I know online backup companies have been around for a while, but I still get nervous about leaving my information floating around, especially with identity theft and information theft so rampant. Is this really a safe way to store my personal information? –J. Harris, Phoenix
Well, the short answer is, if something makes you nervous, don’t do it. Like you, I wouldn’t hesitate to keep copies of work files, digital images, or videos online, but not sensitive or important documents. That being said, online storage solutions have come a long way since their early days and now offer secure means of backing up and accessing their data. Companies such as xDrive (www.xdrive. com) and Box.net (www.box.net), among others, offer a host of features in addition to regular storage options (which range from individual to enterprise solutions, and from free to roughly $200 per year).
My current fascination is with a service called Omnidrive (www.omnidrive. com), which was still in beta at press time. Omnidrive provides 1GB of free storage and paid solutions up to 1TB (terabyte; call for pricing) for Mac and PC users. The service also supplies tools such as Zoho, which lets you edit Word and Excel documents; Tangler for posting media to Websites and blogs; and Snipshot for image editing. Be advised, though, the free storage option does not provide SSL encryption (security as you move your files). If you want your data secured, consider a paid service.
Mail your technology questions to Cyberwise, BLACK ENTERPRISE130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.