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15 Aug 2010
(4 Stars out of possible 5)
Reviewed on August 15, 2010
Update: On a press release published on April 6, 2011, KeepVault has updated its solution in its 4.0 release. Scroll to the bottom for more details.
Securing your digital data was never this easy. KeepVault– owned by Proxure Inc, a California based company– walks the walk with the customer analyzing their individual/business needs; offering both online and offline backup technology and supporting the customer with state of art products that work in tandem with their backup software. This makes for multi-level backup of data and secures information repositories against man-made or natural disasters.
With Keepvault.com customers can begin their journey of understanding backup needs by estimating how much backup space they need. The backup Estimator Tool that can be downloaded from the site, analyzes the system(s) to be backed up, instantly and provides an estimate of the amount of space the customer currently requires on online and offline media (like a USB hard drive) to secure their data against disaster. All that the customer must do is, download and install the .exe on the windows system or systems; add up the totals and arrive at the space estimate. [Mac users will have to wait for this facility to be available to them, Beta versions are being tested].
Individual and business customers are offered different flavors of the backup facility in English, Deutsch, French and Spanish (and soon Japanese). While individual users can opt for KeepVault, business users can consider KeepVault Pro & Business.
KeepVault works with Windows XP, Vista, Win7 and Windows Home Server (WHS). KeepVault Pro & Business works with XP, Vista, Win7, WHS, and Server 03/08. The maximum typical upload rates for the two products are 1900 kbps and 5250 kbps respectively, one of the fastest we’ve tested. Both products offer continuous data protection. However, KeepVault offers only USB for local backup, while the business version allows USB and UNC path backups. Additionally, the encryption protocol for KeepVault is 128 bit encryption, while the business version supports both 128 bit and 256 bit encryption protocols. Unlike the business version, there is no web access; cross device access restore; administrator features for KeepVault. Error notification is also limited to Email, Twitter and SMS. KeepVault Pro & Business offers System Events error notification and product status notifications (available anytime via secure web access at www.keepvaultpro.com) in addition to the Email, Twitter and SMS notifications.
The price for KeepVault is competitive at $46 per annum for 40 GB of space and $4,460 for 5,000 GB per annum of space. KeepVault Pro & Business users can subscribe for as little as $163 a year for 40 GB and $14,406 per year for 5,000 GB. Space requirements can be augmented at fixed rates as the volumes of data grow or backup needs expand. Dedicated bandwidth of 1.5 mbps for KeepVault users and 5 mbps for KeepVault Pro & Business users is guaranteed with no bandwidth throttling to accommodate other customer needs. Users can sign up for a Trial account to test the product before they take the plunge.
Hewlett-Packard recommends KeepVault for use with their MediaSmart and Data Vault Windows Home Server devices.
The ground up design of KeepVault data storage solutions makes setup and use a breeze. Customers need not deploy any specialized IT skills for setup or maintenance. The process of backup is automatic once the user has downloaded and installed the management console on the system(s) to be backed up. Users can select the files and folders to be backed up and the types of files that they need backed, via detailed settings screens or an easy-to-use setup wizard. Files can be included or excluded by category, e.g., music, video, photo etc and users can define custom categories and the file extensions included with each category. Users can schedule backups and tweak settings to suit their needs.
Administrators for KeepVault Pro & Business are guided by wizard screens in the process of configuring, managing and maintaining the multiple systems that are linked to the KeepVault Pro & Business account. They can perform local and online backup using a single interface, ensuring multi-level security for the enterprise data. The admin can define and monitor unlimited numbers of sub-user accounts; select and specify files and folders to be backed up; schedule backups or lock the admin console against unauthorized access. Administrators can also enable web access so that they can perform all administrative functions via the web anywhere, anytime.
Further, KeepVault Pro & Business facilitate the generation of a number of reports on the status or health of the backup; per device backup; date wise report on backups available and the amount of data that is currently protected by KeepVault. These are in addition to the health notifications that are sent out via Email, SMS, or Twitter.
Version 3.28 of KeepVault Pro & Business and KeepVault work well. There are no significant glitches and the upload and download speed is all that is desired. The Continuous Data Protection kick-starts every time the system is started and runs quietly in the background without slowing down other operations or interrupting routine activities. It is also possible to disable the continuous backup with a single click.
Support services at KeepVault have been automated to a great extent. Apart from frequently asked questions (FAQs), Quick Start Guide, Take the Product Tour and customer forums, users can contact the customer service personnel via a contact form available on the website of the company. The company has also published a good white paper, entitled, “Effective Data Protection Strategies“. Unfortunately, telephonic contact or live chat options are not available to the customers, who derive comfort from speaking to support personnel.
KeepVault’s commitment to offering best of breed services to their customers is evident in the constant efforts being made by them to understand their customers and create products that cater to their needs. The market surveys; customer satisfaction surveys and follow up processes of the company ensure that the gap between customer needs and product design is bridged quickly and effectively. KeepVault may indeed prove to be Insurance for customer data as the company is clearly unswerving in its refusal to make compromises on quality and service.
Features and Pricing Summary for KeepVault and KeepVault Pro:
Name: Proxure, Inc.
Purchasing the product
Business users must specifically click on the tab Pro & Business to register for the KeepVault Pro & Business account or click on the link provided at the bottom of the KeepVault registration screen for upgrade to the Pro & Business product. Alternately, users can directly go to the pro website, http://www.keepvaultpro.com. The Pro & Business registration form is illustrated below.
Customers have to select their plan and their billing method before proceeding to enter the captcha code to validate that they are human and not some kind of electronic program attempting to sign up. Customers can choose to try out the product by signing up for the trial or requisition for space ranging from 40 GB to 5000 GB by selecting the plan from the drop down box against “Choose your plan or trial”. Once this is complete, the user can click next to proceed to the next step in the registration–namely creating the unique user id and confirming it.
Customers, who are unsure about the amount of space required by them, may click on the link for “Free storage estimator tool”. This will download the KVWinsetup.exe which installs both the management console and the estimator tool on the system to be backed up. Users can install this tool on multiple PCs and add up the total space requirements returned by the estimator before selecting the appropriate plan for their business. A start trial button appears as soon as the customer has entered his email id and confirmed it. On clicking it, the user is taken to a screen where the customer can download the operating system appropriate software for download and install or login. The user id and login details are automatically sent to the email id with which the customer registered for the product.
KeepVault for Windows Home Server (WHS) can be downloaded as an Add in. Included free is a second Add-in called KeepVault Connector. The Connector allows you to push files from any of your PC’s directly to your Windows Home Server; in turn KeepVault for Windows Home Server will then protect files to your online repository. What is very intriguing is the fact that KeepVault Connector can push files from your laptop/PC to the WHS regardless of if you are at home (within your personal LAN) or travelling on the road (connected to the Internet).
Customers can retrieve their product serial number from their email and login using their email id as their user id and the serial number in the login screen.
The next few screens allow customers set up their account specifying whether they want web access or additional space or whether they prefer to use the default encryption key or wish to specify a private encryption key. The password specified on this screen will be relevant only for web access.
If the customer chooses to enable web access and specify an encryption key, the user will be able to use the online admin console to access the backup using the web interface and to create and maintain sub-user accounts.
Installing the KeepVault Software for System Backup
The KVWinsetup.exe installs in seconds and a series of wizard screens guide the user through the installation process. Once the installation is complete, the software begins an automatic scan of the system to be backed up. By default Video, audio, photos and documents and the scan results display an estimated total of the space that may be required for storing these files.
The “Get started and protect your system link” starts the configuration wizard which guides the customer through the process of configuring the backup sets and scheduling the backups. In first screen, the customer is prompted to enter the email id and the subscription id that were sent via email to their email id. The customer can also define any specific encryption key or can choose to use the default encryption key provided by KeepVault. If a private encryption key is selected it is best to ensure that the encryption key selected is the same as the one selected at the time of configuring the web access. The private key entered by the user will not be available to KeepVault and if the key is lost the customer will be unable to recover his data. A warning to this effect is also prominently displayed next to the encryption key text box.
In the next configuration screen, the customer can customize the file types that must be uploaded to the online backup repository on KeepVault servers. The Edit category link enables the user to enter file types that must be part of the backup set. The selection of file types will apply system wide or within specified folders that have been selected for upload.
Backup schedules can be configured in the next screen. Customers can specify the frequency of backup. They can choose to configure KeepVault to automatically backup data to a local device and also to the online server. The advanced settings link helps further fine tune the backup process.
Links at the bottom of the above screen can be used to delete protected files already backed up into the online or offline repository or to navigate back to the purchase screens for purchasing more space for backup.
Restoring Data from Online or Local Backup
Once the options have been selected and the files and folders identified for recovery, the recovery proceeds apace without interruption.
KeepVault and KeepVault Pro & Business are excellent alternatives for purse pinched, budget starved enterprises that are anxious to put in place a multi layered disaster recovery mechanism for their mission critical data at a nominal cost. The software works seamlessly with Windows Systems and backup and restore operations work smoothly and efficiently. Continuous backup is automatic and unobtrusive. The ability to create sub-accounts for family and friends (or for clients of IT managers), who might not be as technically savvy, is a very unique and useful feature.
The amount of space available with to the customer is also unlimited and scalable and is ideal for businesses that have growing volumes of data and increasing need for scalable data storage. One missing feature appears to be support for open files and locked files. Currently, locked files will be retried, and automatically protected; only after the file is unlocked (complete support for busy and locked files is planned for October 2010). However, the company seems to be sensitive to customer needs and is constantly conducting surveys to synchronize products to needs. It is expected that all customer requirements will be addressed in due course.
The product is highly recommended.
Update: April 6, 2011 – KeepVault has updated its solution in its 4.0 release.
Some features of the new KeepVault 4.00
· Backward compatible with existing KeepVault storage accounts
Learn more about KeepVault’s unique features at http://www.keepvault.com/features
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