Human forgetfulness and failure-prone mechanical hard disks make backups less reliable than they should be. Automatic online backup is designed to combat both these problems. JustCloud is a backup utility that whisks copies of your files to a remote and secure location over an encrypted connection. If your computer has a problem, you can be safe in the knowledge that your files are safe and sound in the cloud. JustCloud does not offer a vast palette of backup tools and is not designed to get your computer out of trouble; it provides simple automated file storage in a remote location, with no pretence of system-wide backup or recovery - if your hard disk goes bang you'll still need a Windows disc for a reinstall, but your files will be safe.
The program's front end gives an overview of the current status of your backup account and quick access to your online files, sync folder settings and the file restore routine. It also integrates with Windows. Right-clicking on any file, folder or partition gives you the option to add the file to the backup selection, back up the file straight away, or copy it to your Dropbox-style sync folder. You can schedule the backup to run up to once an hour. It’s possible to exclude certain file types and limit the backup to files under a given size. This means that you can save your documents and photos, for example, but exclude your movie collection to save space. Only files that have changed since the last backup are uploaded, saving bandwidth. The program's simplicity can sometimes be limiting, however. JustCloud only allows for a single backup routine. This means that, for example, you can’t set your emails to back up every hour, but the rest of your files once per day.
Once your files are backed up, you can access them from a simple web interface, which lets you browse any backed-up PCs and files and download your files individually - to do a full restore you'll need to install the JustCloud software.
While the core task of JustCloud is to provide a backup of your files, you can also use the service to synchronise files between computers and even share folders with multiple friends. You just need to drop any files you want to synchronise into the dedicated sync folder, and they will sync automatically with any computers with the JustCloud software installed logged in to your account. This is a simple an effective way to keep your files synchronised between computers, although it doesn’t provide any more service than free alternatives like Dropbox or SugarSync, and lacks SugarSync's ability to synchronise any folder you choose.
Prices for JustCloud vary by length of initial subscription; you can get unlimited storage for one PC for just £5 a month if you're willing to pay for two years upfront, which is good value, and the sync service is useful if not as powerful as SugarSync's. It's a fine backup service, but Livedrive is the same price and has some useful extra features, such as smartphone apps to view your files and free support for recovering 30 days of previous versions of files, compared to JustCloud's 7.