AOL Developing File-Backup ServiceMembers could have automatic access to easy backup on AOL servers.
Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service
America Online is developing a new service that will let its members back up files from their PCs onto AOL data centers, so members can recover files either deleted accidentally or lost due to a hard-drive failure, an AOL executive says.
"The concept is for users to very easily, either automatically or with one click, back up files from their hard drives to the AOL data centers," says Kerry Parkins, director of product marketing at AOL.
The backup feature is an interesting one to add to the AOL online service, but its adoption will depend heavily on AOL's making a case to members about its benefits, since PC users in general aren't in the habit of backing up their hard-drive data, says David Card, a Jupiter Research analyst.
The file backup will be a premium service with tiered monthly pricing based on storage levels: $3 for 100MB, $5 for 250MB, or $10 for 1GB, on top of the monthly AOL fee, according to information gathered from an AOL brochure and from AOL's online service, where the service is currently being beta-tested. Members can access it by typing keyword: File Backup.
Files stored at the AOL data centers will be encrypted, and access to them will be controlled via a password and an answer to a security question set up by the user, according to the AOL information. Users will determine when and how frequently AOL performs the automated backups; users need only to make sure that their computers are turned on and connected to the Internet at the scheduled backup times, according to the AOL information.
The files will be stored on two separate AOL data centers for added redundancy. If users need to retrieve files from the AOL data centers, they will be able to do it either from the proprietary AOL online service interface or from any computer's Web browser, pointed to AOL.com, according to the AOL information.
The idea for the service came from an AOL survey that found about half of its members have experienced loss of data from their hard drives that they hadn't backed up, according to the AOL information.
Though users will be able to back up any file they want, the service isn't designed to restore an entire hard drive including program files; rather, the service is for storing copies of files that are important and hard to replace, according to the AOL information.
The company doesn't yet have a timetable for when the service will be available, AOL's Parkins says.
On Thursday, AOL launched the latest version of its online service, AOL 9 Security Edition, which includes a variety of new and enhanced online security tools.