After coping with the security issues of Windows 10, it was such a pleasant surprise to find an ‘app’ that is unabashedly security conscious! And yes, Sync.com, I’m talking about you. But first, a quick word about the problems that sync.com solves: storage, backup and version control.
Normally, when you create a file on your computer, you save it to your computer – i.e. onto the harddrive inside the physical ‘box’. If you’re super organised, you may also save that file to an external harddrive or USB device, as a form of ongoing ‘backup’. Belt-and-braces type people might save that data to a DVD as well, giving them multiple backups in case of disaster.
But all of these various types of storage have one, critical downside – a change made in one copy of the data will NOT be reflected in the other copies. If you have 3 copies of a particular file, you will have to manually update each copy.
There is also another issue that can be a nightmare – version control. Let me give you an example. Every time I work on my WiP [work in progress], I save it to my desktop, and then I copy it to my USB device. The latest version from the desktop always over-writes the version on the USB. Obviously, this is so I always have at least one copy of my work no matter what happens [e.g. the house burns down in a bushfire or some other catastrophe].
But what if I have 2 computers and want to add to my WiP on both?
That is the problem I’ve been struggling with for the last few days: there’s no point having the laptop if I don’t use it for my work, but if I do use it while I’m away from home, how do I keep the versions straight?
My fear is that if I continue with the USB device, sooner or later I am going to get the latest version of the WiP wrong. In a moment of madness or tiredness or distraction, I’ll over-write the wrong copy and then I’ll be up the creek without a paddle. Enter cloud storage.
Like the USB drive or DVD etc., cloud storage saves your files outside your pc, usually in a server on the other side of the world. The file is ‘up-loaded’ to the cloud via your internet connection, and once it’s there, you can access it from any computer device you choose. You can also share that file with others if you wish.
For me, cloud storage means I can work on my WiP at home and have it synced to my laptop so if I go out, I can continue working on the WiP where I left off.
Lovely concept, right?
Unfortunately, the grand-daddy of cloud storage – Dropbox – showed that cloud storage can be hacked, and most reviews I’ve read say their security has not improved much if at all since then. Now, I’m not working on anything ‘naughty’ that I need to hide from anyone, but privacy is very important to me, and I would die if I lost four years worth of work through someone else’s ‘oopsie’. So no Dropbox.:(
I was trawling through the umpteenth review/comparison of cloud storage offerings – there are heaps of them! – when I came across Sync.com. And guess what! The thing that sets sync.com apart from the rest is its security. 🙂 Plus it’s Canadian, so not subject to some of the, um, government sponsored hacking found over the border.
And now for the acid test – does sync.com work?
Yes, yes, it does. 🙂
The two screenshots below show my desktop and the laptop. They’ve been synced via sync.com and the test files I used have shown up on both computers with only a very short delay – approx. 20 seconds or thereabouts.
So now I know the system works, and thankfully, getting it to work is really simple too.
How to use Sync.com
- First, register for the sync.com free, 5 GB plan: https://www.sync.com/install/
- Then download the installer to the first pc. Install Sync to the first pc using the account name you setup in step 1. Part of the setup process is the creation of a folder called ‘Sync’.
- Now, download and install the Sync installer to the second pc. Make sure you have a ‘Sync’ folder on the second pc as well.
- Drag and drop [or copy/paste] a file into the ‘Sync’ folder on the first pc.
- Wait 20? seconds and you will see that the file now appears in the ‘Sync’ folder of the second pc as well.
The Sync presence on your pc is minimal. If you need to do something with the actual app., you can find it inside ‘Show hidden icons’ on your taskbar:
All other work is done on the website itself. Once I’ve worked out how to share files with friends, I’ll detail that in a separate post. For now, I’m really happy with my new way of working.
Last question: was finding and installing Sync as easy or convenient as using the default OneDrive cloud storage app offered by Windows 10?
Simple answer: no. Installing and learning how to use Sync didn’t take me long, but it still required some time and effort on my part, the payoff, however, is more than worth it:
- I have an excellent cloud storage app.
- It has excellent security features, and
- I am in control, not Micro$oft
- oh…and Sync is free [unless I want heaps more storage]
By contrast, I pay for the ‘convenience’ of Windows 10 by handing Micro$oft my privacy on a plate. No contest.