SugarSync – For Backups, Archiving and Sharing.

Image representing SugarSync
Image via CrunchBase

I am continuously encouraging individuals and businesses to make backups of their systems. I am continually shocked by the number of individuals who take no steps to protect their data against a catastrophic failure and repeatedly see clients who ask, “So…can you get my documents off this computer?” Far too often I have to tell them that I cannot, that it might be possible to if the drives are sent to a data specialist – but the cost will be steep and even then the results not assured.

There is no reason for anyone to be without a backup of their sensitive and important data. In the past this was a time consuming and costly endeavor – now it is simple and inexpensive. One service (among many) that can assist in this area is SugarSync. SugarSync provides you with 2 GB of free storage – no strings attached. This is enough to cover your critical documents – but won’t be enough for those thousands of pictures you’ve taken with your digital camera. But for $5 a month you can get yourself 30 GB (this is what I have) – which should be enough for most enthusiasts – though probably not enough for those with large music collections (they have even larger subscriptions for you – still at reasonable prices).

Let me highlight just a few of the reasons I love SugarSync:

  • Versioning: SugarSync backs up your files – but what happens if you have a Word document and you make an edit to it and then save it? Does your old file get overwritten on SugarSync? No! SugarSync keeps the old version and the new version – and allows you to roll back to older versions. This is a huge feature – extremely useful.
  • Syncing: SugarSync allows you to install the client on multiple computers/devices that then synchronize files between the systems – in my case this includes my home laptop, home desktop, and work desktop. Now you can access your files from anywhere – make edits from anywhere – and know you are always using the latest copy of your file.
  • Simple Web-Based Editing: You can access your files via a web browser on any computer and SugarSync automatically handles syncing the changes back to SugarSync – no need to download the file, open the file, save the file, upload the file – now SugarSync compresses all of these steps into a smooth operation.
  • Sharing: You can share your files with others. This is a great feature – and can be done on a strictly controlled basis so only those you want to can access your files.
  • Platforms: SugarSync supports not only Windows but Mac and Linux. Further SugarSync provides extensive mobile device support including the iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry!

That said – I do have a complaint (and will add more as they arise):

  • I use SugarSync for my personal files but also for my church. Unfortunately, I cannot tell my SugarSync to sync files from my church account. I have to use the web-based interface. This is a significant nuisance and there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to download the church files as long as I authenticate. This has been a long-standing issue and SugarSync has done little to resolve it.

SugarSync – A Love/Hate Relationship.

Image representing SugarSync
Image via CrunchBase

[I no longer recommend SugarSync.]

You won’t find me dropping cash on every new tech site and gizmo. Growing up I was broke – all the time – and was constantly trying to make do with freeware because I couldn’t afford the big, bad tools I wanted. These days, I do drop money – but just don’t expect it to be frequently. So it says something pretty significant when I say I’ve been dropping $5/mo. on SugarSync since November 2009 and was using the free version of the service for months prior to that.

I love SugarSync. SugarSync is a just-works file backup, archiving, sharing, synchronization solution. Install SugarSync on multiple computers and it ensures your files stay in-sync.

One of the traditional concerns about this type of syncing is when the software accidentally writes over the latest copy of your document. Yeah, yeah, its not supposed to happen – but it does. SugarSync makes this old news by keeping versions of all your files. Accidentally delete a file? Overwrite it? No problem! SugarSync has it!

Pretty nifty. Add onto this 30 GB of space for just $5/mo., or 2 GB for free. Did I mention the web-interface is fairly slick? That there are apps out for most smartphones? And that it will run on most operating systems? Yeah – its sick.

I hate SugarSync. So much so that I’m again seriously considering dropping the service. Why? Because SugarSync lacks a single major feature – and they don’t seem to care. SugarSync lets you share files – but only through the web-based interface. Don’t expect to share a folder with a friend and have them automatically receive the latest updates – nope – they have to use the web interface. I said its grand – but its not automatic. You can see the requests for this feature going back to 4/2009 on SugarSyncs forums – and the basically dead silence from SugarSync’s end. Ummm…folks? Anybody out there? Everybody else has this feature – why can’t you guys do it?

This is my desperate public plea to SugarSync. Please, please add this feature…otherwise I might just have to drop you, and I really don’t want to do that!