Carbonite Backup Review – Is Carbonite Any Good for Your Business?
What’s Carbonite got that other online backup services don’t? Lots of celebrity endorsements and good press, for one. But that’s not the main reason you should select a backup company for your business files. Before you do, read this review and find out if Carbonite is the best choice for your needs.
Who’s Behind the Carbonite Company?
Let’s start by exploring Carbonite, the company. It was founded in 2005 by David Friend, the current CEO, and Jeff Flowers. Prior to that, the two Boston-based entrepreneurs had together formed Pilot Software FaxNet Corporation and Sonexis Incorporated,, so they had plenty of business startup experience.
The idea behind Carbonite was to provide a simple and affordable backup system for any computer user. And that’s exactly what Friend and Flowers have done. Today their company backs up over 350,000,000 files per day and 20 billion files have been restored. Their service is used by customers in more than 100 countries.
Carbonite is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA while their customer support center is located in Lewiston, Maine, USA. The datacenters where customer files are stored reside in several locations across the United States. Apparently those locations are kept top secret because the addresses are not available.
The company has garnered numerous awards for their online backup service. Some of the more recent include the Silver Stevie and Business Leadership Award for their support center, one of Boston’s Best Places to Work, the Silver 2012 Edison Award for Innovation, 2011 Most Admired Startup and the 2010 New England Innovation Award. CEO David Friend, CFO Andrew Keenan and VP of Marketing Swami Kumaresan have received personal accolades for their business savvy, as well. Carbonite enjoys an A+ BBB (Better Business Bureau) rating, which means they have few customer complaints and the small percentage that are registered with the BBB are quickly resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Their marketing strategy has been, at least in the past, to solicit America’s top radio show hosts to endorse their product. Such notable figures as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz have all been paid to tout Carbonite on their syndicated shows. Apparently Carbonite has a huge marketing and advertising budget and they use it to its full advantage – few online backup companies can compete with the type of promotion they use to increase consumer awareness.
The Backup Service Provided by Carbonite
Carbonite offers two types of plans: Home & Home Office and Business. The latter is a good choice if you have three or more computers to back up and/or want to secure files from a server.
You can start a free, 15-day or 30-day trial of either plan. Unlike other online backup companies, Carbonite provides a fully featured version for you to try their product and see if you like it. As with most online backup services, your plan fees will be automatically renewed at the end of your contract period.
Carbonite Home: $5 for Unlimited Cloud Backup
Let’s start with the Home plan. There are two upgrades: HomePlus and HomePremiere. You can try out this type of account for free for 15 days. Prices range from $59.99 (Home) to $149.99 (HomePremiere) per year, or about $5 a month for the lowest plan. One thing you need to be aware of is that the HomePlus and the HomePremeire plans only work for Windows-based machines. All of these plans back up only a single computer.
As do many other online backup services, Carbonite provides a desktop application that runs in the background constantly to save new and changed files (after the initial backup, which could take days to complete). Your files can be accessed by any device connected to the internet, including cell phones and other mobile devices running Android, iOS or Blackberry operating systems. External hard drives can also be backed up, with an account upgrade to HomePlus or HomePremiere.
What does Carbonite do different? Here’s a summary of unique features:
- Unlimited cloud-based storage space
- Full system, mirror system backup of your entire computer, including .exe, program and operating system files (HomePlus or HomePremiere plan)
- Recovery disk provided via courier service to U.S. customers (HomePremiere plan)
- Automatic video backup (HomePremiere plan only)
- Uses a colored dot to show which of your files have been backed up when exploring in Windows
Installation is quick and easy, and unlike many other cloud backup companies, Carbonite doesn’t install annoying popups that constantly remind you to upgrade your account.
You can stick with the automatic settings, or choose to manually decide which files to back up and when to do it (either once a day or by excluding certain times of day, when you are normally using your computer, for instance). It’s good to have choices.
Carbonite will find and back up your desktop, documents, photos, music and user-created files. Although the automatic setting excludes videos, .exe files and those larger than 4GB, you can easily add these.
It’s also a simple process to restore files. You can browse through your online folders for individual files, or you can select a complete restoration. If you don’t want to access your online account, you can simply refer to the Carbonite Backup drive, which was added to your computer during installation.
Every feature we tested (installation, backup, single file restore) worked smoothly and was extremely user-friendly.
Business Plan: Backup Unlimited Devices for Every Employee
Business customers can try a fully featured version of the Business plan free for 30 days. You can install Carbonite on any computer running XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Intel-based Macs with OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 or 10.8 or server running Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2011 or 2012. Need help installing the software? All Business plans feature free valet install service.
Do you really need an online backup system if your employees use external hard drives to store data? Yes, it’s a good idea to use a cloud-based system. Not only does Carbonite use a RAID (redundant disk array) server that is more reliable than an external hard drive, in case of an emergency, such as fire or flood, your data is still accessible from anywhere – and you won’t burn your hands trying to grab that hard drive when flames are licking at the office door!
Business backup plans from Carbonite can be used on an unlimited number of computers, hard drives and NAS (network attached storage) devices. It includes an admin dashboard accessible online (using any web browser) which allows you to manage your account and monitor how much data is being backed up by each user. Tablet and smartphone apps are included with your account.
These plans are HIPAA compatible, so you can safely, and legally, store sensitive customer data. Videos are automatically backed up as a feature of all Business plans. Carbonite Business plans do not, however, backup application program files, temporary files or system files.
Customer support options for Business accounts include phone, chat or email. You can access it 7 days a week.
How Serious Is Carbonite In Securing Your Data?
Carbonite’s datacenters are extremely secure and backed up by UPS and generators to provide emergency power, if necessary. Human intruders are prevented via the use of biometric scanners at all entry points and guards who are on duty 24/7/365.
File encryption occurs via 128-bit Blowfish encryption standards. Carbonite even allows you to manage your own encryption key (available for Windows users only), if you so desire, although that prevents mobile device access. Data is transmitted using standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.
Conclusions: Is Carbonite Recommended for Business Users?
Still, there are a few drawbacks. We found the following flaws in Carbonite’s backup plans:
So, should you use Carbonite for your business backup service? We think it’s a good choice. No company is perfect, but Carbonite, which offers lots of features, options and account types, is an excellent solution for keeping files and sensitive data secure. They have a good reputation and offer a really good product at prices easy to fit into any budget.