Do You Back Up Your Data?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 18, 2009

Which came first: the data backup software, or the computer crash?

If you’re like many consumers, the answer is obviously the computer crash. Despite the best efforts of hard drive makers such as Seagate and Western Digital, most consumers do not regularly back up the thousands of pictures, music and videos they’re amassing on their computers and Macs.

Software maker Nero says it’s not just laziness. In their view, all the current software on the market is too confusing for the average consumer to use. They say their new $50 BackItUp & Burn software package is so simple, anyone can use it.

Perhaps not surprising for a company that has made its bones letting people easily burn DVDs, Blu-ray discs and CDs, a big component of the software is the ability to backup to those optical media. It combines that software with the ability to schedule automatic backup to a hard drive, or to upload data to an online storage site (you get a free three-month subscription to store up to 1 GB of data).

Nero says their software is more intuitive because it looks much like a Microsoft Windows application, with drop-down file ordering and the ability to accomplish more tasks in three clicks.

In my demo, the software does indeed look like Outlook, but I wondered whether that makes it more intuitive or less? And there didn’t seem much to make it stand out from the software that’s bundles with drives you buy from Seagate or Western Digital.

What’s more, Seagate sells a $200 drive called Replica that does all the work for you once it’s installed. Another company called Clickfree automatically backs up your digital data.

Nero says a key selling point will be the $50 pricetag, which is significantly lower than most standalone software products. But if you’re going to shell out dough for a drive anyway, one wonders just how big a market Nero expects out of the product.

If I were their marketing exec, I’d push the feature that let you automatically backup to online storage. No word in the press release on who much that costs after the free initial period.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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