In a world where 2GB of online backup space costs nothing (at Mozy.com and Fabrik.com, for instance) you’d think it would be hard to compete as a for-a-fee storage service. But many people require more storage space for their vital data than the free services provide. Enter Webroot Secure Backup, which offers various levels of storage to meet your needs.
Webroot is known for its security products, which include antispyware and antivirus apps. But despite the name Secure Backup, Webroot’s backup service is really no more or less secure than competing services. Webroot encrypts your files and requires a password to access them–just as other services do.
Webroot doesn’t offer a free account, and its plans of $30 per year for 2GB of storage and $40 per year for 5GB of storage aren’t terribly appealing next to the 2GB free offerings of competitors Mozy and Fabrik. The company’s step-up plans, however, are attractively priced. For example, Webroot’s 10GB for $50 a year could save you money; after their free options, the next step up for both Mozy and Fabrik is $60 a year for unlimited backup. The pricing of Amazon’s S3 online storage service–10 cents per GB of data transferred upstream and 17 cents per GB transferred downstream–is in line with Webroot’s offering.
As a service, Webroot resembles AOL’s soon-to-be-ex-service Xdrive more than it does Mozy, Fabrik, or S3. Whereas those three offer only local backup and restore, Webroot lets you create password-protected public folders so that you can share files with your colleagues via a Web browser. To turn this trick with Mozy or Fabrik, your friends must install the backup client and use your personal password–not a secure arrangement.
Webroot’s backup client is extremely easy to configure and use. In addition, it allows you to back up to a local drive as well as to the company’s online storage–a trick that Mozy and Fabrik lack. The company missed an opportunity by not letting you copy the same data set to each location, though; instead, you must define each backup separately.
Unlike Mozy and Fabrik, Webroot doesn’t create a virtual drive within Explorer that you can browse and restore your files from. Instead, restore operations are done from within the backup client or via the Web.
My backups with Webroot, like those with the other online backup services I’ve tested, went off without a hitch. Since reliability seems not to be a problem, you should base your choice of a service on economics and on the features you need. If you want to share folders and you have between 5GB and 10GB of data to back up, Webroot Secure Backup makes sense.