SpiderOak is one of the leading online backup services available on the web today. The company prides itself on making your data backups accessible to you for syncing and sharing anywhere at any time while storing it 100% privately under its “Zero-Knowledge” privacy promise. Its backup software was built from the ground up to be tightly secured, both for business users and home users. SpiderOak’s plans are also generally affordable with a fee of $10 a month for the professional plan and no fee for the free plan with a 2GB limit. With a platform based on the tenets of privacy, a backup service that offers more than is expected from cloud platforms today and an integrated ecosystem that works together you’re your mobile device and PC, SpiderOak certainly looks like an attractive place to take care of your file sharing needs.
SpiderOak offers you freedom of control to choose specific files to backup or everything in a given folder. In addition, it even allows you to back up folders at a scheduled time ensuring that your files are backed up consistently when you want it. The software will automatically detect when the exact same file is stored multiple times on your computer and make sure to backup the exact same file only once to save both storage space and bandwidth. It will however store historical versions so you can restore an older version of a file should you want to retrieve it, all while making sure that the same version isn’t unnecessarily stored multiple times to avoid wasted storage space.
SpiderOak’s fault tolerant design makes it confident in assuring that its backup software itself has an error margin of 0.00000%. Whatever goes wrong during the backup process, SpiderOak is confident that it will be able to retrieve your backed up data correctly should you need to restore a backup. The design of its infrastructure is tested internally on a regular basis with simulations of different scenarios and user cases to ensure that the whole service is capable of managing every situation. Perhaps the best proof of SpiderOak’s system being highly reliable is the fact that the company releases much of its software publicly as open source code.
Sharing and Syncing
SpiderOak manages to combine this complex but highly efficient backup process with extensive syncing options remarkably well. It offers an easy way to help sync data between your laptops, phones, tablets and other computing devices. Rather than having to navigate through convoluted menus to help sync data, you can simply drag and drop files or folders into your Hive folder and have it synced. You can even select a specific folder to sync across all devices in case you don’t want everything at once.
Sharing files and folders securely from your SpiderOak account can be done by creating a ShareRoom, which other people can then access via a specific URL or by entering a code on the SpiderOak website. Your friends, family, colleagues and clients who want to access the files don’t have to be SpiderOak users themselves and can save their changes to the files in the ShareRoom with other collaborators.
“Zero-knowledge privacy” has become the buzzword for cloud services today, and SpiderOak is among the first to truly live up to this strong promise. What this means is that users accessing the server your files are being hosted on don’t know the plain text contents of the information it is storing. This means that your data is safe and secure and has an absolute zero risk of being compromised by internal or external threats.
SpiderOak boasts encrypted storage, which is a change from what you might be used to. While the majority of online storage services only encrypt data in the initial data transfer, SpiderOak encrypts your data in its entirety. This means that whether you are moving your files from your computer to the cloud, vice-versa or simply accessing it online – you can rest assured that it is encrypted.
A notable particularity is that SpiderOak never stores your password in plain text alongside your data. This means that even in the highly unlikely case that hackers get access to your encrypted password data, there is virtually no chance of them actually getting access to it thanks to the encryption used. Not only do they provide you with the ability to utilize cloud technologies that protect your right to privacy, but the encryption protocols put in place ensure that only you can see your data.
Devices and Operating Systems
One thing that the folks at SpiderOak realize is that an online backup service is useless without the ability to use it on multiple devices. That is why, in addition to being able to access it on a desktop or laptop computer, you can also use it on your iOS or Android device for a mobile backup experience.
The mobile apps are just as intuitive when it comes to viewing your files as the desktop client. While it would do them a great deal of good to add the ability to upload and edit your files from the mobile devices, so far, it’s a reasonably solid cloud backup experience.
One thing that’s become common among cloud backup services is the charging of fees to add the ability to use more than 1 or 2 devices. SpiderOak does not do that and instead offers users the ability to use an unlimited amount of devices regardless of what plan they are on.
Ease of Use
Contrary to what you might expect from a service like SpiderOak that offers as much as it does, creating an account and getting everything set up is remarkably easy. All you have to do is sign up for an account through their website, wait about a minute for your password to encrypt and then download the software for your system. Once the software is downloaded and installed, you’re prompted by a simple wizard to enter a few key account details and that’s it. You’ll have the software up and running in less than a couple of minutes.
Of course, getting to the nitty and gritty of things takes a little bit more work. Setting up the time for when you want the backups to occur is relatively easy and quick. Getting accustomed with the user interface is extremely easy – you’ll be off doing the different actions within the software in just a few clicks before you know it.
Plans and Pricing
SpiderOak offers two readymade plans primarily aimed towards personal users, and has three customizable plans for small businesses and enterprises of all sizes. There’s no such thing as a free trial account with SpiderOak, instead it offers a free plan with 2GB of cloud storage that you can access for as long as you want.
The Professional plan offers over 100GB of cloud storage space and all the regular SpiderOak file sharing and syncing features. It is $8.33 a month when you pay annually, which means you get two months of service for free compared to the same plan with monthly payments ($10/mo). Compared to a number of other online backup services, this is relatively affordable and offers you a significant amount of data. The storage capacity of your Professional plan can be increased with 100GB of extra storage for an additional $10 per month each.
The aforementioned plans were only the consumer plans and SpiderOak offers a complete range of plans for business owners. There are three plans, “Professional”, “Blue SMB” and “Blue Enterprise” that are all hosted and then one private cloud plan called “Blue Enterprise. Each plan varies when it comes to features.
The Professional plan, which is essentially the same as the Professional plan listed for personal usage, only offers 100GB while the other plans offer an unlimited amount. There are no user minimums for the Professional plan but for the others it’s 10, 100 and 500 users respectively. The Professional plan is the only one of these business plans that you can subscribe to with monthly payments, the three other plans can only be paid for annually. There are an unlimited amount of endpoint devices and historical versions for all of the plans and no file size limitations for any of them. In addition, de-duplication is offered on each plan as well as HIPAA, FINRA and FERPA compliance.
When it comes to payment methods, SpiderOak is flexible in that it offers users the ability to use both credit cards and PayPal to pay for their plan. In addition, they offer refunds and a money-back guarantee on all of your contacts. A refund can be obtained through a simple message to their support, but we wish there was a more automated way to do so.
SpiderOak also seems to boast some particularly strong customer support. Like most services, they offer a support email in case you need assistance but what makes them unique is that they also have the addresses for their company offices listed. Not only does this add a sense of legitimacy to the service as a whole but also provides a safe guard against any potential fears of dealing with a relatively “unknown” company. It’s worth noting that despite all these positives, it is a bit disappointing that they don’t offer a phone number for phone support. There are also numerous guides on the site that help detail and explain the inner workings of the SpiderOak service. This in combination with accurate customer support through email makes SpiderOak a company with high quality customer care.
All in all, SpiderOak is a great service with affordable pricing and quite a few unique compelling features. While it does have a few downsides, the most notable one being the lack of phone support, overall the positives outweigh the negatives making SpiderOak a good choice for anyone looking for a cost-effective online backup service. Especially small businesses looking for a solution that can be quickly upgraded as their team grows will find SpiderOak a good fit. But basically anyone looking for a cloud backup service that dedicates great care to the security and privacy-friendliness of its software should put SpiderOak on their shortlist. The Free Forever plan providing 2GB of free storage for as long as you want is a must-try if you’re looking for a solid backup service with tight security and business-friendly features.