Review of Box.net

I was asked to take a look at Box.net a new company who is offering online data storage and backups. While I think I do a pretty good job of backing up my data in house and storing them in a fire resistant media safe, my off site backups are non-existent. This is something I really should address, since I my house is within 2 blocks of water in three directions and I live in a flood zone (hasn’t flooded in 12 years knock on wood). So I was pretty interested in looking at this product.

Signing up for Box.Net is about as painless as you could hope for, email address, password, and password confirm, and then straight in. Once you log in you come to very curvalacious web-2.0 screen

boxnet screen
Click to Enlarge

Creating a folder was simple enough, however when I started to upload files is where I started to have problems. Anybody who uses a proxy service, annomyzers, or wants to stay hidden, turns off java in their browser (see Detect My Real IP for more info) I wasn’t going to download the java runtime plugin, so I had to upload via the standard form. I tested uploading some non-confidential data (my vacation pictures). I tried to upload 100mb of pictures and it seemed to take a pretty long time, I was using a wireless connection so that may have been partially to blame for the slowness. I then opened the folders and everything seemed to be there. I tried to delete multiple files and found it impossible to do. The only way to delete files is one at a time and it’s a two step process (UGH). I guess it keeps you from screwing up and deleting something accidentally, but made it much more difficult to use IMHO.

boxnet screen
Click to Enlarge

Next I looked for the desktop synchronization tool which allows you to keep your backups up to date. I wasn’t able to find it so I’m guessing it hasn’t been made available yet. If you look at pricing for Box.net you’ll see it’s comparable to other services and in many cases it’s much cheaper. If you want a 1GB account account it’s free up to 5GB is $4.99 and 15GB is $14.99.

While the service seems interesting it just doesn’t seem like it’s finished yet. The desktop sync tool was really a deal breaker for me, so if it becomes available I might give it another try. The design and layout was cool but I’d rather be able to get things done quicker and easier, as opposed to having a cool looking UI. I’d also like to see a few pages assuring me that the company is financially stable and not going to fold up and cut off access to my data. I’d also like to see some info about where my data is housed, how secure the facility is, and how no one can access my data. To be honest I am really paranoid about storing sensitive company information on servers I don’t control or own. The service is however extremly reasonably priced which may make it very attractive to use.

(no aff)

PS: You guys really should not use an email address in the affiliate/referring URL. Replace it with a number or string of characters, using an email that’s just some bad mojo on so many different levels.

Disclaimer I did receive access to a free 1GB account from Box.net prior to making this post. The free account was not contingent upon a positive review or endorsement. No other compensation, occurred to influence this blog posting. For more information please see my advertising policy.

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