Carbonite Cloud Backup Review

A nasty rule of life is that your computer only crashes just before you have backed up your files. Nobody disputes the need of having adequate backups, but the problem doesn’t go away just because you have good intentions. Have you ever heard a story of somebody losing data without a backup? Has it ever happened to you? The stories are not pretty.

The digital age has given us the ability to store vast amounts of information on a small device—a hard drive. The amount of data that a hard drive can hold is staggering. It’s also scary. If a hard drive crashes, and they do, everything can be lost. A sudden and severe electrical surge can turn a hard drive into a worthless piece of toast.

Manual backup plans are only as good as the action to carry out those plans. If you have every intention of backing up your files but are distracted or called away by other matters, your intentions don’t matter; your files are lost. Many take a simple approach and keep a flash drive attached to their computer and back up regularly. What they don’t realize is that the flash drive itself can be rendered useless by a computer crash. If your office or home office is destroyed it doesn’t matter that your backup drive is disconnected from your computer. The key is that the backup has to be off premises.

The irony is this: technology makes it easy to back up files; but it also makes it easy to neglect the chore.

The key to an intelligent backup system is that it works automatically, backs up off site and doesn’t depend on you to remember anything. Carbonite is one of the most popular automatic backup systems. The subtitle of the company is “The Better Backup Plan.” The software has two things going for it: it’s easy to use and it’s inexpensive. The New York Times touts it as “The easiest online backup software to use – in fact, to not use since it’s completely automatic.” The company has grown impressively in the last few years. Carbonite was on the Inc.500 list of fastest growing companies two-years in a row. Carbonite offers a Home and Home Office product and a Small Business plan.

Carbonite backs up files or, depending on which product version you purchase, creates a mirror image of your hard drive for a complete backup. Whenever you create a new file or update an existing one, Carbonite sends the information to its server over the Internet. The backup is automatic and works in the background.

Security and reliability are obviously important; that’s why you backup to begin with. Carbonite uses secure socket layer (SSL) security technology and stores your data at their data center on disk arrays. If you need tech support Carbonite will handle your questions by telephone, e-mail or live chat.

If you need to restore your files the software walks you through the process. If your hard drive is dead Carbonite will restore the files to a new drive. Even if a serious disaster hits and you are without Internet access, the company will ship your files to you on a portable hard drive.

“Anywhere access” is a benefit that Carbonite brags about, for good reason. You can access any of your files from anywhere, even on your IPhone or Blackberry. The mobile apps for doing this are free.

The features are impressive. Here are the ones that come standard:

  • Schedule backups according to your own schedule. For example, you can schedule backups only for the evening. You can set a specific time for the backup to start.
  • Multiple file versions. If you have certain files that you change frequently, Carbonite can save up to 3 months of previous versions of your files
  • You can set the recovery priority and tell Carbonite what files to restore first. This enables you to get back to work fast on the files that you regularly use and need.
  • These are additional features with an upgrade version.

  • External hard drive files. If you have some files that are not on your computer, Carbonite can back these up as well.
  • Mirror image backup. By choosing this option, you can have an exact copy of your entire operating system as well as all files and folders.
  • Carbonite is a powerful, reasonably priced and simple to use solution for your backup needs.

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