Why is computer backup important?
The more I am older, the more I find it important of having reliable backup solution. In the past, when I took couple of photographs I developed pictures, If picture was lost, well, I had to develop new one from the film. Photography is my hobby and I would be really sad If my pictures would be lost, now even more. When you get kids, you watch them grow, you play with them, you enjoy every birthday and of course you also take couple of movies… And then when life gets easier, when they turn 4 years, something hits you – wow this kids are not toddlers any more, they evolved in to a child – time flies and in the next couple of days they will go to school and get married and have children. You see, then you know importance of your pictures. Another example are documents you do for school, work. Music you have been collecting ever since you were teenager.
So I started searching for the best solution. There are many Backup vendors, products… Some backup to cloud only and some backup only to another drive or local devices. If you are afraid of internet or if you are afraid of security, chances are you won’t touch cloud backup and will instead backup to a local NAS, external HDD or burn DVDs, Blue Ray discs or even use USB Drive.
One example is my brother, he started writing his second book. As soon as he told me about this book I remembered a disaster he had with his first book – His HDD in Thinkpad failed, and did so in a way, simple recovery (with software did not work) disk was just clicking and boy was I feeling bad, his younger brother unable to help. Luckily he did couple of backups to USB drive – but only a couple. He still had to rewrite big portion of his book. Being a good brother I bought him subscription to Crashplan, and he is not using cloud backup, even though I assured him that it’s safe… For him internet is not an option for backup. But, he uses External drive for backup. And he likes green icon.
As for my self, I am a very satisfied user of Crashplan Cloud backup. My first year of subscription is about to end and just couple of days ago it happend. My lovely Imac was after 2 years affected by bad series Seagate drive, very first hit in google was website from Apple notifying it’s customers about HDD replacement program being extended for another 2 years.
I replaced Imac for Retina Macbook pro and all the pictures, all the music and all of important documents were waiting for me in CrashPlan Central – cloud repository. What a day, I was so happy that I decided to do a review of CrashPlan.
CrashPlan is available in 4 versions, 1. Free as in Beer, 2. CrashPlan + this one has cloud subscription, 3. CrashPlanPRO for business users to the cloud, 4. CrashPlan PROe for enterprise.
Crashplan free is great for people who cant afford spending money on good backup, but even though it’s free it comes with great features, provides encrypted backup to another device (like another HDD) and wait for this – backup to your friends location, all friend needs to do is to install CrashPlan on his computer and dedicate space for backup (like external HDD) you do the same and you both have ”Cloud” backup for free.
CrashPlan+ gets you continuos backup + backup to CrashPlan Cloud, Mobile App to check the progress of backup and ability to restore files to that device.
CrashPlanPRO is basically CrashPlan+ with additional features for multiple users + reports while CrashPlan PROe is for enterprise customer (private cloud)
CrashPlan is very easy to use, on backup screen you see progress of backup, repositories, and which folders are selected for backup. If you are using CrashPlan+ you still have the option to backup to external devices and ability to backup to Friends location.
On the Mac, there is also icon in the menu showing you progress so that you dont have to open CrashPlan every time.
Yes, you can back up external devices:
Restore is very simple. You find the folder that was deleted, select it, choose location where to restore and click on the button restore.
Some people complain that backup is slow, well, there is a reason for that, CrashPlan encrypts, compresses, deduplicates every file that is sent to the internet.
Another feature enabled by default in CrashPlan is that it’s set in a way that you don’t notice that it’s running. But if you change processor usage when user is present at computer (good for first time backup when a lot of data has to backed up) then upload speed will increase.
Another nice feature is email delivery notifying you on backup progress – included in free version as well.
What about security? You wont be disappointed, it’s the only backup that has ability to encrypt your backup with private key. When similar competing products are telling you that their backup is also encrypted they are telling you only half of the truth, it’s really encrypted through the internet but once it reaches their servers, they have ability to look at your data, their servers have decryption key so that it can do varios data savings optimisations, and it’s up to their staff (not likely but its an option) if they want to peek inside backup data of their customer.
Well, this private encryption key makes your data really private, nobody can see it unless they have your private key. The only downside is that you really have to keep this private key around until you want to restore your data. If you loose it, you will loose data as well and CrashPlan staff can’t help you.
You can limit transfer speed if you are on a slow link, and you can also select which wireless network will be allowed for backup (in case you are tethering or roaming this is compulsory setting, very nice feature)
Adding friends computers is as simple as entering short code.
Feature list doesn’t stop
It supports backing up open / locked files, meaning that locked files can be backed up (outlook PST), It supports multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Solaris, Linux…), Unlike some similar products it does not delete files in the cloud after you delete them on your computer (dont believe me? Test some), Unlimited file size, Seeded backups….
What about support? Well, based on my experiences – It’s quite good.
I have to admit that I really love CrashPlan and I do recommend it to everybody, to individuals who cant afford it, to the ones that would like to backup to the cloud and forget about backup or to the business users. It’s really the best backup there is, period.
So about In search for perfect home backup – Crashplan – it has been found. And it saved me a headache or two.