Backblaze has been a favorite among private users, while Backblaze B2 is a popular IaaS choice for developers. Backblaze for Business brings both Backblaze backup and B2 cloud storage together, but requires you to pay for those additional products. With Backblaze for Business, you’re also able to create and manage work groups.
In this review, we’re going to focus mostly on this administrative feature, in addition to Backblaze’s traditional backup tool.
Backblaze’s simple user experience and great pricing makes it one of the best online backup for small business options on the market. That said, it has some drawbacks, including the lack of true private encryption, limited versioning and the inability to backup NAS or server devices without requiring you to pay for B2, among others.
That said, if you don’t mind some of Backblaze’s misses, you can use it to implement your business backup plan. The 15-day free trial will help you decide if it’s really what you need. If you’re still not sure about Backblaze, stick with us as we go into details in this Backblaze for Business review.
If you just need to protect your home computer, consult our Backblaze review to see if the service fits your needs.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Unlimited backup
- Very inexpensive
- Easy to use
- Backup by file type
- Backup unlimited external drives
- Monitor employee backups
- Mobile device access
- Can’t backup to external drives
- Have to attach external drives every 30 days
- Semi-private encryption
- Removes deleted files & file versions after 30 days
- No NAS or server backup
- No mobile backup
Alternatives for Backblaze for Business
Backblaze’s main advantage over some of the competition is that it provides unlimited backup space. Thanks to that, it’s at the top of our best unlimited online backup list. Backblaze for Business provides the same features that are available for home users. If you’re an account owner or designated admin, you will have a few added capabilities.
Having the same features stems from the fact that Backblaze uses the exact same client for business and home users. That’s an advantage for small business owners looking for a simple backup solution that runs in the background and won’t require much time to maintain. That will help your employees focus on productivity, instead of managing the backup process.
Backblaze achieves that simplicity by utilizing its unlimited cloud space to backup everything. It backs up files based on extension, which means that documents, images, financial reports, emails and most other essential files are automatically backed up. That said, system and temporary files are excluded by default.
You can backup a single computer per license, but you can use it to backup external drives, as well, if they’re attached via USB or FireWire to your computer. That said, keep in mind that your external hard drives need to be connected to your computer and scanned by Backblaze at least once every 30 days in order to keep them backed up.
If that sounds like a deal-breaker to you, consult our best online backup for external hard drives roundup to see how Backblaze compares with other services for external drive backup.
External support doesn’t extend to NAS devices, Boot Camp partitions or virtual machines, though. If you want that, check out our list of the best online backup for NAS devices.
Backblaze also can’t backup to external drives (as opposed to backing them up), which would classify it as a hybrid cloud backup. If you want that, you would have to consider a rival service, such as CrashPlan. Read more about using it for small businesses in our CrashPlan review.
Backblaze’s versioning retains deleted files and its previous versions for only for 30 days. Again, we prefer CrashPlan’s approach of letting users define their own versioning policy, which can save new file versions every 15 minutes and hold them indefinitely. It also gives you the option to keep deleted files indefinitely.
Backblaze Special Features
That said, Backblaze has some interesting features that compensate for the missing ones. For example, Backblaze lets you share your files by generating a link that you can copy and paste to a social network. Another interesting feature is the option to inherit backup states.
This means that if you transfer Backblaze to a new computer or install a new operating system, you can load your backup state to resume your backup where you left off.
Plus, if you turn on the mapping feature in the web client, you can use the “locate my computer” feature. That’s convenient if you lose your laptop or someone steals it.
Besides these features, Backblaze has all the standard backup features. These include a backup scheduler, which lets you run backups at your convenience; speed throttling, which lets you control the upload and download speeds; and continuous and incremental backups.
Continuous backup means that Backblaze will continuously monitor your files for changes. Once it detects a change, it will upload only the changed portions of the files by using a block-level transfer algorithm. That’s the “incremental” piece of the equation.
Backblaze has mobile apps for both Android and iOS, but they only let you access and share your files, not backup mobile data. Business users looking to backup their mobile devices should consider IDrive or other services from our best online backup for mobile.
Regarding account management, you can set up work groups using the Backblaze web interface. We’ll talk more about that when we discuss ease of use. Security features include at-rest encryption and semi-private encryption, but we’re going to take a closer look at those features in our “security” section.
If you want to read more about online backup features and services, consult our business backup library.
Unlike other business services, Backblaze for Business doesn’t charge extra compared to what home consumers pay. The cost for business backup and personal backup is the same: $6 per month for unlimited backup for one computer.
That’s a great deal for a single computer, and it beats CrashPlan’s price of $10 per computer. It gets better if you sign up for an annual or biannual agreement. If you pay in advance for one year of backup, you’ll pay just $60. If you go for two years, the price drops to $110, which means you’ll pay less than $60 per computer per year.
That said, Backblaze has a disadvantage that comes naturally when you provide unlimited backup: It doesn’t provide support for unlimited device backup. If you want that, instead of unlimited backup space, you should give IDrive Business or Carbonite for Business a shot. See our IDrive for Business and Carbonite for Office reviews.
If you already know that these two aren’t a good fit, you can see some other options in our best online backup services.
However, both offer subscription plans that provide various amounts of backup space, which means you can choose one based on your needs. For example, IDrive Business offers 250GB, 500GB, 1.25TB and more.
Whether or not such plans will save you money, compared to Backblaze, depends on how many employee devices you have to protect and how much backup space you need. If you only have a few computers to protect, Backblaze is probably going to be the better deal. Before deciding on it, though, you can use its 15-day free trial to test the service.
Ease of Use
If you like your backup process to be simple, you can’t go wrong with Backblaze. Thanks to its ability to automatically backup based on file type, the client doesn’t require much input from you.
Other business backup services — including CrashPlan, IDrive and Carbonite — require that you backup based on file location, which tends to be a more manual and tedious process. It’s all the more so if you have many files in different locations to backup.
Backblaze scans your hard drive during installation and notes every file that should be backed up. Once you complete the installation and click “okay,” the backup process starts running and that’s it. As you accrue and create new files, they’ll be automatically added to your backup plan.
That said, if you’re not satisfied with the automatic backup selection, you can open the settings menu, which lets you exclude file types and folders.
Like most contemporary online backup solutions, Backblaze makes use of a desktop client for managing the backup process. Clients are available for Windows and MacOS, but not Linux. Linux fans should consult our best online backup for Linux roundup for some alternatives.
Still, Backblaze’s desktop client is simple and easy to use. It’s not clogged with settings and features, like many other backup clients are. The primary client pane only has three buttons: “pause backup,” “restore options” and “settings.”
Besides excluding files, the settings let you improve backup performance, tweak the backup schedule, enter your private key, see files scheduled for backup, as well as review your reports and issues.
The web client is also easy to use, which is convenient because you’ll be using it to manage your work team. Management revolves around business groups.
As the administrator, if you create your business group as a managed group, you can access employee accounts to reset their passwords and even access their files. However, your employees must agree to that access when joining the group.
Within the group management dashboard, you can also purchase licenses for both Backblaze online backup and Backblaze B2 cloud storage. Backblaze B2 is a low-cost cloud infrastructure-as-a-service solution that competes with Amazon S3, Google Cloud and Azure.
The last step in creating your group involves sending invitations to employees to join your business group. You can send the invites via email or you can simply copy and paste an invitation link. If you have remote managing and monitoring privileges, you can do a mass silent installation for your members.
If you decide to send invitations, though, you’ll be given the chance to approve individual memberships before users are officially added. Plus, invited users will have to give the administrators permission to manage their accounts.
Invited employees who already have a Backblaze account that they’re paying for will receive a prorated refund if they’ve paid in advance.
Overall, the group system is easy to use and in line with Backblaze’s straightforward design. There are no detailed reporting tools that you’ll find with competing services, but at least you can check basic usage statistics to ensure your employee devices are being protected.
The same simple approach graces the mobile app. It lets you browse your backed up files, see those that you’ve downloaded and access settings. The settings menu lets you remember your login info, set up fingerprint login and enable downloads while you’re not on WiFi. The features are bare-bones, and there’s no way to share files or initiate restores from the app.
File Backup & Restoration
Backblaze’s backup, as we said, is based on file type. Because of that, it tags many files for backup, excluding system and temporary files. If you don’t exclude files on your own, the initial backup can understandably take some time. In fact, it’s probably going to take several days or even a few weeks.
To get an idea of just how long you’re going to wait, click the button on the desktop client that says, “how long will my backup take?” Once that first backup is out of the way, several features help speed up subsequent backups, but we’re going to talk more about them in the next section.
By default, Backblaze’s client runs this process using a continuous backup approach, which means that files are backed up as soon as you create them. However, continuous backup may prove to be too resource-hungry. In that case, you can change the backup schedule.
Scheduling options aren’t as rich as with competitive services, such as IDrive and CloudBerry Backup. For example, you can run your backups once per day at a specific time or only when you click the “backup now” button.
That said, most users will benefit from continuous backup, anyway. If you’d like some more advanced scheduling options, though, read our CloudBerry Backup review.
Restoration of files requires that you log in to the web interface. There’s a “restore options” button in the desktop client, but it only shows your options and opens the web client in your browser.
Once you log in to your web client, you can select what files you want to restore by going to the “view/restore files” tab or clicking the “restore” button from the overview. Note that the file browser is at the bottom of the page.
Next, you can select a restore method from the list. The typical way to get your files back is to download them in a zip file. You don’t have to wait online while Backblaze prepares this zip file for you because it will send you an email alert when the file’s ready.
Zip file recoveries are also limited to 500GB per request, with a maximum of 20 requests at any given time. If you have more than that, Backblaze’s courier recovery service might be a better option for recovering files.
With this option, you can request that Backblaze store all of your files onto a USB flash drive, with a maximum of 256GB in space, or an 8TB external hard drive and mail that device to you. That’s convenient, but the courier recovery option requires that you pay for the device upfront. However, if you send the device back within 30 days, you will get a full refund.
Plus, if you’re a Backblaze B2 subscriber, you can choose to archive your files there as a snapshot. Your snapshots will be available in your B2, even if you delete files from your account. That’s useful if you need to clear some space on your hard drive.
How long your initial backup will take depends on your internet service provider and how close you are to a server. Your connection will be better the closer you are to Backblaze’s data centers in California and Arizona.
We usually use a 1GB folder to test transfer speeds, but that wasn’t possible with Backblaze because it automatically backs up your data. Because of that, we had to rely on Backblaze’s prediction. However, we also excluded some files until we had a smaller backup set to check Backblaze’s prediction.
First, we checked the link from the desktop client, which checks how long the backup will take. It said our backup would finish in less than a day. Considering we had 2.62GB of files, that’s reassuring. The other tool informed us that we would be able to upload 107GB in a day. That’s what we would expect, considering our upload speed was 9.9 Mb/s.
If your backup isn’t performing as fast as you’d like, you can increase the number of backup threads you have running to make the uploading go faster. If that doesn’t help, Backblaze recommends excluding junk files and files you don’t need to backup from the selection. Once your initial backup finishes, the block-level transfer algorithm will help with subsequent uploads.
Backblaze also performs lossless compression on files to decrease their size before transfers. Both block-level file copying and compression save time and bandwidth. On the other hand, if Backblaze takes too much of your bandwidth, you can throttle its transfer speeds.
Backblaze’s cloud security has almost all the features we like to see. We say “almost” because it has private encryption with a twist. Private encryption is disabled by default, so you have to enable it. If you don’t, Backblaze will retain your encryption key.
Whatever you choose, its private encryption isn’t completely private because you need to send your passphrase to Backblaze when you want to restore your encrypted files. The reason for that is that Backblaze restores your files via the web instead of using the desktop client (which you could supply your passphrase to without sending it to Backblaze).
That said, the company claims that “your passphrase is never saved on disk and it is discarded once it is used.”
Backblaze uses HTTPS, which incorporates SSL, to secure your files in transit. This helps protect you from eavesdroppers using man-in-the-middle and similar cyber attacks (there are other dangers of public WiFi). If you’re not familiar with the SSL protocol, read our SSL vs. TLS comparison to learn more about it.
When your files reach Backblaze’s servers, they’re encrypted using AES 128-bit encryption algorithm. AES is the standard encryption in use today. Its 128-bit version has never been cracked, as far as we know, but we still give more points to services that use it’s heavier, 256-bit cousin.
Backblaze also provides two-factor authentication support, which, as an administrator, you can enable for all of your employees. Two-factor authentication helps protect your account if one of your employees uses a weak password that’s cracked or stolen.
Even in that case, malicious individuals still won’t be able to access that employee’s files because two-factor authentication requires an additional security code when logging in from an unfamiliar device. The employee can receive that code via SMS or apps such as the Google Authenticator or Authy.
Another quibble with regard to Backblaze’s security is its limited versioning capability. Backblaze stores previous versions of files for 30 days, which makes it slightly less capable of dealing with ransomware attacks than online services with more generous versioning policies, such as IDrive and CrashPlan.
That’s nothing to scoff at because ransomware attacks mostly target businesses and work by encrypting files. When they encrypt your files, they require you to pay a ransom to decrypt them for you. With versioning in play, once you’ve removed the malware behind the attack, you can simply rollback your files to their previous unencrypted versions.
Backblaze requiring you to send your private key to restore your files isn’t the best for your privacy. Backblaze claims it deletes it afterward, but you have to take its word for it. On top of that, Backblaze is a U.S. company and has to adhere to U.S. cloud laws and regulations. They aren’t among the best cloud privacy laws, and there’s the PRISM project to think about, too.
The policy claims that Backblaze doesn’t “rent, trade or share your address or e-mail (sic) address with any other company for their marketing purposes without your consent.”
Backblaze may use the information it collects to set up online accounts; operate its platform; improve the layout, content and navigation of its products; understand how users use its products; send marketing communications and more.
Backblaze shares your information with third-party service providers that help it run its platform. Those third-party services include Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Stripe, Salesforce, Google Analytics, FreshBooks, HubSpot, MailChimp and others.
Backblaze may also disclose your information to third parties when required by law, court order or other judicial authorization. Sales, transfers or mergers will also prompt Backblaze to share your information with a relevant third party.
Backblaze Privacy Shield
Backblaze adheres to the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield frameworks, which means Backblaze will comply with the laws in your home country or area, if you transfer personal information from the European Economic Area or Switzerland to the U.S., or vice-versa.
On top of that, Backblaze adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation, which is the EU’s strict law about users’ online privacy. You have the following rights that correspond to the General Data Protection Regulation:
- You can access the personal information that Backblaze collects about you.
- You can correct, update or request deletion of your details in your account by logging in to your account.
- If you’re a resident of the EEA, you can object to the processing of your personal information, ask Backblaze to restrict processing it or request portability of it, when technically possible.
- Similarly, if Backblaze has collected and processed your personal information with your consent, you can withdraw your consent at any time.
- You can complain to a data protection authority about Backblaze’s collection and use of your personal information.
- You also have the right to quit Backblaze’s marketing communications.
Another useful thing to note is that Backblaze “will retain your personal information for the period necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this Privacy Notice unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law.”
If you hit a problem with your backup, the fastest way to find an answer is to hit the online knowledgebase. Backblaze’s knowledgebase has articles that correspond to personal backup, business backup and B2 cloud storage.
We like how you can see at a glance the most common questions for a product. They’re also divided into categories to make it easier to find the answer you need. If you can’t, however, you can search the entire knowledgebase.
In the chance that you don’t find an answer, you can contact the support team. You can’t do it by phone, though, even if you’re a business user. That said, you can use live chat support, which operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
If your business requires constant access to live support, IDrive is definitely the better option, thanks to its telephone support during weekdays and 24/7 live support.
If you think you can wait a couple of hours for tech support responses, though, Backblaze answers email tickets every day of the week. Again,though, it’s not 24/7 coverage.
We’ve sent a request to the support team and got an answer after 13 hours. Still, Backblaze lets you check your email ticket status online, which is a nice touch.
Backblaze is a great pick if you’re a business user looking to protect your work files in a way that doesn’t require time and effort. That’s thanks to Backblaze’s ability to backup based on file type and unlimited backup space. This makes it unnecessary to manually tag files for backup, like you have to do with, say, CrashPlan.
On top of being a simple and enjoyable service to use, Backblaze has great value. For only $6 per month, or $5 if you pay for a year in advance, you get unlimited backup for one computer. That should appeal to small businesses, single business users and startups that need their money elsewhere.
Backblaze also has decent security, but we’d like it more if it had proper end-to-end encryption.
There are other drawbacks that might matter to some business users, though, including the lack of mobile backup, NAS backup and Linux support. That’s in addition to having to attach external drives every 30 days to keep them backed up and that versioning is limited to 30 days.
If those are things that you don’t care about, though, Backblaze for Business is a solid online backup choice that should help you protect your business data without any hassle.
What do you think about Backblaze for Business? Does it have what you need for your business? Let us know in the comments, below. Thank you for reading.