In the Cloud: Carbonite
Backing up your data regularly is something we all know we need to do – but knowing it and doing it are two very different things. Plus there is the need to have an ‘off-site’ backup as well, after all what’s the point in having everything backed up to an external drive and then leaving it in the office – if a disaster does happen it’ll destroy the backup as well as the originals.
I had read about some of the ‘cloud backup’ services before and, to me, that seemed like a better solution than an external drive, so I did a bit more research and decided on Carbonite. Installation and setup of the client software is very easy and once it’s there you just tell it what you want backing up and what you don’t. It is set to automatically backup files in ‘my documents’ or ‘my pictures’ but you can turn that feature off, as I did, and just select the important stuff. The interface is very simple and gives you a small icon next to the folders it is backing up that lets you know at a glance whether it’s backed up or not. You also get an option in the right-click menu to exclude or include files in the backup.
The actual process of backing up is quite drawn out, in the introduction it says that an initial backup might take as much as a week – but those 3D projects and videos take up a lot of space so try just shy of 2 months for my initial backup! However the upload doesn’t make too noticeable an impression on your web connection, I was doing my backup and uploading video files to clients via FTP simultaneously with very slight slowdown, and since the bulk of my files are now backed up it just idles in the background until I create some new files, then fires up and starts uploading them. The only limitation to mention is that your account is tied to one machine, that works fine for me since I only wanted a backup of my main workstation but obviously if you need a backup for loads of PCs this might not be the right solution for you.
Now we get to the important bit; price. Some of the other services I looked at were charged on a monthly basis plus a charge per GB so, for me, that would have been a bit costly. I was quite happy then to see Carbonite priced at a very reasonable £42 a year with unlimited space and no charge per GB. For the price I think this is a great service; my files are all secure off-site on an encrypted server, anything I do on my workstation is automatically backed up and I have access to my files anywhere I go. There’s an iPhone app for this too which lets me browse my data offsite, I can even use it to zip and email files to clients, Brilliant!