by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 19 December 2012
According to a Dec 2011 report by Enterprise Strategy Group, a research firm based in Massachussetts, online file sharing is fast gaining ground over traditional, cost intensive methods of file-sharing.
In a survey of 611 market professionals conducted by the company, more than 25 percent of professionals had already moved to the cloud for their file-sharing needs. That statistic becomes even more significant, when you consider that file-sharing is a relatively recent phenomenon, as compared to email and customer relationship management, which ranked as the most popular SaaS applications.
Let us review today's solution against the backdrop of this statistic.
JustCloud is a product of the trends I talked about earlier. "We realized that there was going to be a huge movement away from hard drives and other physical storage methods, and that everyone was moving to a cloud backup," says Nick Jackson, who is the head media buyer at the company. "We realized that everyone from your average day-to-day computer user to working professionals would need this type of service."
According to Jackson, JustCloud's simple interface, cheap prices and extensive storage space distinguish the service from other, similar solutions in the market. "We offer unlimited backup space, which only the top level cloud backup services can offer, as well as try to make life as easy as possible for our users by offering features such as 100 percent automated scheduling, remote access, and drag and drop backups," he says.
Jackson also likes to refers to the business's enhanced security options for the service. "Without wanting to bore you with technical information, we ensure that data is securely encrypted not only during storage, but during data backup and data download," he says. "This way our customer's data is never susceptible to malicious intent."
Added to this convenience is the relatively simplicity of their plans, which can be custom fit to your small business to make "seamless expansion as easy as possible." As an example, Jackson refers to the business case of a small business, whose plans can be scaled from 23 computers to backup 100 GB data per month to six computers with another 200 GB data "in a matter of seconds."
JustCloud relies on a local client to backup important data and documents. Immediately after registration, the system installers configure a client on your system. The default option for the backup folder on the client is the "My Documents" folder.
However, I opted for "Custom Selection" folder and uploaded a bunch of photos with an average file size of 2.5 MB. The upload speed was fairly fast, with an average time of less than 10 second per file. Once all the files are uploaded, I was asked to either backup the files (which involves another step) or add them to the sync folder. The latter folder, incidentally, is separate from your regular folder. This means that not all files uploaded to JustCloud are backed up or synced with the system. Only folders or files placed in the sync folder are synchronized regularly.
Although it sounds fairly simple operationally, JustCloud includes a plethora of custom options. For example, you can share documents with others by inviting them to use the solution. The invitation comes with an added side-benefit, as each referral gets you an added 100 MB space. In addition to uploading, you can also drag and drop files into the folder to upload them automatically. What's more, the client can be accessed via their mobile app or remotely as well. "File collaboration is a plus point with us," says Jackson. "Contact between employees outside the office can be an issue but with remote access as well as our mobile app, this need not be an issue."
You can also configure upload file limits for each file or associate uploads with only certain file extensions for added security. As I mentioned earlier, security is an especially important issue for JustCloud. "Our data security is also top notch with our business accounts (as it is with our personal accounts) and we also allocate our business users an administrative account from which the whole account can be monitored," says Jackson. The idea, he explains, is that the user (usually, the CTO of your small business) should have the ability to add storage space and computers and set administrative limitations. One of the more interesting options in JustCloud relates to the application's "Locate Your Device" feature. Using this feature, you can locate your device's IP address and, consequently, its physical location in the event that it is ever stolen or lost.
Finally, JustCloud does not limit itself to uploading via your hard drive. You can also upload documents using external devices such as flash drives or external drives. "You'd be surprised to know that a lot of backup companies won't back these devices up as they only backup internal storage," says Jackson. In a pioneering trend of sorts, JustCloud offers the automated video backup facility enabling users to backup video files automatically. "This feature is generally not implemented by cloud storage vendors," says Jackson. "A lot of the time, vendors cap file size or enable uploads of only certain file types such as .wmv or .mp4." JustCloud, however, does away with the limitations and enables uploads (and automatic backups) regardless of file size or type.
"Simplicity is key with JustCloud, while still offering the highest level of features at the lowest of prices," says Jackson. This statement resonates in their user interface design and setup. As I mentioned earlier, the JustCloud client is easy to setup and navigate. Their web navigation facility is designed around the task ethic and consists of six panels. Each panel corresponds to specific tasks or views within the system. For example, you can see a snapshot of devices associated with your account under the "Devices" panel. Within this panel, you can also see individual folders associated with devices and enable sharing for files and/or folders. Similarly, you can also use the "Referral" panel to invite users to the solution.
Right from the time when you download their client (when a pretty woman onscreen simplifies the installation process for you), JustCloud offers all forms and kinds of support. The solution has extensive documentation that covers major features and installation procedures within the application. In addition, an online chat facility ensures that a support professional is always on hand to cover bases, in case of problems.
As I explained earlier, the usage statistics for cloud backup systems are growing rapidly. This means that more and more people are aligning themselves to SaaS paradigm. JustCloud has smartly invested in security to distinguish itself from other, similar providers. If you want a secure and customizable solution for your small business's file sharing needs, then JustCloud might be a good choice.