Have you ever found a cloud software that seemed perfect for your small business, only to discover that it's an enterprise-based solution with an enterprise-based price? Ouch! Small business owners don't often have the budget to spend hundreds or thousands on data backup. At the same time, small businesses have very specific backup needs.
CrashPlan is a company that's filling this niche gap. Originally a generic cloud backup solution, the company recently shifted their focus entirely to small businesses. As such, the features are designed to protect and organize data without digging too deeply into your budget.
Overview of the Basics
CrashPlan is a backup and cloud storage system designed to manage small business data. Like other cloud backup services, the goal is to back up information from mobile devices, computers, external drives, and other devices so that data won't be lost in the event of software glitches and hardware crashes.
Unlike the majority of other plans on the market, though, CrashPlan uses true unlimited backup. There aren't any limitations set on the number of files or the amount of storage space you can use. Competing providers impose data limits and require you to pay extra to expand your storage space.
CrashPlan's basic fee structure covers only one computer. To back up multiple devices, you'll pay an extra fee. You can also back up the files on any number of external drives, a vital resource considering external drives are highly vulnerable to data loss from damage.
Types of Backup
Different cloud software systems cover different kinds of data backup. CrashPlan takes care of all of the basics. That includes email notifications, file compression, local drive backup, incremental backup, continuous backup, and scheduled backup.
Continuous backup syncs all the files on a computer to the cloud regardless of whether they've been tagged for backup or not. This takes a lot of the hassle out of the system, and you never need to wonder whether you've really saved that important document.
In addition to backing up to cloud servers, CrashPlan also backs data up to your local drives. Since this makes the data accessible in two places, CrashPlan is technically a hybrid backup service.
Versioning is a service that preserves earlier saved versions of files, even if they've been modified or overwritten on a computer device. With CrashPlan's backup, you can restore any older version of a file without issue.
This can be lifesaving when you're dealing with a corrupted file that no longer displays vital data. It also helps correct mistakes if files are accidentally modified with incorrect information or formatting.
Most cloud backup services include versioning as a passive feature. But CrashPlan makes it a core component, allowing you to customize the policy from your computer client. Even though you can't keep unlimited versions of earlier files, you can retain them indefinitely in fifteen-minute increments. It's basically indefinite.
A feature that goes hand-in-hand with this is the option to keep deleted files indefinitely. Many services won't preserve deleted files for more than fifteen to thirty days, purging their servers regularly to save space. CrashPlan's file preservation means that nothing is ever truly lost.
The pricing model for CrashPlan is simple. Rather than having multiple different packages, all clients receive the same features for the same price. One computer with access to the cloud costs ten dollars per month. For every new device added to the cloud, you pay another ten dollars monthly.
Adding new computers is simple. There isn't an annual pricing option since so many consumers add and remove devices frequently over the course of a year. The subscription can be canceled at any time if you so choose.
Before you commit to a purchase, you have the option to download a 30-day free trial. This lets you access the cloud and explore all the features to see whether CrashPlan is right for you.
Unfortunately, CrashPlan lacks a mobile app to let you control and access data remotely. However, the desktop client is capable of running on Linux, Windows, and Mac systems. Installation takes just a few minutes.
The software backs devices up based on where their files are located, rather than based on the file type. This means that all the files on one computer may be protected, but files on another might not be backed up unless you've tagged that device for backup.
Other backup services tend to back files up by type, allowing you to have all documents, spreadsheets, videos, photos, and other types of media protected. It can be a little inconvenient to lack this option, but as long as all the relevant devices are synced and tagged for backup, you shouldn't run into any issues.
The interface is easy to use, allowing you to access your settings and downloads right from the homepage. When using devices without a downloaded client, you can access your data through the website interface. If you've assigned multiple user roles, you can track backup statistics and progress for different people remotely.
From a managerial perspective, there's a great deal of control over the device. You can choose what users do and don't have access, what devices are being backed up, what apps are being downloaded, and what reports are necessary to keep track of important data-related information.
These features are part of what makes the system so good for small business owners as opposed to simple personal users.
The time will inevitably come when you need to restore your files from the cloud. Fortunately, CrashPlan has a number of restore options that work for a variety of different circumstances.
You can restore files by:
The web client's restore feature is convenient when you're working with devices that don't have the desktop client downloaded. If you're a system administrator, you can also remotely access any files on the cloud from all of the connected devices.
CrashPlan doesn't skimp on the security measures. It uses a variety of encryption methods to protect data before, during, and after the file transfer process. The information on the cloud is also protected by encryption.
CrashPlan saves encryption keys by default so the company is able to reset your account password should you forget it. If you're concerned about security vulnerability there, you can set up your own private encryption key in the desktop client.
You can also use two-factor authentication to protect your information. This system will send you a code to verify your identity if you log into your account from a new device.
CrashPlan's physical data centers are also surveilled 24/7 and have multiple safeguards against intruders. Facilities have been outfitted with security measures to avoid failure due to natural disasters, power outages, and device malfunctions.
Despite not having one hundred percent of the convenience features that some other cloud backup systems employ, CrashPlan is a blessing for small business owners. By shifting focus from personal data to small business needs, CrashPlan has created cloud backup options that meet all basic needs while staying at an affordable price point.
If you've been looking for a backup solution for your small business, CrashPlan is the place to go. Loss of data can be catastrophic, and you never know what could happen to your computers or external drives. Cloud backups put everything in one place and allow you ongoing peace of mind.