Access Files Anywhere
Small business owners who want to tap into the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend need look no further than SugarSync, which offers support for a remarkable array of mobile devices. Aside from the desktop client, which is available on Windows and the OS X, SugarSync supports all current mobile platforms. Not only does the SugarSync app offer access to your files in the cloud, it also updates the cloud copy with any changes made using the mobile device.
You'll find a SugarSync app for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Mobile (Note: Not Windows Phone), Symbian, and an iOS app that's optimized for the iPad’s larger amount of space. In addition, you can access all files stored on SugarSync from a standard Web browser – on desktops or mobile devices.
Figure 2: SugarSync saves the last five versions of a file, and it also let you restore accidentally deleted files.
Finally, an Outlook plugin lets Outlook users send SugarSync links instead of bulky attachments, and you can configure it to automatically back up your email attachments.
The multitude of access methods effectively translates into anywhere file access for workers. Moreover, employees can easily access their files from a Web browser in the event of a lost laptop or a failed hard disk drive. Indeed, the SugarSync Web interface can automatically pack entire folders as a single archive file for a faster, more manageable download.
As mentioned earlier, SugarSync for Business is essentially SugarSync with a centralized administration portal for managing multiple employee accounts within a company. It is possible to view each person's current storage usage, and configure an email notification when employees approach their storage limit.
When you sign up for the service, at least one person must be an administrator, which counts towards the user limit, but you can have multiple administrators. An administrator can add new users, define a storage limit in GB or leave it as Unlimited. The latter lets you use as much storage as available to the company under its usage plan. You can disable existing user accounts by going to the Users tab under the Business Account settings and clicking on the Edit link for the desired user.
When disabled, SugarSync for Business offers the ability to log in as the disabled user without having to know the password. This lets you recover files from the account of an employee who has been fired, for example.
As with practically every other online storage service, SugarSync offers a free 5GB account; however, SugarSync for Business is a paid-only service. A basic business account starts at $29.99 per month or $299.99 annually for 100GB of storage and three users. You can add more users for $9.99 per user per year. Additional storage capacity costs $29.99 per year for each 100GB block. Small businesses may prepay for a year and receive a two-month discount.
The Bottom Line
Of course, SugarSync is hardly perfect. In a way, its advanced capabilities may make it more intimidating for people looking for a rudimentary backup solution. The desire to simplify usage even more was probably what led to the recently released SugarSync 2.0 beta.
The new version offers a greatly improved user interface designed for better ease of use, as well as a new global search feature and the capability to view all synchronized folders within a "drive" that appears in Windows Explorer. Though we elected not to review this new version as it is not yet complete, its presence offers ample evidence that the company seeks to improve on the product by constantly adding new features and tweaks.
Of course, some may balk at paying a premium price for SugarSync for Business rather than the basic SugarSync service. However, the business-centric features that it offers are invaluable in properly managing the service and storage capacity. Finally, remember that SugarSync for Business comes with live support, which can be a lifesaver for smaller businesses with non-existent or very small IT departments.
Paul Mah covers technology for SMBs for Small Business Computing and for IT Business Edge. He also shares his passion for and knowledge of everything from networking to operating systems as an instructor at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, and is a contributor to a number of tech sites, including Ars Technica and TechRepublic.
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