Data Management

SyncWizard Offers Free Cloud Space for Personal Data

A new free Web-based product, SyncWizard, aims to change the way people store and access their own personal data and files. SyncWizard scans PCs or Macs for the most valuable data and uploads it to a variety of Web-based storage sites, then makes it accessible via live, customized Web page.

Users can access their data and files via any of the popular Web browsers — including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari — as well as through mobile phones and Web-enabled devices like the Amazon Kindle and Eee PC Mini PC.

SyncWizard is the product of Ajax13, a small company that’s led by CEO Michael Robertson, who happens to be the guy who founded MP3.com and Linspire. He’s also the CEO of SIPphone.com.

The Basics

Users create an online SyncWizard account, then select which content they want SyncWizard to look for and upload. That can include contacts, calendars, bookmarks, music, pictures and documents. SyncWizard then keeps looking for new files and data and automatically uploads the content so the online data stays current.

For example, if a user saves a Word document, SyncWizard will automatically file the data and prepare it for viewing, editing and sharing online. Similarly, family photos downloaded from a digital camera are also automatically saved, all of which happens without a log-in or application launch required.

Not MyYahoo

Drawing contrast to another personal orgnization tool, Robertson noted, “MyYahoo isn’t really ‘my,’ but just a bunch of news or sports articles Yahoo thinks I might be interested in reading. SyncWizard is the real ‘my’ because it captures the personal data that is important to my life — contacts, appointments, music, documents and photos — and creates a personalized site where I can access it from any device, wherever I am.”

On Robertson’s MichaelRobertson.com blog, he talks about SyncWizard in more detail.

More of a ‘Cloud-Up’

“SyncWizard is a next generation data maintainer which goes beyond dumb backup you might be familiar with. Rather than gather all your files and throw them into a big pile in the back which is a hassle to access, SyncWizard makes your data available from anywhere,” he wrote. “It’s not a backup, but a ‘cloud-up’ because it’s putting all your data into the cloud allowing you to access it more easily. You get the safety of an extra copy but the versatility of anywhere access.”

The SyncWizard site doesn’t yet have the polish of the much bigger Yahoo and Google-related services, so some details are still lacking. This new service raises at least two questions: How much data can a user upload free? How secure is SyncWizard, anyway?

Ajax13 didn’t respond to inquires from TechNewsWorld by press time, but Robertson on his blog described how the storage of data works:

“A unique design choice of SyncWizard is to store your data with industry leaders, rather than store it ourselves. All your contacts and calendars are stored at ScheduleWorld. Documents (word processing, spreadsheet and presentation) are stored with Zoho. Music is put into your personal locker at MP3tunes. Each of these companies is an industry leader who specializes in one area and acts as much more than just a storage provider. With Zoho you can edit any document right from your browser. At MP3tunes you can play all your music on any net radio. Using ScheduleWorld you can sync to many modern phones and stay in sync with Outlook and Thunderbird,” Robertson wrote.

What’s the Security Risk?

“Security is a primary concern for any service that offers online file back-up, but it’s hard to parse out whether SynchWizard uses any security measures or solutions beyond password protection,” Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, told TechNewsWorld.

“Established online back-up solutions like EMC’s Mozy service encrypts data prior to transmission to the datacenter and maintains that encryption while the data is stored. That makes Mozy a great secure option for businesses and consumers alike,” King explained.

“SynchWizard sounds like it might [be] a back-up handy solution, but users should carefully investigate just how private and secure their data will be before using it or any other online service,” he added.

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