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3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

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    When was the last time you made a backup of your hard drive?

    Take a moment to think about everything you are at risk of losing. Taking a quick look through the contents of my computer’s hard drive, I saw things like pictures, videos, tax information and receipts for online purchases, all of the software I’ve downloaded and configured.

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    Losing all of this information is losing a part of yourself. Going about our daily routines, we rely heavily on the physical hard drives in our computers to stay healthy. Like everything mechanical, it will fail. What are you going to do to help keep the information most important to you safe when disaster strikes?

    As you may have  noticed, over the past few years the price of external storage has plummeted. About 2 years ago, you could have purchased a very portable 250 or 500 GB hard drive for about $100 or so. The low prices of external storage mean you can get a 1 TB external hard drive a little bigger than a pack of playing cards for the same price. But the question is, what has this done to online backup and cloud storage pricing?

    Cloud storage pricing has dropped at an alarming rate over the past few years. The extremely low prices definitely warrant taking a good hard look at online backup options before spending $100 or $200 on an external hard drive that’s bound to fail.

    The best solution for you will be an online backup of some kind. With all of the services available, how do you know what the best option is? Take a look at some of the reasons you will want to use cloud-based storage and some of the options available to you.

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    1. Online backup is easy and automatic.

    Once up and running, online backup doesn’t require you to have a good memory. I know there have been a bunch of times I didn’t remember to plug in my external hard drive when it was time to back up my computer, how about you? The initial backup can take some time to complete. However, once it is complete the backup process is barely noticeable. As you are working, the new information will be seamlessly backed up whether it be something new or a revision of something you have been working on for a while, like your zombie novel.

    2. Less likely to be damaged

    Physically having an external hard drive in your possession leaves it open to all kinds of potential hazards. Some of the hazards might be your fault like stepping on it, dropping it or knocking over your coffee cup on it while a backup is in progress. Other possible ways to damage the external hard drive are a little less your fault. There could be a fire at your house or office that consumes the hard drive. Something all too common would be an electrical surge such as a lightning strike nearby that could damage the hard drive or corrupt the information on it.

    Another very good possibility is the hard drive simply wears out. I’m sure you yourself or you know someone who’s lost all of their important information because the hard drive crashed. Because the servers used for online backup are consistently running, the hard drives are replaced with good regularity. Also many of the servers use what’s called a RAID set up which means your information is redundantly backed up on multiple hard drives. This way if one goes bad, the information is still safe and you don’t see any interruption of service.

    3. Security and peace of mind

    The reputable online backup services offer a great deal of security. They don’t have access to your individual files, they are just providing you with storage space. What’s nice about using an online backup solution is the peace of mind. A huge security benefit is the encryption they use. In most cases, people don’t encrypt their flash drives or larger external hard drives so using an automatic online backup would be added security for most people.

    Another reason storing your information in the cloud is more secure in most cases is because someone isn’t going to break into their server banks and physically take your information out. Unless they are some highly trained espionage team like you’d see on mission impossible, you can rest assured your vacation photos from Niagara Falls will be safe. In fact, many of the data centers are spread out over large distances and there are actually several backups of your information.

    Google Drive

    Google Drive gives you 5 GB of free storage accessible from any computer and most mobile devices through the Google Account you may already be using. Additional space can be purchased if you need more space. For $4.99 a month you can get 100 GB of Google Drive storage. Using the Google Drive Offline app, you can easily sync all of your important information and keep safely online.

    Dropbox

    Dropbox is one of the most well known names in cloud storage. Initially you’ll get 2 GB of storage for free. The space is accessible through pretty much any device connected to the Internet. When used on an Android device, there’s options for automatic picture or video upload. Additional space can be purchased also. 100 GB of dropbox space will run you $9.99 a month.

    Carbonite

    Carbonite is an automatic backup software for your computer. The yearly price of the entry-level service is $59 a year. This $59 gets you unlimited storage space on the Carbonite servers to backup video, audio, photos, documents and even your computer settings. If you need more features, other backup options are available too.

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    Other Options

    Overall, the online backup of information is more secure than it’s ever been. There are a huge plethora of options available not just the 3 listed above and it’s worth looking around for a good online backup solution because these type of backups rely less on human interaction meaning, first and foremost, the backups actually happen. And with all of the security involved in the transmittal and storage of your data, it’s pretty darn safe overall.

    Featured photo credit:  Defect hard disk drive with smoke. Open drive as symbol for data loss. via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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