Wuala by LaCie review

Secure online storage, synchronisation and file sharing for free
Photo of Wuala by LaCie
Free (1GB); prices start at £17 for 10GB per year

Taking advantage of the rise in popularity of cloud storage, Wuala is a secure online solution from LaCie that promises to offer fast and easy backup, synchronisation and sharing of files between a range of devices and locations, rivalling solutions such as Dropbox with some interesting features.

Versatile backup and restore
After a brief installation routine, the software requests a username and password (which, for additional security, is never transmitted to Wuala) and loads a simple interface showing the contents of your online drive. From here it’s easy to add data for backup by creating a new job, which can be set to “continuous”, meaning the file is backed up whenever it is changed, or preset intervals, or by simply dragging and dropping files from a computer to the online folder.

Wuala also makes it possible to synchronise files across multiple computers, provided each has a copy of the software installed, in which case any modified files will automatically be updated across associated folders on these machines.

Content can be shared either by using a weblink generated by the software that can then be sent to others to allow them to download the files directly, or by adding contact details of other Wuala users to create share groups, in which case shared folders or files will pop up automatically on these accounts.

Other features of the main application, such as the ability to add notes to shares for more information, mark files or folders as “not family friendly” and recover multiple backup versions of documents, makes it a versatile solution – though one notable omission is the lack of context-sensitive controls for file and folder backups through an operating system.

Smartphone support and pricing
Wuala is also available as a free app for Apple and Android phones, both of which offer fast access to the online shared folder – though they’re both rather limited in terms of additional functionality. Those who are used to alternatives such as Dropbox should note that anything uploaded to Wuala is encrypted on the host computer before it is sent which, together with the fact that your password is never uploaded, adds an reassuring layer of additional security.

But perhaps the most appealing aspect of Wuala is that it’s possible to get involved for free. 1GB of storage and the full functionality of the software and its associated components is available to users at no charge, and those who require more will find prices start at €19 (£17) per year for 10GB.

With this in mind, we think Wuala is an excellent solution for keeping content safely backed up and available to other users or computers. With no size limit on individual uploads, it could provide a serious boost to productivity, or significant convenience to home or casual users.

Company: LaCie

Website: http://www.wuala.com/

Positives
  • Fast, secure and easy to use; mobile support for Apple and Android users.
Negative
  • Limited functionality from smartphones; limited integration with Windows.

Verdict

Wuala is a simple yet attractive alternative to other cloud storage solutions that's fast, secure, easy to use and offers enough functionality to appeal to business and home users alike. With add-ons for smartphones and 1GB available for free, there's no excuse not to give it a try.