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Reviews and expert opinion Zoolz Cloud

Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete Cloud Hosting Expert

BigMIND Home is an affordable, smart, secure online backup service for individuals and businesses. Using AI technology, BigMIND organizes your data so you can quickly locate a specific file or restore an entire data set. But security for personal plans is flawed, and cutting-edge tools don’t always deliver.

Overview

Zoolz BigMIND Home Promises Smart, Secure Cloud Storage

With its aptly named BigMIND products, Zoolz has made artificial intelligence (AI) central to its online cloud backup services. Competitively priced, flexible, secure, and smart cloud backup is what BigMIND promises – and mostly delivers.

Zoolz offers different BigMIND plans for individuals, families, and businesses large and small. It’s one of the few online backup services that offers a permanent free version, though it covers just 1GB of cloud storage and doesn’t include customer support.

BigMIND is designed to do two things: 1. Securely back up your important data at an affordable price; and 2. Organize your files so you can easily find and recover a specific folder, document, image, or video.

Well-designed web and mobile apps make it easy to schedule backups and set preferences. Hybrid backups, mobile backup, and backup of social media and file sharing/cloud storage accounts are standard features in all BigMIND Home plans.

BigMIND dashboard
BigMIND’s apps are easy to understand and use

But it’s missing a few things, like private encryption protection and offline disaster recovery. (BigMIND Business plans include both.)

With so many online backup services to choose from, it can be hard to pick the one that’s the right fit for you. I’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed BigMIND Home so you don’t have to. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of its smart cloud backups.

Features

4.5

Plenty of Smart Features and Tools

Data Server Locations Japan (Tokyo), Ireland, South Korea (Seoul), United States
Backup and Restore Options Continuous or scheduled backups, backup from external drive, idle backups, backup status reports
Limits and Restrictions No limits on file size or type, no fair use limits, optional bandwidth throttling
Applications and Operating Systems Windows 7 (at least SP1), 8, 10 (32-bit and 64-bit); macOS 10.9 and later; Apple iOS 10.0 and later; Google Android OS 2.2 and up
Encryption Keys Transfer encryption key via AES 256-bit over SSL protocol, no private encryption key
File Access Web and mobile apps, multi-device syncing
File Sharing

Zoolz has packed BigMIND with lots of features and tools to make it more than a simple cloud backup solution.

You can sync data from social media platforms and cloud storage services, like OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. You can also sign into your account using Facebook, Google, or Apple which, while convenient, may raise privacy issues.

BigMIND Home doesn’t create a disk image that includes system and program files. So, you can’t use it to reboot your computer if it crashes.

And while it stores files you delete from your devices forever, it keeps only the ten most recent versions of your files in the cloud.

Lots of Ways to Manage What and How You Back Up

BigMIND Home gives you a lot of options for configuring, scheduling, and managing backups. The scheduling panel lets you set the day(s), hour, and duration of backups. You can manually pause or start a backup at any time.

While BigMIND technically doesn’t offer continuous backups, it does let you schedule regular backups as frequently as every five minutes, a shorter time frame than what some competitors call “continuous.”

You can simultaneously back up to the cloud and locally on an external hard drive, known as a hybrid backup.

BigMIND settings for hybrid backups
I liked being able to customize my hybrid backup settings

BigMIND will back up data from your mobile device. Not all online backup services let you do this. You can also back up email accounts on your computer, like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, but not those from online servers like Gmail.

Recover Your Data from Any Computer or Mobile Device

BigMIND makes it easy to restore backed-up data using your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. You can restore a single file, a category, or an entire backup.

If you’ve used BigMIND’s smart tools – AI facial recognition and object detection – and added your own tags, recovering a particular file is simple.

BigMIND also lets you scroll through thumbnails of your photos so you can easily locate the specific image you’re looking for.

You can also specify a location for the recovery. This is important because it allows you to restore data to a new computer or external hard drive if, for example, you’ve experienced a natural disaster, crash, or theft.

The BigMIND restore panel
It’s easy to recover your data using BigMIND’s well-designed apps

But there’s no offline recovery option, and that’s a drawback. That means that in the event of a disaster, you can’t have recovered data sent to you on a hard drive. This feature is available on business plans – and on some competitors’ personal plans.

Security Has Flaws

BigMIND encrypts your files on your computer or mobile device, then transmits and stores them in the cloud. It does this using 256-bit AES encryption, the highest standard for the industry. Encrypted data is transmitted to Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers over a secure SSL connection.

AWS complies with a wide range of global IT security standards, including those for finance, retail, healthcare, government, and more.

Where BigMIND comes up short is in not offering a private encryption key (PEK). Most competing cloud backup services offer this security feature.

However, it does have the added security of two-factor authentication or verification. You can enable this by installing an app that generates a one-time-use passcode. Each time you log into your account, Zoolz will send a new six-digit authentication code to the app on your smartphone.

See full list of features

Ease of use

4.6

Back Up, Share, and Recover Data in a Few Simple Steps

The well-designed desktop, web, and mobile apps are easy to understand and use. They’re a step above the gray, bland interface of some other cloud backup providers.

BigMIND makes choice and customization straightforward. Even novices will find it easy to navigate settings and configure their online backups.

Connect Your Social Media and File Sharing/Cloud Services

BigMIND lets you connect and back up data from your social media and file storage services.

This feature is convenient if you want all your documents, photos, and videos in one location. It’s also great for easily sharing any file, whatever its size.

Connect other file storage to BigMIND
BigMIND lets you choose the services you want to connect

Just keep in mind that if you integrate other services with BigMIND, you might need to pay for a higher-tier plan that gives you more storage space.

AI Helps Locate and Share Photos and Videos

BigMIND uses AI-powered facial recognition to analyze the colors, faces, and features in your uploaded photos and videos. It gathers details like the date, location, and camera used. BigMIND then organizes it all for easier recovery.

AI tools create smart tags to identify faces and things in your backed-up photos. You can also add your own tags for even smarter searching and recovery.

I tested the AI smart tools for accuracy. They worked best on everyday objects, most of the time on people (especially if tagged), and less well on more complex or uncommon images.

BigMIND AI identification error
Depending on the photos you back up, BigMIND’s AI identification may not work

You can find a particular image by viewing thumbnails of images you’ve backed up. Or enter a search term or keyword and BigMIND will match it to your stored photos using the file name, content, and tags.

Do More with a Full-Featured Mobile App

Some of the best online backup services let you view or recover – but not back up – data using a smartphone or tablet. With BigMIND you can do both.

The BigMIND app for Android and iOS lets you back up your mail, documents, photos, videos, music, messages, contacts, call logs, and calendar. However, you can’t back up music from your iOS phone.

You can also stream videos – without buffering! – that you’ve backed up to your phone or tablet straight from the cloud.

Searching backed-up data is easy. Use the search bar to locate a particular file by entering tags, faces, or filters.

BigMIND mobile app AI tools
BigMIND’s built-in AI tags made it easy to search and locate photos

BigMIND has even made it easy to restore data from Android to iOS and vice versa, which is not always the case with competing services (for example, SpiderOak One doesn’t even offer smartphone apps!)

There’s another special feature included in the mobile app. If you open your Zoolz BigMIND account with the mobile app rather than the web app, your plan includes 5GB of free cloud storage.

Setting Up an Account

When you create your account, BigMIND Home installs the free 1GB plan (though you can easily upgrade!) by default.

The setup wizard launches and takes you through the installation steps one by one. You’ll be asked if you want to connect a file sharing/cloud storage service. (You can skip this if you’d like and do it later.)

Then it’s time to choose the files you want to back up. BigMIND gives you a pretty handy tool called Smart Selection that organizes your files into ten categories, and you select which ones to back up.

BigMIND smart selection categories
Smart Selection made it easier to choose the files I wanted to back up

After you choose what you want to back up, you’ll configure your backup schedule. As I’ve already mentioned, the scheduling panel gives you lots of options for when your backups will happen.

BigMIND scheduling panel
Even novices will find it easy to schedule BigMIND backups

BigMIND has lots of settings that let you adjust how much of your internet bandwidth the service can use.

See if Zoolz Cloud is Right for You

Performance

4.3

Good Performance and Robust Customization

Because Zoolz BigMIND relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS), it benefits from Amazon’s infrastructure, specifically the location of its data centers and its content delivery network (CDN). This makes it more likely that you’ll have fewer issues with your upload speeds.

But BigMIND also doesn’t skimp on the settings you can use to adjust the speed of your backups. You have lots of options, some quite novel.

  • Multithreading. Adjust the number of threads the service can use to upload your data to speed up your backups. (Zoolz cautions that selecting multithreading will consume all of your bandwidth!)
  • Throttling. Limit the amount of bandwidth dedicated to backups by enabling throttling so the service doesn’t interfere with other tasks. You can even schedule the time of day when you want to limit BigMIND’s bandwidth use, an extremely useful option not offered by competing services.
  • Turbo or smart backup. Select Turbo to really speed up the process if your internet connection is slow or you’re backing up large files.
  • Presentation mode. Enable this tool to automatically pause backups if you’re watching videos, playing games, or conducting a presentation.
BigMIND performance settings
BigMIND offers lots of options for customizing backup usage and timing

My upload and download speeds are generally pretty slow – on average, just 13Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads.

But when I backed up files using BigMIND’s Turbo setting it reported my upload speed was significantly faster – over 50Mbps. Customer service confirmed my data was being sent to a Virginia server, which is not too far from my Georgia location, so I anticipated a relatively speedy backup.

But that wasn’t the case. I started the backup on a Sunday morning at 9:05, but despite the turbo boost, backing up a 3GB folder took more than 9 hours. Throughout the day, BigMIND repeatedly stalled or paused. I had to disconnect from the internet, sign out, log in, and start the process again.

BigMIND backup dashboard
My backup took hours even when using BigMIND’s Turbo mode to speed up the process

The backup also paused every time I used another application on my computer.

Lots of factors other than your internet connection can affect the speed of your backups – your distance from the closest data center, the service’s infrastructure, file compression, and even the type of encryption.

I learned that a 3GB folder with a few large files will always back up faster than one with many small files. Since my test folder had over 2,100 individual files, that may have significantly slowed the backup.

My colleague tested a 1GB folder on a Monday at 5:40 p.m. Her upload was virtually seamless and took just 16 minutes. This could be because she has a faster upload speed (8Mbps) and was in California, where BigMIND has both a data center and an extensive CDN.

When I tested the BigMIND mobile app’s performance, I was able to back up and recover files with no problems. But since BigMIND only backs up some data from iOS phones and tablets, the size of the files I backed up were small.

See if Zoolz Cloud is Right for You

Privacy

3.8

Privacy Policies Have Some Big Issues

Genie9, Zoolz’s parent company, is located in the UK and complies with many global privacy policies, including those of the US, EU, and Japan. You can find comprehensive information in the statement of terms. I’ve highlighted the key points below.

  • Personal information. Zoolz collects personal information it needs to provide support, improve services, and process payments.
  • Cookies. It uses cookies to manage your account and may also use embedded cookies for marketing purposes.
  • Your data. Zoolz doesn’t view the content of files you back up, but it does store data like file extensions, names, and sizes and may use that information to provide technical support.
  • Marketing and third parties. It will never sell or market your personal information to third parties.
  • Linked social media platforms and cloud services. Zoolz makes it clear it’s not responsible for how personal information gathered by third-party companies is used.
  • Mobile app. Genie9 says it only asks for permissions required to back up files. It doesn’t collect any data from the mobile iOS app.

If you log on to BigMIND with your Facebook or Google account, or back up from social media platforms and other cloud services, make sure to review their policies and use privacy settings to protect yourself.

While this is all pretty standard for an e-commerce company, there are some serious issues due to the lack of private encryption protection for BigMIND Home users (as mentioned in the Features section). This gives Zoolz the ability to potentially decrypt your data without your permission or knowledge.

Zoolz’s North American data centers serve global and US customers. Zoolz sends your data to the server that is closest to your location. This means that, if you are outside the UK/EU or Tokyo regions, you may be subject to US online privacy laws, including the Patriot Act, which allows US law enforcement and security authorities to request and view the contents of any file you’ve backed up.

If your privacy and the security of your data are top concerns, or you plan to back up sensitive documents, you may want to consider another cloud backup provider.

See Zoolz Cloud Privacy Features

Support

4.3

Limited Support Options

Zoolz offers different support options for BigMIND Home plans. It has premium support with its Family Plus plan, standard support for two other BigMIND home plans, and no support with the free plan – but none include phone support.

BigMIND Home subscribers can also submit support tickets and request remote support for serious issues. With remote support, a Zoolz tech contacts you and works with you to solve the problem. Premium support simply moves your support ticket to the front of the line.

There’s also the option to use live chat, but it’s staffed by sales representatives, not technical support staff. You can always search the comprehensive Zoolz wiki knowledge base and find answers to many questions.

While using the BigMIND Home free plan, I submitted a support ticket and got a response within 24 hours.

BigMIND support email
BigMIND says there’s no support with the free plan, but I got a quick response

I also used online chat, which is sometimes manned by a bot and sometimes not. As a result, the answers to my questions were not always accurate. Both the bot and reps may also just refer you to an article in the Zoolz wiki.

BigMIND online chat support
I would have preferred a direct answer to my question

If you click on the embedded Help link in the browser, web, and mobile apps you’ll likely be directed to the Zoolz wiki.

Pricing

4.3

A Plan and Price to Suit Almost Every Need

Zoolz offers so many different BigMIND plans – four for individuals and four for businesses – that it can be difficult to decide which cloud storage product is right for you.

Each plan comes with different features, tools, support, and storage, though all BigMIND products use artificial intelligence, smart filters, and facial recognition to organize, locate, and recover files.

Pricing depends on the features you want and the amount of storage you need. BigMIND Home’s free plan is good if you can get by with only 1GB of storage and no customer support. The Family Plus plan gives you 1TB of storage, HD streaming video (it’s standard definition with the 100GB and 500GB personal plans), and premium customer support.

Zoolz doesn’t offer free trials for its personal and family plans – you can only test the service with the free plan. And, unless you choose the Family Plus plan, you have to pay for a full year in advance.

BigMIND Home plans chart
BigMIND Home plans have different features

If you choose a plan with more storage, be sure to complete your review within the 30-day money-back guarantee window to get a full refund.

BigMIND Business offers several enterprise-grade, intelligent cloud backup plans. All cover multiple users and servers, and there is a free trial period.

Sole proprietors and freelancers may decide BigMIND Business is a better choice because it gives you the option to set up a private encryption key and back up network-attached servers (NAS). Anyone can subscribe to BigMIND Business cloud backup, but the plans are more expensive.

Zoolz accepts almost all payment methods except Bitcoin. That includes all major credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal.

Canceling your account and deleting your stored data is easy using either the web app, mobile app, or online dashboard. Unfortunately, BigMIND keeps your deleted data for 30 days. And you must contact Genie9 to remove your personal information from the database.

Comparison

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Zoolz Cloud REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Zoolz BigMIND cloud storage products offer state-of-the-art technology and well-designed web and mobile apps that are easy to use. But while BigMIND Home plans include some novel features and lots of flexibility, they lack important options, like private encryption protection, that are standard features with many competitors, such as Backblaze and iDrive.

If all you want from a backup service is the peace of mind that comes from knowing all your data is safe in the cloud, there are less expensive choices.

But if you’re looking for more than a straightforward backup service and want extra features, like a fully functional mobile app, the ability to connect and back up data from other cloud services, or the increased productivity that AI tools bring, BigMIND is worth the price.

FAQ

What is Zoolz/Genie9’s DMCA policy?Zoolz will respond to all claims of copyright infringement in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). To make a claim, the owner of the copyright or an authorized representative must submit a DMCA Notice of Infringement to the copyright agent, Zoolz, [email protected] The notice must include full details: the work or works that have been infringed; your name and your company name (if applicable); your mailing address and email address (if available); and your telephone number.How is Zoolz BigMIND better than iCloud or Google Drive?Zoolz BigMIND is not a native cloud storage service. It’s a true online backup service that also lets you use its file sharing and syncing features on a PC or Mac and on Android and iOS mobile devices. Both iCloud and Google Drive are primarily cloud storage services that work best within their own ecosystems. Online backup services like BigMIND offer tools to schedule backups of all your data and set specific parameters for how those backups will work, something not available with iCloud or Drive. iCloud will back up and sync your data and applications so you can restore them in the event of a disaster or retrieve them to set up a new iOS device. Google Drive automatically saves and backs up individual files created with its suite of collaborative applications.Is Zoolz good for beginners?Zoolz BigMIND is a good backup service for either novices or experienced users. That’s because, despite the number of plans you can choose from and the configuration options, every BigMIND product is easy to understand and use. Some settings are intimidating at first, but even those are mostly easy to configure.Is Zoolz online backup service safe?Zoolz, like other cloud backup services, provides a level of encryption and security beyond the capabilities of individuals and businesses. It relies on Amazon Web Services for cloud storage, and Amazon’s infrastructure and security monitoring is excellent. The only flaw in privacy and security is the lack of private encryption protection for the BigMIND personal plans, but this is offset by the option to add an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication. You should also, of course, choose a strong password and regularly update it. For a cloud backup service with private encryption protection, solutions such as Acronis, iDrive, and Backblaze are some of our top choices.

Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete
Dawn is a freelance writer and editor specializing in developing strategic content for businesses. A lover of philosophy and the arts, she brainstorms with cultural educators to ensure all students have access to enriching learning opportunities.

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