Online Storage Recommendations / Warnings?

I’m shopping around for online storage to use with Scrivener. So far, I’ve looked through the Scrivener forums, and read through online reviews, and my short list at this point is:


Does anyone here have any particular recommendations or warnings or advice? I’m mostly concerned with saving copies of Scrivener and MS Word documents, and pdf’s of journal articles. Preferably something accessible from more than one computer.

My biggest concern is saving my wife’s dissertation and research somewhere safer than her school’s server which is even closer to the Hayward seismic fault than our apartment. We have multiple copies backed up here in Berkeley, but they’re not too safe if the Hayward fault (or the San Andreas or the Calaveras) rips loose on us.

Thanks much!

You might have a look at CrashPlan, BackJack, and other offsite backup services. These are designed for data backup, while the services you listed are primarily intended to allow you to move data between multiple computers. You’ll probably find that the backup services have more robust policies regarding things like data retention and server redundancy. On the other hand, they aren’t really intended for frequent access, so may not handle synchronization as smoothly.

If you plan to use any synchronization service, you should read this:
There are data corruption risks whenever you have live copies of data in more than one place. This thread explains best practices to minimize those risks.

You might also talk to the IT department at your wife’s school. If they don’t have redundant offsite backups, then they aren’t doing their jobs. OTOH, if an earthquake hits, individual research projects will be much lower on the IT department’s priority list than things like payroll and student records.


I won’t comment on all the services that MacRabbit mentioned, but SpiderOak is definitely intended for backup. In fact, that is all I use it for and it works well.

For my thesis, I closed Scrivener each day and had it save a zipped backup to a designated folder. This folder was then backed up by SpiderOak overnight, every night. This was in a addition to my local time machine backup. If something happened to my Mac, I had time machine, if something happened to my house, I had SpiderOak.

I use both DropBox and SpiderOak. For moving and syncing files, DropBox rules. It is so well supported by so many third parties and is just too easy to use. Security, however, is not spectacular and it isn’t great for backup. SpiderOak, in contrast, is less well supported and is less intuitive to set up. It’s strengths, however, are the custom back-up routines that can be created and its strong, user-side, encryption. Both are free.

Thank you for your help.
My wife is writing her dissertation on her iMac & MBA, so sync’ing will matter. And security will matter as psych patient surveys & interviews will be part of her research. The patient info will be anonymous, but I know my wife will want to make sure it is safe from unauthorized eyes.

I know her school’s IT dept probably has their act together, but the school literally sits a block from the Hayward seismic fault, and I don’t want all her years of work to disappear if Berkeley gets flattened. That fault is overdue for a very large quake. Huge disasters rarely happen, but better safe than sorry.

Thanks again for your help. CrashPlan is looking more and more like the best fit for our needs.


Just a thought.

I sometimes deal with sensitive information on my job. One of my main ways of protecting this information is to NEVER put it on a laptop. I also password protect my laptop and encrypt the hard drive with FileVault. This isn’t paranoia on my part. It’s actually reasonable, given my job.

In terms of sensitivity, I consider the confidences people share with their counselors equal to what is said in a confessional. I would never put records about this on a laptop.

An encrypted file on an password protected encrypted laptop is actually far more secure than the average filing cabinet in a regular office. Most of the counsellors I know share offices (and often filing cabinets) so there are several keys serving to decrease security even further, whereas there is only one “key” to a laptop. If someone with enough technical know-how really wanted to access the material on a laptop, they probably could (if they had the funds, time & technology), but if they really wanted the information that badly it would be much easier to break into an office and take (or copy) the hardcopies. Or they could simply get a court order and do it all legally.

Disk encryption and file cabinets are equally secure.

There is no certainty or guarantee of security with anything.

Thank you everyone! I really appreciate all your feedback.

I know my wife is concerned that all patient information will remain secure wherever it’s stored. The questionnaires for her dissertation work will be anonymous, but I know she will insist all such information be safely encrypted on both her MBA & her iMac, as someone could break into our apartment and steal the iMac nearly as easily as they could grab her laptop from her on the sidewalk.

After years of keeping patient and insurance information confidential for the Univ. of California, she is appalled every time a laptop goes missing or patient information is publicly released by the medical center I work for. (If you paid a large medical bill with a check, they would flag your record and send your information to a vendor in India who would solicit you for their fund raising campaign.)

So, so far, it looks like domestic encryption and storing an encrypted version of her work with CrashPlan will be the best solution for us.
Unless we’re kidnapped by the MiB or hacked by the NSA server farms! :open_mouth:

Dealing with patient records adds a whole other layer of liability, too. If she’s going to store patient information on her personal systems, she might want to talk to her IT department about the associated regulatory compliance issues.


MacRabbit, First let me say, I know nothing about this, except I am likewise concerned. When I am clueless, I use TopTenReviews, as I did for online storage. My conclusion was that I would start with SugarSync. I’m sure that cost by the month was a factor, but it implied it was simple to get used to and very flexible for the small timer. I figured it would get me started, which oddly enough I haven’t yet, but when I do, that’s where I’m going to start. I imagine any irritations will be setting the basis for my next move if necessary. Regardless, I have used the TopTenReviews 4 many things, and with their side by side comparison of ten at a time, you can cut through a lot of crap quickly. I hope this helps, for what it’s worth.


Wuala supports client side encryption, is multi platform, has a full featured client and offers 5GB for free.

Here is a referral link so I get free space if you try it out. :smiley:

I use it with Scrivener on Linux. Wuala supports automated directory sync/backup so once it is setup there is no muss or fuss. The client side encryption means that even Wuala does not have access to your content and there is no additional encryption step required.

Same is true for SpiderOak, which from its interface clearly started its life on Linux.


I have used SpiderOak, and like it (despite it’s UI). It currently holds a year’s worth of daily backups of my thesis. Which reminds me that I could probably reclaim that space now.

But not the time. Not the time…

I liked it too, also in spite of the UI. I found it when suddenly the Great Firewall of China decided that Dropbox was a threat to national security and blocked it for a period.

I stopped using it as it seemed to be one of the candidates, in the 0.97 upgrade or something like that, for causing typing lags on my Macs. I removed it and TextExpander, which seemed to me to be the other candidate, or the combination of the two, and the typing lag went away.

Since quite a number of people seem to be using TextExpander, I’ve re-installed that and am keeping a watchful eye, but I haven’t yet re-installed SpiderOak. I must do on one of my machines at least, in order to see what I still have stored on it.


True, that time has gone, along with my youth,looks and money. At least I have my hair… :unamused:

I never noticed any typing lags, although my machine not nearly as sprightly as it once was. I no longer run SpiderOak automatically on login, although I did recently check it for potential use with my new iPad. Not a viable option because the SpiderOak app cannot add files to to the cloud, it is basically a dumb “reader” of whatever your main computer has placed there. :frowning: