Automatic Data Backup
With the exception of the one short-term connectivity problem, the software worked well. It’s intuitive enough that it’s easy to learn and use, and the feature set is impressive for such a relatively inexpensive and multifaceted product.
The data backup function allows automatic backup of open files, such as Outlook database files. This is an important feature that not all cloud-based storage providers offer. Without it, subscribers would have to shut down some applications before the service could back up their files, which means inevitably those files would not always be backed up.
You can find the Soonr iPad app in the iTunes Store. Soonr supports Android mobile devices, too.
(Click for larger image).
The Soonr iPad Experience
On the iPad, Soonr looks a lot like other iPad apps, with a touchscreen menu bar across the bottom, a file display panel on the left and a workspace on the right. Missing, however, is the graphical dashboard, which is unfortunate.
Frid-Nielsen said the company was aiming for a simplified display on the iPad, and he pointed out that most of the information from the dashboard is available on the iPad on Favorites and Recent screens.
The synchronization process worked perfectly, with the projects and backup folders created on the PC also appearing on the iPad. The iPad app converts documents, such as Word and Excel files, on the fly to a format compatible with the iPad, and this can cause a brief delay the first time you view a file.
Soonr can also convert media files on the fly. If you try to access a .WMA Windows video file in a project folder, for example, Soonr will convert it on the fly to Apple’s QuickTime format so it can be viewed on the iPad.
Cloud-Based Project Management
The project functionality is basic but useful. Administrators can specify which team members have access to project documents and what kind of access (full, read only, reshare -- i.e. to non-team members).
Team members with appropriate permissions can add folders and upload files; copy files from another project; access and modify files and post them back to the shared project folders, and post comments at a project bulletin board. The dashboard keeps track of changes to files and activity on the project.
It’s also possible to publish a direct Web link to a project page where guest users with read-only permissions can go to view project files.
The company will be adding more collaboration functionality in the iPad application and on other mobile platforms, including tools for editing documents right on the tablet, Frid-Nielsen said.
Soonr provides better collaboration functionality than SugarSync and Mozy, and if you don’t need a lot of online storage capacity, but do appreciate the security of end-to-end encryption and redundant data centers, this may be the right solution for your small business.
On the other hand, if you really don’t need the collaboration features, there are other services, such as Mozy, SugarSync and DropBox, that offer a better deal on online storage.
Gerry Blackwell is a freelance technology writer based in London, Canada. Read his blog, AfterByte
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