BT Broadband gives you many additional extras (see our page about BT Broadband here). One of these is access to BT’s Cloud storage & synchronisation system. This means that your files will always be protected and available in the event that your computer breaks, or you simply want to work on them from multiple devices. We’re going to run through what it is and how you can use it.
What is it and how is it different from backup software?
A traditional backup system makes a copy of your files onto some back up device such as an external hard disk or tape drive. This means that you have two copies of your data, and is very sensible to do (even with synchronisation). Backups are usually run periodically.
A synchronisation tool such as BT Cloud can be used for backup, but it is much more than that. It decouples your files from one computer (or device). It does this by always ensuring changes on one computer are replicated elsewhere, resulting in your computers being synchronised. Assuming you are connected to the web you can work on your files on your PC, then view them on your phone moments later. The current version of all your files are always up to date across devices.
Rather than saving files into, say, your Documents folder you just keep them in the BT Cloud directory and work on them from there. As you save your files, the BT Cloud software notices the changes and initiates a synchronisation.
Is it secure?
Unlike some cloud storage companies, BT don’t monetize your content. That means that you retain the copyright and they won’t use it to target you with advertising. In addition to this all your data is hosted the EU and won’t leave (even to the United States).
Even though the files are in the cloud they’re private to you and encrypted. They are only make public if you choose to share them.
Why should I use it over Google Drive / Dropbox / MS OneDrive?
Each of these services are good in their own right and have been around for years. However, for any decent amount of storage you’ll most likely need to pay for it (and even them some suppliers will still target adverts to you based upon your stored data). If you’re a BT Broadband customer it’s likely that you already have storage space on BT Cloud and they do not use your data for targeting purposes.
With your BT Broadband package you will be given anywhere form 5GB of storage if you subscribe to the basic capped broadband package through to 500GB on Infinity packages. If you’re looking to buy BT Broadband you’ll see the BT Cloud storage allocation listed on their broadband search page.
How do I use it?
To use BT Cloud you need to download the app from BT. It works with Windows and Mac computers, and Apple, Windows Phone & Android mobile devices. Download the desktop application here; the iPhone/iPad app here and the Android app here.
On your computer the application will make a dedicated BT Cloud folder which is always kept in sync. Keep all your files in here and, with the app running in the background, any changes will be synced. You can always access your BT Cloud files in the browser too.
You’ll need your BT credentials (the same ones that you use to access your BT billing account or your BT WiFi – not your home WiFi).
Will synchronisation only work with BT web connections?
No, whilst BT Cloud is provided by BT it will sync on any web connection anywhere is the world assuming it is fast enough. You can be accessing it from home, in a coffee shop or on holiday abroad and it will keep working.