There are many services that offer backup services or storage via the cloud but the most flexible and comprehensive service on offer must be that of CrashPlan. The variety of ways that it enables you to back up your data covers pretty much every eventuality that you can consider. You can back up your data locally to a separate hard disc, in a different location to a friend’s computer or online, where your data is backed up to multiple locations.
CrashPlan Local Backup Overview
This is a free download. One downloaded you can quickly backup your data to an external hard drive or a second computer that has CrashPlan downloaded on to it using the same email address.
CrashPlan Offsite Backup Overview
Both you and your friend needs to download the free CrashPlan program. You then exchange a 6 digit pass code. You then can back up your files onto their computer and they can back up their files on to your computer. Due to the encryption they are unable to see your files and you are unable to see theirs.
CrashPlan Online Backup Overview
This is a fuller featured paid for service from CrashPlan. Your data is backed up to remote servers over the internet. All you data is stored in three separate locations for added safety incase or server failure. All data is fully encrypted during transmission and storage.
The overview pretty much says it all. This is a very simple backup system that you do to either an external hard drive or to an old computer. The old computer does not even need to use the same operating system as the one you are backing up from. As these backups are not done over the internet they are very quick to carry out.
This is a great idea that gives both you and your chosen friend the added peace of mind that if anything should happen, such as a fire or flood in one location you both know that there is a copy of your data stored safely elsewhere. If you already have CrashPlan all you need to do is send your friend an invite to join CrashPlan. When they sign up using their email address that you gave to CrashPlan they will appear as a backup destination in you CrashPlan control panel. You can then backup as you would normally. If your friend is already a user you just exchange the 6 digit alphanumeric code that you each have and you will appear in each other’s destination tabs. You can each limit the amount of disc space that each other can use and the data is kept secure by 448 bit encryption so that you cannot see the other person’s data. Both computers must be switched on to run the backups. This is carried out over the internet so, depending on connection speed, the initial back up could take some considerable time. This time can be reduced by using a seeded backup. See below for a fuller explanation.
This is a paid for fully featured version of CrashPlan. There are a variety of options to choose from. One of the advantages of this system is that the amount of data that you can store is literally unlimited. Plus you can access your data that has been backed up either using a free to download app or from a different computer.
The initial backup that is performed is a full backup. This can take some time to do and to speed up the process a seeded backup can be used (see below for fuller explanation). After the initial backup CrashPlan uses what is called de-duplication backup. It checks any file that it automatically sees has been altered. It checks the new version with the old version then only backs up the parts that have been changed. This reduces the time and bandwidth needed to back up your data.
Should you ever suffer a catastrophic loss of data there are two options available to you. You can store your data over the internet, which can obviously take a great deal of time of you can order a Restore-to Door service. With this service CrashPlan will copy all your data to a hard drive and send the drive to you by courier. Although this may take a few days to reach you the full backup will usually be completed much faster this way.
Features Offered by CrashPlan Subscription
- Online cloud storage
- External hard drive
- Offsite to other computers
- Automatic & unattended backups
- No bandwidth caps
- No file size limits
- Multiple backup sets
- Incremental & differential backups
- Continuous backups
- Individual file selection
- Backup scheduling
- Pause backups on low battery
- Pause backups over selected network interfaces
- Pause backups over Wi-Fi networks
- Optional seeded backup
- Data encrypted before transmitting
- 448 bit file encryption
- 128 bit AES transmission encryption
- Private password for restore
- User-generated private key
- Customizable status reporting
- Restore Features
- Keep deleted files forever
- Unlimited file versions retained
- Self-healing archives
- Restore individual files
- Web browser file access / restore
- Mobile app file access
- Optional Restore-to-Door courier service
- Priority support
Seed Drive for Initial Backup
The initial backup will always be the biggest. Subsequent backups only backup the data that has changed since the previous backup so are much faster. This is a way for the initial backup to be completed as quickly as possible. For users of the free CrashPlan Offsite service, you can take an external drive and backup your data to there. Then physically give the device to your friend for them to add in to your folder on their computer and you do the same for them. Subsequent online backups will then only transmit the details that are different to the initial backup. For subscribers to CrashPlan you can subscribe to the optional seeding service where they send you a hard disc which is returned for them to make the initial data backup on their servers.
As can be seen, by using CrashPlan the variety of options are wide and far ranging with many great features, even with the free versions. The idea of being able to store your data offsite at a friend’s computer is great. Almost like having your own private secure cloud storage. It seems as if CrashPlan has spent a great deal of time looking at problems with data backup and then come up with solutions rather than just developing a system and saying, this is what we have, you work with this. This is a highly recommended backup system.