Efficient automated file-backup solution

Among all of the backup solutions out there, some are easier to negotiate than others. BackJack offers a “set it and forget it” approach to the task along with a lot of features and capabilities, but you’ll have to find your way around it first.

After downloading the application, you must place two items into your Applications folder (no automated installer) instead of a single folder with both items. Aside from the application itself, you must install the AutoLaunch utility in order to set up your system for use with BackJack. It’s only after this that launching the setup assistant occurs and you can set your account and email settings—yes, email. If you happen to make a mistake in the installation or need to reinstall BackJack, you must remove all traces of each component from your system library first or the application won’t function correctly. Once this is done, you must select your encryption key. I found this process cumbersome and something of an annoyance, but you’re rewarded for your patience.

After installation, you have to tell BackJack what you want to back up. The very plain interface greets you and the options are clear. Selecting “Backup” brings you to the appropriate pane, where folders and files are indicated. The mouseover tips are helpful and there are options to filter and control your backups as you go along. Recovery is even easier once selected.

I mentioned email settings earlier, and there’s a good reason: BackJack notifies you, via email, each time your data is backed up and includes a list of the successfully completed items. BackJack uses 128-bit CAST secure encryption compression and their own proprietary servers that offer, in most cases, a swift connection.

One of the best things about BackJack is that it can be completely automatic, so you never forget to back up your personal and/or business data. Obviously, this can happen in the middle of the night or anytime so that your prime computer time isn’t interrupted in order to accomplish this task. Clearly, everyone should back up their systems (although few people really do). For travelers, last-minute recovery or uploading can be a lifesaver if your PowerBook has any kind of problem, or if you need files that you may not carry every day.

BackJack is a cost-effective and efficient solution for most personal users; however, for designers and pro photographers, the amount of space needed may not be worth the overall cost. BackJack is a service more than an application and it’s a reliable, functional solution. I’d like to see the addition of a much clearer and easier installation and setup process, a setup assistant that asks more and clearer questions, as well as a more user-friendly interface. Much like their application, the company’s website has a lot of good information on it, but it can be tough to find your way around to any of it. There are a lot of support pages and setup information pages; however finding them is a task in and of itself. Thankfully, Synectics customer support is very good and prompt in following through.

If you still haven’t found a backup solution for your needs, there are a lot of personal use options (like .Mac’s Backup and others) that can automate the process. BackJack is a Mac-specific service that works. The key is to get it rolling so that you can sleep soundly while your Mac takes care of the rest. The monthly subscription fee is $17.50 for up to 1 GB compressed and $2.75 for each additional GB up to 15, and a 15-day trial is available.

PRICE: $17.50 for 1 GB
FOR: 9 and X
FROM: Synectics Business Solutions
PHONE: 888-421-0220