Review of LiveDrive Online Backup, Storage and Sync

Overview and History
LiveDrive is financed by Andrew Michael. Andrew founded Fasthosts Internet Limited, The United Kingdom’s premier and most successful Internet service provider which was sold in 2006 for in excess of $120m. Andrew commented: “Online storage is the future. Lots of companies are trying to do it today but the products are crap and not a replacement for traditional storage methods. LiveDrive has been over two years in the making and will be the standard by which all competing products are judged”. LiveDrive offers two options: LiveDrive Backup and LiveDrive Briefcase (Pro). The Backup edition can backup of unlimited online devices and an unlimited quantity of files. The Briefcase or Pro edition retains all the features of the Backup version but also gives sharing and synchronization of data from unlimited online devices.Feature Set
Security
LiveDrive uses 128bit SSL encoding to their web site along with password protection for your account. Information transfer to and from the servers is protected by 256bit AES encoding – the most secure protection we have found for file transfers. When on their servers, your data is protected with 256 AES encryption (that’s military grade) and you can setup your own private key to manage the encryption if you wish. Physically, your data is stored on state of the art servers in geographically separated data centers. These were originally only in the UK, however, since expanding their service to other global regions, they have also widened their network of data centers which makes your data more secure.Backup Features
One of the most notable features of LiveDrive Backup is that it is really unlimited. While using LiveDrive we have backed up many terabytes of data. Putting files on the backup schedule is as straightforward as right-clicking the file or folder and choosing ‘add to backup’ via the LiveDrive submenu. When added to the archive schedule, files are examined for amendments and scheduled for archiving as and when they are amended. File versioning is automatically enabled on any files within the backup set and are permitted up to thirty copies of an individual file. Open files will also backed up on a regular basis and because of the ‘block level incrementation’ technology just the amended bits of files are uploaded and these are then used to create a new version of the file. This method massively reduces the amount of information that must be uploaded. Network drives and removable devices such as pen drives or other plug-and-play products can also be backed up. A progress indicator is included status messages so you know what is being backed up and what is awaiting to be transmitted.Restore Features
You are allowed to restore up to 30 different editions of any file that has been archived by entering the web site, selecting the file you wish to restore and selecting the edition of the file by means of date and time. When selected simply decide where you would like the file restored to and the portal will start the restore process. separate upload and download throttling controls in the desktop client but no processor controls. Socks Proxy servers can be setup which is useful if you are in a public environment and can only access the internet via a proxy server. You can also set priorities of types of files, emagine if you are gradually uploading your entire music collection, you should configure office docs and other file types ahead of video files so that your more vital data is backed up more quickly.Interface
LiveDrive blends extremely well with the desktop on PC and MAC. It gives a system tray icon to permit quick access to information and option screens. The web site is extremely easy to navigate and use. There are many collaboration, file sharing and synchronization options available in the pro version of LiveDrive which is called Briefcase. Devices do need the client software installed to run LiveDrive but this is a simple and straightforward process that takes a few minutes to download and setup.Device Support
Currently LiveDrive supports Microsoft Windows – XP, Vista and Seven; MAC OS 10.5+; iPhone OS 3.0+; Blackberry and any online-enabled toy via the web portal.Limitations
None found so far.Collaboration and Synchronization
If you go for the Pro or Briefcase version of LiveDrive then you get a greate set of collaboration and synchronization tools added to your unlimited online backup solution. When you turn on the Briefcase option a virtual drive is created on each PC (or MAC) enabling you to store all your shared files. Initially the drive letter it L: however this can be changed via the client software. Any file that is moved or copied to this logical drive is copied to the web site and from there to all other devices that have the briefcase feature in use and are setup for the same LiveDrive Account. File conflicts are configurable and can be set to carry out an automatic option of your choosing or to ask what to do with each issue. There is also a beta feature called ‘LAN synching’ which allows devices on the same network (for instance you may have a MAC, notebook and Blackberry all using the same router) to sync data inside your network instead of sending all the changes to the internet and back. This is a really useful feature especially if you have a load of files that you have to initially update on one or several devices. Another very useful feature of the Briefcase is the option to have a local cached version of all your data from the logical drive. Therefore you have access to the virtual drive even when you are not online. When you re-connect to the internet, the changed files will be updated on the web portal and amendments are pushed out to the other devices as and when they also come online.File Sharing
File sharing is available in the web portal and in the client software – if running the Briefcase version. Merely pick the file or folder you need to share, use the share link and then choose to share privately or publicly. Public File Sharing means everyone with the exact website address see the file. If this option is chosen, you are given a unique website address for every file. Which can then be distributed to anyone you want. Private File Sharing allows only people you choose have access to the file. If this option is chosen then you must enter the email addresses for every person you want to have access to the file. You can also append a personal message to provide more information about the file you are granting access to. The system then sends an email to all of the addresses previously setup showing general information, your private message and a unique web address for the file being shared.Web 2.0 Integration
LiveDrive has a music and video player built into the web portal, as well as a handy slideshow function. LiveDrive is also connected to several online apps including: Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug, Photo Flexer, Zoho, Spibd, PicNik and others. This means you can get to and amend the majority of your files directly from the web portal.Customer Support
There is no telephone or online chat support. However, not counting wanting to make unusual requests (which we did via email) there has been no need to talk directly to LiveDrive’s support. There is an email form in the client software and on the web portal which they answer very quickly in our experience. The Forum and Blog are great ways to receive information or get questions solved from both fellow users as well as from LiveDrive’s technical support team. The FAQ and knowledgebase are good for standard queries as is the demo on their website and there are case studies available on their website. A free version is not available however a 14 day free trial is available on both types of account.Ease Of Use
LiveDrive is extremely easy to use. After subscribing, you can download the client utility to your internet enabled devices and either start backing up your information or – if you have opted for the far more useful Briefcase option – begin moving folders to the L: drive. Restores and file sharing are a breeze to use and integrating with online services to amend information when on the move couldn’t be easier.Cost
Initial setup: Free 14 day trial
Monthly plan costs: Basic – $6.95/mth; Pro – $16.95/mth
Yearly plan costs: Basic – $69.50 / yr; Pro – $169.50 / yr
Initial allowed storage amount: Unlimited
Cost of additional storage: No cost
Cost of additional devices / users: No cost
Referral Program: Yes
E-billing facility: YesConclusion
LiveDrive is a great archiving tool, it is tucked away cleanly and only shows itself when necessary. If you opt for the Briefcase version then the host of features you receive more than rationalizes the extra cost. With the broad range of integration with internet toys and internet utilities you have a complete online storage and workspace that automatically syncs with all your web devices. For small businesses this is a great way to collaborate your team together and keep your projects up- to-date. For individuals it is a brilliant approach to provide a secure central storage location for all your data. There are cheaper Online Storage and Online Backup solutions available; yet, In our opinion there are no better ones. LiveDrive’s unique blend of easy interaction and great range of functionality make it a sure winner. On top of all that, if you select the yearly plan, you get 2 months free and an extra 10% off FOR LIFE!

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Online Storage, Online Backup, Online Sync, Online Storage Comparison