncplicity’s Personal and Business Editions; the Personal Edition is $15 US per month and provides access for one user, up to five computers, and 50GB of storage space. The Business Edition starts at $45 per month and allows at least three users, 50GB of storage, and access to files for an unlimited number of computers. Business Edition users can also purchase additional storage ($10 per 10GB) and user accounts ($15 per user per month).

Syncplicity also offers a decent free option, which caps out at 2GB of storage and two computers. From a storage perspective, these packages position Syncplicity as more of a specialty provider, as opposed to heavy-duty online backup services like Mozy and Carbonite.

The Pros

No matter what sort of user you are, something you’re sure to like about Syncplicity is how easy it is to use. The Syncplicity client is very streamlined, and downright beautiful compared to the rather clunky UIs offered by some of its competitors. This is especially true for enterprise users thanks to Syncplicity’s organizational Console module. This https-based tool allows network administrators to manage user accounts, set policies, and take care of Syncplicity-related tasks in a clean, simple environment; the Console has a number of really handy additional features. It notifies users by email whenever they are invited to the user group, and policies are broken down into several categories for added flexibility.

It’s all the more impressive that Syncplicity manages to be so intuitive when it packs in a significant list of features that aren’t offered by other backup or syncing utilities. Syncplicity offers integration with a number of other online services including Google Docs, Picnik (for photo editing), Scribd (for previewing documents), and Zoho (for document editing). Even if you’re working from a computer that doesn’t have the Syncplicity software installed, you can access your files, as well as detailed information about them, via the web.

The Cons

The emphasis upon syncing means that Syncplicity offers quite a few features that you can’t find with other online backup service options. At the same time, it follows that Syncplicity’s service isn’t tailored specifically to completely backup-centric users. The biggest disadvantage to Syncplicity, from a backup perspective, is the relatively small amount of storage space it offers. Although Business Edition users can purchase additional storage space without limits, the costs can add up if you end up backing up a lot of data, whereas services like Carbonite offer unlimited storage at a flat rate.

The Verdict

If you need to back up hundreds of gigabytes of data, Syncplicity probably isn’t your best option. On the other hand, if you’re not quite as concerned about storage space, Syncplicity is definitely worth considering. Its expanded feature set is likely to include something you’ll find useful, especially if you use multiple Windows-based computers.

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