CrashPlan for Small Business

CrashPlan for Small Business
crashplan for small business

One of the first things you’ll notice about Code 42’s CrashPlan for Small Business (CrashPlan) is that it has only one pricing tier: $9.99 per computer per month. That covers all your user desktop and laptop endpoints as well as any physical file servers. That’s not only consistent, it’s cheap, though it’s not the cheapest business-grade cloud backup solution we’ve tested. Additionally, depending on how many devices you’re deploying, it can add up. This is very much a small business platform, and even its pricing reflects that orientation.

It’s also important to note that even now this solution supports only physical endpoints using full desktop or server operating systems. But if that fits your needs, then CrashPlan really stands out for its ease of use. Many competing backup solutions require an IT professional’s skill set to use effectively. CrashPlan has both an easy installation and a well-designed interface suitable for almost anyone. But because it doesn’t support disk images, mobile devices, or virtual machine (VM) backups as well as some slightly underwhelming customer support specifications, CrashPlan’s rating remains behind our top competitors in this category, like Editors’ Choice winner, Acronis Cyber Protect.

CrashPlan’s Focus On Physical Devices

Because it works at being easy, CrashPlan’s interface has a minimalist-looking façade. But behind that is a decently solid array of backup and security features that keep this product mostly feature-competitive with the other players we’ve seen. Again, however, that’s only as long as you’re talking about physical devices. You can install CrashPlan for Small Business on desktops or servers running the relevant operating systems from Apple, Linux, and Microsoft. Installation took us less than 15 minutes and each operating system client offered identical functionality, which is nice in a field where many competitors focus their features mainly on Microsoft Windows.

Across desktop operating systems, CrashPlan provides continuous backups and no file size restrictions, which is a standout deal. Recovery and restoration are likewise easy, and this also helps make the solution more enticing for smaller teams as well as all those newly remote and hybrid workers the pandemic is making so popular just now. Those operations are also fairly quick as CrashPlan uses a block-level algorithm. This analyzes all your files and loads only data that’s changed since the previous file version, speeding up the incremental backup process.

Lacking Virtual and Mobile Data Protection 

There are, however, several downsides to CrashPlan for Small Business. For one, it can’t handle image-based backups (meaning a snapshot of an entire hard disk) nor can it back up VMs. Some might be able to do without the disk image backup (though this is very handy when migrating workers to new machines), but VMs have largely supplanted physical servers over the last ten years, especially in the small business space. So omitting them from your backup solution will likely be a deal breaker for many unless you’re fine with buying a separate backup product for those needs.

Other limitations include not being able to backup network attached storage (NAS) devices though, curiously, CrashPlan can handle external hard drives. Both are very popular secondary storage solutions for small and microbusinesses, so this is a mixed bag in terms of results. However, there is also no way to backup mobile devices, and that can be another serious deficiency for many companies these days who might be giving their remote workers more leeway in the device types they’re using. There are Apple iOS and Google Android apps available for CrashPlan, but these are merely for accessing desktop files you’ve backed up to the cloud, not for backing up the mobile device.

So if you’re looking strictly for an easy backup solution aimed at physical PCs and servers, CrashPlan is a good solution. But if you need data protection for most anything else from VMs to cloud infrastructure to your fleet of smartphones, you’ll need to look for an additional backup service. Considering some competitors offer all of these capabilities from a single app, like Arcserve UDP, this puts CrashPlan for Small Business at something of a disadvantage.

Quick Installation and Setup

Signing up for a CrashPlan account is as easy as filling in an online form and then selecting a payment method. Code 42 requires a credit card or a PayPal account at sign up. The inclusion of the cloud storage component with no size limit should be an enticing deal sweetener. Even if CrashPlan for Small Business winds up being priced higher than some of its competitors for your particular device count, not having to worry about exceeding size limits or your storage running out mid-backup might well be worth the added cost. Once signed up, you’re presented with all the details pertaining to your account as well as an invoice that takes effect after the 30-day trial period.  

That bears some explanation. Each account starts as a 30-day free trial, but if you forget to cancel before the trial period, your mode of payment will be charged, and you must supply payment information to access the trial stage. That’s not the case with some competitors and it may make some buyers uncomfortable at such an early point in the buying process. Once Code 42 has your payment information, CrashPlan for Small Business presents a download page with the client installers for the different operating systems. 

You have the option of downloading client software for Apple macOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows (64-bit), and Windows (32-bit). CrashPlan lists no specific flavors of Linux, so the Linux client should work on at least most of the popular distros, such as Ubuntu and Red Hat. In our case, we opted for the macOS client, which installed quickly, but required us to enable full disk access to certain folders. Instructions were clear, so not only was it easy to figure out what to do, we also knew why we were doing it. This experience is much less daunting than having to drill down on multiple screens and menus just to initiate the first backup, which is what we experienced with many of the more complex competitors, like MSP360.

Once installed, you can select the documents or folders you’d like to backup, and which to avoid. CrashPlan for Small Business quickly begins the initial (and likely the lengthiest) backup of your files and folders to the cloud.  

Setting up CrashPlan for Small Business is simple and straightforward, and employees of any skill level will be able to install it and start backing up in under 20 minutes. However, we found no way to pre-configure CrashPlan to backup a large number of clients all in the same way. That means if you’re deploying CrashPlan on a few dozen machines, you’ll need to not only install each one separately, but configure them separately, too. Not a major ding, considering this is aimed at small companies, but also not what IT professionals might be seeking.

Once installed and with the initial backup run, the Windows and macOS clients provide a menu shortcut that lets you know the backup is online and working, as well as its current size. There’s a link to settings and preferences as well, so this solution gets points for user transparency.

CrashPlan for Business settings

CrashPlan Basic Restoration

CrashPlan for Small Business’ user interface is a study in lean, clean design. The console is a popup with a window that has a link to Home, Downloads, and Settings. Below this is a list of devices on the account, as well as the option to add another device. There are links to device preferences, and the ability to add backup sets. You can also see if your latest backup is complete, and when the last backup took place, as well as the number of files and the size of the backup. Running CrashPlan for Small Business on our test desktop for a week yielded backups every 20 minutes. These happened in the background and were not at all distracting as we carried out other tasks.

Should it become necessary to get your files back, a blue Restore Files button opens up your restoration options. You can see all the folders that have been backed up, and select which folders you want to restore. You can click on a folder and it will replicate in your desktop’s file system, which is handy if you want to restore specific files and not larger folders, provided you know what you’re looking for.

We like how CrashPlan for Small Business easily integrated into our computer’s user interface. It showed up quickly and was clearly and immediately available from the desktop’s Finder Bar. Having a cloud backup solution that feels like it’s seamlessly integrated into the operating system helps keep backup status top of mind. 

CrashPlan Restore File Directory in the Cloud

Cross-Device, Remote Restoration

A local restore works as described above, but you can also initiate one from the web. This can be done by the user or by a third party, like your IT staffer. Restores done this way are made available for download as a ZIP file. This works across devices, too. We accessed our CrashPlan for Small Business account remotely from our Windows laptop and were able to get access to files and folders we’d backed up from our macOS desktop test machine. We could also as see our desktop backup history and the total size of its backup, too. This cross-device capability effectively makes CrashPlan a shared business storage solution in addition to its backup capabilities, though a somewhat clunky one compared to dedicated file sharing and storage solutions, like Dropbox Business.

It’s worth mentioning that CrashPlan supports an unlimited number of file versions, too. So, if the latest and greatest is not what you need, then it’s possible to go back as far as you need to go. This can come in handy in any number of situations, especially those related to group editing. Additionally, it can help companies in certain verticals with compliance requirements.

Like a few other contenders, notably Backblaze and Carbonite, CrashPlan can also provide some measure of business ransomware protection in the event of such an attack. Its continuous backup and file history can help endpoints recover recently backed up files and folders that may not have been affected by the ransomware’s rogue encryption. However, as some of the more advanced ransomware attackers now analyze a target’s file structure slowly and encrypt files as they go, CrashPlan is likely not enough to completely protect your business from all ransomware without the addition of something more targeted, like Bitdefender GravityZone Elite.

CrashPlan Small Business Desktop Console Mac OS

If you’re looking for more advanced features aside from simple incremental backups for your physical devices, CrashPlan will likely have you covered. CrashPlan has several advanced capabilities all built as neatly into the service as the more basic features. These include backup logs and scheduling for basic forensics. There’s also an incremental backup option next to the controls for full web access and restoration. Finally, you can both speed up your backups and better protect your data by enabling compression, encryption, and secure data storage at rest.

CrashPlan for Small Business Remote Restore

Data Protection and Customer Support

Speaking of protecting data at rest, data security is another area where CrashPlan has done good, though somewhat basic, work. By default, it encrypts data using 256-bit AES encryption, and this happens before data is sent to backup destinations. Data is protected in transit and then again once it’s “at rest” in the cloud. CrashPlan’s default encryption is available with a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), and it’s thorough enough to allow customers to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Should all else fail and you require help with some aspect of CrashPlan, you’ll need to access customer support. This should be a key buying consideration for most customers, and CrashPlan does decently here, though there is room for improvement. Subscribers get a comprehensive knowledge base website, as well as access to phone and live chat support. Unfortunately, you can’t get this in the evenings or on weekends. That is a strange limitation for a data protection service, and one we didn’t see in the competition.

Easy But Basic Data Continuity for Physical Devices

Overall, we found CrashPlan for Small Business not as feature packed or comprehensive as some of our other competitors, notably our Editors’ Choice winners, like Acronis Cyber Protect. However, for small businesses that don’t need much in the way of virtual or mobile device support, this is a simple, reliable solution that can get your data secured quickly at an affordable price.

Source link

Previous Post
Twitter Super Follows and Clubhouse portend a shift from algorithmic, scale-focused, low-attention feeds to low-volume, high-attention relationships with users (Will Oremus/OneZero )

Twitter Super Follows and Clubhouse portend a shift from algorithmic, scale-focused, low-attention feeds to low-volume, high-attention relationships with users (Will Oremus/OneZero )

Next Post

The Redmi Note 10 series macro camera might actually be great. Here’s how.

Related Posts
error: Alert: Content is protected !!