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20 Sep 2011
(4 Stars out of possible 5)
Reviewed on September 20, 2011
Note: Our 2010 review of KeepVault is found here
It is a year since we last visited KeepVault with an intent to review. There have been many changes since then; and an enhanced version of the online backup, synchronization and conversion software has now been released by Proxure as KeepVault version 4.0 with support for Windows XP/Vista and Windows 7. A WHS connector for Mac to PC connectivity is an interesting new feature.
A common code base continues to streamline development of the software in the company. The easy to use interface with high level data management APIs, modular design with cross platform support, small footprint and robust encryption and compression technology ensures that KeepVault Version 4.0 remains an attractive option for consumers and MSPs alike.
Additional features in the new version include Server 03/08 support, SBS 2011 & Storage Server 2011 clients, differential backups and versioning, time stamped versioned file uploads, proxy support, administrator locks for enhanced security, online administrator console for anywhere, anytime access with an ability to create sub user accounts for departments of the enterprise or groups of users. Access to backups via iOS, Android and other mobile devices is now possible with potential for cross device restores.
The enhanced technology enables online storage for individuals and small and medium enterprises. Users can enjoy ubiquitous and remote access to their data. Confused with KeepSync? The backup and recovery service has not become complex with the release of the new version. The agent download, installation and configuration remain simple. The process can still be handled, with ease, by the novice and the newbie. Setup Wizards guide the process of installation and recommend default user settings to help users strategize/ optimize data protection schedules.
User settings can be tweaked by expert users to take advantage of high speed uploads (up to 2 M bits per second) or ultra high speed uploads (up to 5 M bits per second); schedule time-stamped or continuous backup; backup to a local drive in parallel; encrypt data with 128 bit or 256 bit encryption (this is new) and upload large files with no additional/repeated effort. Configuration settings can be fine-tuned for triggering error notifications via SMS, email, System event logs. MAC and PC systems can be connected with WHS KeepVault Connector.
Pricing plan structures remain the same as in the previous year. A 10% discount on KeepVault plans are available to those who sign up for a trial version of the software. KeepVault Home plans start at $4.26 per month for a 40 GB plan and increase to $18.43 per month for a 200 GB plan. Business & Professional users can pay for what they use on per GB of use at the rate of $0.15 per GB. Unlimited numbers of computers can be linked to a single online backup account and home users can sign up for as much as 5000 GB of space, Pro users can signup for up to 100TB.
The flexibility this pricing structure confers on the user is entirely in consensus with the company mission to ensure that their customers remain agile in the face of phenomenal and burgeoning information gains. The KeepVault solution is scalable and reliable, and users can sit back with confidence that their data is redundantly protected by the company using the latest replication technologies and hardware systems available in the market.
KeepVault is a complete white label solution with custom installer, identifying trade marks, artwork, with online access applications and simplified billing solutions. Company trained managed service providers, distributors and OEM partners extend the reach of the market and service customers efficiently and effectively on the basis of minimum service norms prescribed by the company.
Customer support is excellent and service personnel can be reached 24/7 via email and can expect to have their problems resolved instantly. They can air their grievances and find solutions to their problems proactively by visiting the online support forums that are available on the company website and can get help from company’s experts and other users of the service.
KeepVault service signup is certainly recommended for those who are new to the cloud and are keen on experiencing the many different benefits accruing from cloud services. Already existing customers will find that the company is constantly upgrading and improving the quality of its software and demonstrating its commitment to providing their customers with state-of-the-art cloud services.
Name: Proxure, Inc.
KeepVault online backup software agent version 4.10 is available for Windows XP/Vista or Windows 7 operating systems. The agent for Mac and Linux are in the pipeline and support for a USB key is being developed. Currently, support is available for Windows Home Server 2011 and Small Business Server 2011 operating systems. Web access has been optimized for mobile browsers and iOS WebApp.
Estimating your Backup Needs
For those who would like to know how much data they own–and must backup–per PC, the estimator tool comes in handy. The tool can be invoked from the KeepVault website before downloading and installing the agent on the system. The tool can be used to evaluate space requirement on each of the PC’s identified for backup. The statistical information that is displayed provides the end-user with a reasonable estimate of backup space requirement for that PC. The total of all space requirement estimates from all PCs to be backed up will define the total space that must be requisitioned from Keep Vault. Enterprises and individuals using this tool may find it useful in forecasting the amount of space that may be required in the future, subject to the condition that all other factors remain the same.
The estimator tool has been integrated into the agent software and auto-starts when the user installs the agent software on the computer, that is to be protected and backed up into the KeepVault storage account.
Installing the Agent
Those who are planning to subscribe for a cloud based backup account with KeepVault can navigate to the company’s website (http://www.keepvault.com) and download the .exe file that will help them set up the account. Two flavors of the software are available –KeepVault for Home and KeepVault for Business–in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. A fully functional free 15-day trial account can be set up and tested by users who want to get a feel of what they would be getting by subscribing for a KeepVault account.
To download the trial version, users must click on the link Trial Version available on the home page and complete the simple three step sign up that enables the download.
The user id is the email id of the person signing up for the account. The Start Trial button opens the page containing the download links and all the information that the user may need for installing and testing the software. A number of links to other free KeepVault tools and installation tips and advice are available on this screen. Those who would like to automatically or manually renew their accounts will find the necessary How to information. On receipt of the email id, KeepVault authenticates and validates the email by sending out an email to the id specified. The email contains a subscription id that will have to be input into the agent GUI for configuring the agent on the PC.
The .exe file that starts the trial, or the account, downloads quickly. An installation wizard guides the user through the simple installation process that demands minimal user input and magically creates the backup-status-indicative KeepVault icon on the status bar and on the desktop for ease of access to the backup agent.
The Estimator tool, then starts up and begins its detailed evaluation of the data available on the system for backup. This may take a little time if the data that is stored on the PC is large, but can be skipped at any time. Documents, photos, videos and all types of unprotected data are identified automatically and reported as possible candidates for backup. A report on total space required is the final output of this exercise.
The next few screens following the Estimator-tool-report page get the user inputs needed for configuring the agent application and connecting it with the online backup account on the KeepVault Server.
Users will have to enter the email id used during the download of the agent software and enter the subscription id information that was automatically transmitted to that user-defined email address. Note that users are expected to specify the kind of data privacy they desire. The choice is to let KeepVault define the 16-character encryption key or to enter a user-defined key. The user will also have to agree to the terms of service and define any proxy through which they may be connecting to the Internet before proceeding to the configuring the agent and connecting to the KeepVault account.
Configuring the KeepVault Agent
The first set of configuration screens are designed to receive user inputs regarding the types of files that must be protected on the PC on which the agent is being installed. Users can choose to go with the default or can specify the types of applications that are mandated for backed up. The first step in this process is to identify file types or accept the defaults. The second step is to provide more detailed inputs on the different folders from which the specified file types must be protected and backed up or the extensions of a specified file type (Eg. Files with .ART extension under file type Photo or .PDF extension under file type Documents) that must be backed up while other extensions are ignored.
Setting up Local and Internet Based Protection
KeepVault urges its customers to backup data to local devices and over the Internet using the same application interface to perform the operations. The agent configuration screens that follow on file type configuration screens require the user to configure the local backup process and the Internet backup process. Users can backup the data on to another drive on the same system or to a network drive by selecting the appropriate option. If network drive is selected, the network path and login credentials for use of the network drive must be entered. The user can then configure the frequency of backup and specify backup windows, if any.
Advanced setting configurations include file type specifications, local backup specifications with or without 256-bit or 128-bit encryption/compression, error notification settings, alerts and application lock settings. 256 bit (new feature in Version 4.0) or 128-bit encrypted/compressed data stored on local systems can be recovered using KeepVault Pro decryption/decompression tools. These settings can be tweaked and reset from the status screen at a later date.
Once the above steps have been completed, the agent is ready to begin backup. The initial seed backup may take some time, but all subsequent differential backups will take very little time as only the changes to the original files are backed up with references to the original copy of the file. This is a new feature that has been added by KeepVault in version 4.0 of the software.
The online and local backup can kick start automatically and happen simultaneously. The status of the online and local backup can be viewed on a single screen as illustrated below. Users can choose to deliberately Pause one or both the backup processes and continue them at a later time frame as convenient. The screen is very informative. It provides details of the backup location, the number of files that have been backed up, the amount of allocated space that has been used and the date and time when the backup was performed. This time and date stamped storage facilitates recovery specific versions of files and folders as and when required.
Links for triggering delete operations on protected files can be found at the bottom of the screen. Users can buy more storage space by clicking on the link Buy More Storage also found at the bottom of this screen.
Viewing the History of Backup Events
End-users can view the history of the backup events by clicking on the “History” tab link available at the top of the status screen.
Online Admin Panel
Administrators who are away from the office need not despair. They can continue to perform all their administrative functions by accessing the web-browser based administrative panel using their user id and password. The online web Administrative feature is one of the newer features introduced by KeepVault in its latest version of its software — version. 4.0.
Administrators can create/edit or delete sub accounts from the web based admin panel. The PCs may or may not be on their local network and can be located anywhere in the world. However, they can allocate space to each of these sub accounts only from the pool of space made available to the account by virtue of the subscription. Daily status reports are also available for each device in each sub user account, showing things like time of last backup, number of files backed up, and amount of files pending backup.
This online admin panel feature greatly enhances the mobility of the enterprise/individual and empowers them with the option of connecting their mobile computers to a single, central cloud-based account for regular data backup and enhanced protection.
Restoration of data is as simple as backing up data. Users of the Home or Business and Professional version of the software can restore data by clicking on the restore tab on the interface and selecting one of the recovery options available to them.
One click recovery recovers all information that has been backed up to the KeepVault account. The time to recover will depend upon the amount of data stored on the system, the bandwidth available and the speed of the Internet connection.
Selective recovery restores files and folders that are specifically selected by the user for recovery. The files are normally recovered to their original location. However, users can change the location for recovery.
Features like cross device access and restore options are available only to Business and Professional users.
KeepVault provides a wealth of information on its website and a fairly comprehensive Frequently Asked questions section. A quick start guide is also available to those who are considering the services for the first time. A product tour guide and customer forums offer additional support to customers and partners. Specific queries can be addressed to support personnel via email using a standard form that is available on the website. A live chat feature can also be used to resolve immediate problems that may be faced by users. Unfortunately, it is not possible to contact the company via telephone for technical assistance unless you are a premium account subscriber.
KeepVault scores 4.0 stars out of the five stars in this review. The rating underscores the fact that the software is simple to install and configure; the GUI is user friendly and can be used by the novice and the expert with equal ease and the data protection process is secure with necessary user authentication/authorizations; encryption and compression protocols in place.
The latest version of the software has introduced differential file backup; time-stamped automated file versioning system, and 256 bit encryption indicating that the company is proactive and committed to improving the quality of its product.
KeepVault recently announced that it had experienced an 80% growth, offered Small Business Pay-As-You-Go Storage, and enhanced Mobile Access with iPhone WebApp. The company introduced a new flat fee pricing of just 15 cents per GB, with no per-computer or per-server fees. Web access has been enhanced for mobile devices like iPhones.
The company claims that there are more new features in the pipeline and customers can look forward to enhanced versions of the current product!
KeepVault has definitely improved its offering and we highly recommend their services.
© 2011 – BackupReview.info
Note: Our 2010 review of KeepVault is found here
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