SanDisk has introduced a new USB flash drive that will back up files online whenever they are copied to the device. If you forget to bring the drive on a road trip, or if it is lost or stolen, you can retrieve the files through any device that has an Internet connection.
"This is true 'set it and forget it' data ," noted Hezy Rotman, the general manager of SanDisk's USB division.
Housed in a rugged, crush-resistant metal case, SanDisk's Cruzer Titanium Plus comes with six months of free online backup service. When that period expires, the online capability can be extended for $30 per year.
Password Protection, Encryption
If the user's computing device does not have an online connection at the time new files are copied to the drive, the Cruzer's onboard software will ensure that those files are backed up online automatically the next time an Internet connection becomes available.
Files accidentally deleted from the drive can be recovered by accessing the password-protected account on the Web. Each user's online backup capacity matches the Cruzer's 4 GB of physical storage capacity. Files deleted from the drive are kept online for 30 days, as long as the total amount of storage in use does not exceed the device's capacity.
Cruzer drive users also have the option of switching on a password-protection capability that features encryption to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to data in the event that the drive is lost or stolen.
The online backup service for SanDisk's new device pairs backup specialist BeInSync with Amazon Web Services technology. BeInSync encrypts all downloads and uploads to Amazon's servers.
Slated for March Release
Rotman predicted that the drive's capabilities "will encourage people to use flash drives for storing important data, not just transferring files from one computer to another."
It makes sense that SanDisk and other USB drive vendors would offer this kind of service with their products, said Doug Chandler, services research director at IDC. "The potential downside, of course, pertains to security of the files," Chandler noted. But he said that the $30-per-year pricing for the backup service is reasonable.
"I would expect this would appeal mainly to consumers and home-office workers for now," he added. "Some universities have had problems with USB drives and data security and management, so possibly this would appeal to them as well."
The Cruzer Titanium Plus, which is slated for a March release, will retail for $59.99 and will be compatible with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.