Carbonite – Solid, If Limited, Cloud Storage
Price: Starts $59.99/yr
There are all kinds of cloud storage services out there, but most of them only come with general plans and they are not full cloud backup solutions. Carbonite is a cloud storage and backup solution. So what is a cloud backup solution and why would you need it? A backup solution in the cloud means everything on your hard drive is also on a storage device elsewhere. A cloud backup means that your data in the cloud is safe from physical damage that happens with physical hard drives. With physical disks you also run the risk of losing them, corrupt data and physical drive failures (something that happened to me a few years ago).
A cloud storage solution is essentially what the likes of Dropbox, OneDrive and many other services offer. A syncing file and folder software that essentially maintains replica copies of your data on a cloud. If for some reason something happens to your computer while the synching software is running in the background; you may lose all your data. This too has happened to someone I know.
Now that we’re a bit clear on what is what, lets take a look at what Carbonite offers.
The Carbonite client works the way you would expect it to. You download it from the website, log into your account, and immediately start syncing your files with the website. Its pretty cut and dry, and the process doesn’t really differ from other cloud storage clients.
Carbonite offers several packages for personal solutions. The first thing you will notice is that Carbonite does not have a free plan: something most of its competition offers. This is somewhat frustrating because someone may not want to pay for a solution if they have a nominal amount of data to backup. But if you want to try it out, there is a 15 day free trial. The one nice thing about Carbonite is that it offers unlimited backup, no matter what. The drawback is that Carbonite only covers one computer. The real difference in the plans then ultimately comes down to what you want to backup.
The personal plans are separated into three tiers. The first tier, Basic, gets users unlimited backup for 1 device, customer service, and remote access to all of your files. It matches many other basic options for cloud services, and it does so at roughly the same price: $59.95 per year. It isn’t a bad price, especially for unlimited backup storage. But allowing only one computer to be backed up is frustrating (I personally have things spread between two devices). That means if you have multiple computers you want backed up, you will have to create and purchase separate accounts for each one. That can add up quickly for a family of four.
The next tier, Plus, costs $99.99 a year and allows you to backup a single external hard drive. For such a price jump, it is hard to say whether or not that is even worth it.
Premium is probably the best, even though it is still roughly priced at $149.99 a year. With Premium, you can finally backup videos (which you cannot do on a lower tier account). The best feature of premium is its courier service in which Carbonite will send you a hard copy of all of your backed up files. It really does sound like an awesome feature.
The business solutions for Carbonite are quite different from the personal plans and are really aimed at small to medium sized businesses. There is a free trial for business solutions as well and its for 30 days. Here are the solutions under their business plans (note that the bundle plan includes all three services):
Carbonite Pro is the service you’ll want to backup all of your business data. The nice thing about Pro is it allows you to backup unlimited numbers of computers, there is just a cap on how much data you can store. Plus you get a friendly customer service, and remote access and management of PCs. The varying plans ultimately determine how much data you get store. They are as follows: Basic – 250 GB ($269.99/yr), Prime – 500 GB ($599.99/yr), Bundle – 500 GB + Server Storage ($1299.99/yr).
Carbonite Server Backup
It is exactly how it sounds. With this solution, your business can back up its server data using Carbonite. All plans work with physical and digital servers, and all plans can be deeply customised to include local or cloud content. Here is a thorough breakdown of the plan differences. The prices are as follows: Essentials – $899.99/yr, Advanced – $1199.99/yr, Bundle – $1299.99/yr.
Carbonite Backup Alliance
The Backup Alliance solution is basically your security for data recovery. With its all in one solutions, Backup Alliance can help you easily recover your business data. Backup Alliance is included in the Bundle solution.
Carbonite offers a lot of great services for cloud storage, though it can be a bit pricey. While the business solutions are excellent and offer a lot of security, the personal plans do not offer as much “bang for your buck.” While unlimited storage is nice, it is frustrating to be limited to one computer. I would have preferred if it was 1 owner or user and have multiple devices get added on to 1 plan. The lack of a free version is also irritating (though you do get a Free trial through TechVise). For personal solutions, you may be better off with another service, but Carbonite is certainly something to keep in mind for businesses both large and small.