If you’re an SMB owner searching for a budget-friendly online backup solution, Carbonite and CrashPlan are options you should consider. Among our best online backup for business providers, these two may not be the best, but they definitely fit certain needs perfectly.
Both services are both similar and different enough that comparing them side-by-side can help get you acclimated to the types of backup options out there, even if you ultimately decide with a different service in our online backup reviews library.
Of course, evaluating and testing both solutions can take a lot of time, too, distracting you from your main focus of running your business. Solution: let Cloudwards.net do the work for you.
Coming up, we’ll explore the key features of both Carbonite and CrashPlan side by side. For a more complete look at each service — including speed tests — don’t miss our dedicated Carbonite Safe Pro review and CrashPlan for Small Business review.
Carbonite or CrashPlan: Which is the Best Business Backup for You?
Here’s how it’s going to go down: we’re going to detail and mull the essential features of both Carbonite and CrashPlan over the course of four rounds of comparisons. Each round will include a point-by-point analysis for each service, followed by a summary of our thoughts before naming a round winner.
Rounds includes cost of backup space, file backup experience, file restore experience and security.
At the end of the article, we’ll also declare a final winner. However, note that our pick might not be the one that works best for you, which is why it’s best to read through this article completely and consider how each service might meet or not meet your business requirements.
Before you can successfully make that determination, you may also want to review the importance of backing up your business data, in addition to making sure you understand the difference between online backup and cloud storage. If it’s better workplace collaboration you’re after, you might want to have a look at our best enterprise sync and share guide, instead.
You’ll also want to decide if you want to backup data to the cloud or an on-premises server like those mentioned in our best small server for business guide.
Alternatively, you may want to reap the best of both approaches by building a hybrid backup solution to simultaneously backup data locally and remotely. Our guide on how to setup a hybrid backup for business will get you started down that path.
Finally, you may also want to read through some of our other online backup comparison articles to make sure you know all of your options and how they stack up against each other. Here are a few to get you going:
All that said, sometimes the best approach is to just dive right in. So, let’s get to it: it’s Carbonite vs CrashPlan, and one of these two services is leaving in a body bag. Or at least with a slight limp.
Cost of Backup Space
First, we’ll take a look at how much a subscription to either service will cost you, how much backup space your get for your money, and how many and what type of devices each service supports.
Carbonite has multiple plans available, including a personal plan called Carbonite Safe that will get you unlimited storage for $60 a year. This plan, which you can read more about in our Carbonite review for home use, isn’t really suited for businesses. It doesn’t have admin controls, or FERPA, GLBA and HIPAA support, for example.
Carbonite doesn’t offer any unlimited backup plans aimed at businesses, in fact. Instead, you’re left to choose between various capped Carbonite Safe Pro plans.
$ 269 99yearly
$ 599 99yearly
$ 999 99yearly
|Storage||250 GB||500 GB||500 GB|
Protects unlimited computers (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)
Protects unlimited computers + one server (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)
Unlimited computers + unlimited servers (additional backup costs 100GB/$99)
While your backup space isn’t unlimited, Carbonite Safe Pro can be used to backup unlimited computers, external storage devices and NAS devices. There’s are also plans that support server backup, if that’s a need. Carbonite ranks among the best online backup for server options, actually.
Supported operating systems include Windows and Mac, but not Linux. Android and iOS mobile apps are available, but they cannot be used to backup mobile data, just to access and share files you’ve backed up from your computer.
While the platform support is excellent for businesses with advanced needs, the cost of online backup with Carbonite doesn’t match up well with some of the competition.
The cheapest Carbonite Safe subscription, which doesn’t include server backup, costs $269 per year for 250GB of backup. Each additional 100GB of backup costs $99. That means that 2TB of backup will cost just over $2000.
Picking a subscription plan with CrashPlan is quite a bit easier than doing so with Carbonite: there’s only one to choose from.
|Plan||CrashPlan for Business|
$ 10 00monthly
|Details||Price is per computer you're backing up.|
CrashPlan no longer supports home backup and its sole business plan grants you unlimited backup for a single computer. It’s one of two unlimited online backup for business options that we’d recommend, along with Backblaze (read our Backblaze for Business review). The cost is reasonable at just $10 per month, too.
The downside to CrashPlan as a business backup isn’t so much that a single plan only supports one computer, since the cost makes that more than palatable. Rather, the issue is that CrashPlan doesn’t support server or even NAS backup.
You can, at least, backup unlimited external drives with CrashPlan, which is good since unlimited backup doesn’t mean too much if you can only backup a single hard drive.
CrashPlan does support Linux, too, and ranks as one of our picks for best online backup for Linux. Of course Windows and Mac are also supported, and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS that you can use to access your backed up and shared files.\
Round One Thoughts:
It’s clear from the cost of service, backup space offerings and supported devices that Carbonite and CrashPlan should appeal to very different sorts of business customers.
Carbonite is more likely to appeal to those businesses with NAS devices and servers to backup in addition to computers — not to mention those with somewhat deeper pockets. CrashPlan, meanwhile, is best suited for small businesses with less robust needs and less capital to work with.
That makes choosing a winner in round one a bit of a pickle. Ultimately, we landed on CrashPlan as our choice because if you are looking for server or NAS backup, there are more affordable and capable options than Carbonite Safe Pro, including Acronis Backup (read our Acronis Backup review).
For those looking for a backup solution for just their business computers, however, you won’t find much better value than what CrashPlan provides.
|CrashPlan for Business||•|
|Carbonite for Office|
File Backup Experience
Up next, we’ll take a look at general backup process and backup features to see which service, Carbonite or CrashPlan, delivers the best backup experience.
Backup operations with Carbonite are run through the desktop client. Somewhat problematically, the desktop client used for Carbonite’s business plans is the same used for Carbonite personal plans.
The issue is that the client works better for unlimited backup because once you install and run it, it automatically scans and tags files for backup based on file type, including documents, images, videos, email files, financial files and all other common file types.
When you’re dealing with space limitations, that grab-all approach can cause some obvious issues. Prior to completing installation, there is an option to turn off automatic backup by file type, but you need to know to look for it.
If you’ve turned automatic backup off, you’ll be able to tag folders and files manually for backup. However, the process to do so is more complicated than necessary: Carbonite makes you use your file system to find content, then right-click on it and select “back this up.”
When you do so, Carbonite doesn’t mark the folders or files in your files system to tell you that they’re being backed up, either. The only way you can check to see what’s included is to log into the web interface.
It would be much easier if you could tag folders and files directly from the Carbonite desktop client, like you can with most other online backup tools. The Carbonite approach is not only more time consuming, its likely going to lead to more user errors as it’s easy to overlook files.
This concern is somewhat lessened by the fact that as the account owner, you’ll have access to an admin console to set backup policies for your associates like requiring backup of objects such as their user folder.
By default, Carbonite runs backup continuously. This means that as files are created and changed, those new files and file changes are reflected in your online backup in near real-time.
While continuous backup is the approach that best protects your computer, you can also schedule backups to run overnight or during other times.
Carbonite also uses block-level file copying to keep the backup process running smoothly. This means that when a file changes, only the parts of the file that changed get copied to the cloud, rather than copying the entire file all over again
Backup with CrashPlan is also run through the desktop client. Unlike Carbonite, you can tag folders and files directly through the desktop client to create your backup plan.
However, as an unlimited online backup service, CrashPlan would actually work better if the client simply tagged common file types for backup — just like the Carbonite client does by default.
You can makes things a bit easier for yourself by just tagging folders for backup a high level, such as your “user” folder. Unfortunately, CrashPlan doesn’t let you set employee backup policies like you can with Carbonite, mandating certain folders be part of any backup plan.
CrashPlan does let you backup to both the cloud and an external drive, making it great for a hybrid backup solution if you want to reap the benefits of both remote and local backup.
Backup defaults to continuous, but, as with Carbonite, you can set a schedule if you prefer.
While the initial backup process will take some time, once finished, CrashPlan should run smoothly thanks to the use of block-level copying, so in general continuous backup shouldn’t cause any issues.
Round Two Thoughts:
Neither Carbonite nor CrashPlan makes backup as easy as it could be. Carbonite should really develop a separate client for business backup, as the backup-everything approach doesn’t work well with limited backup space, and the alternative approach of manually tagging folders and files just isn’t user friendly.
CrashPlan, meanwhile, would work better if it backed up all common file types by default, like Carbonite does. However, the fact of the matter is that you can just tag folders at a higher level and accomplish something similar.
The bigger change we’d like to see the CrashPlan development team implement are the inclusion of backup policies like those you can set with Carbonite.
In the end, both Carbonite and CrashPlan would do well to take some lessons from Backblaze, by far the easiest service to implement a backup plan with. Both plans are also missing some backup features that many business uses will want, including image-based backup (see best image-based backup software).
Forced to pick a winner, we’re once again going with CrashPlan, because the Carbonite backup process seems so unbalanced that, even with backup policies, it could lead to more workplace confusion that most SMB owners will want to deal with.
|CrashPlan for Business||••|
|Carbonite for Office|
File Recovery Experience
Key to any disaster recovery process is the ability to actually recover from a disaster. Round three will focus on how easy Carbonite and CrashPlan make it for you to do just that.
You can recover individual folder and files by tagging them. Or, you can choose to recover everything, although you’re “limited” to 5,000 recovery items or 10GB of data per restore.
If you decide to restore individual files, you’ll be redirected to the Carbonite web GUI to pick which files you want to restore.
After making your picks, the files will download as a .zip file. There’s no option to restore individual files to their original file system locations, which is an annoyance that SMB owners short on time probably won’t be thrilled with.
Strangely, if you choose to restore everything, the process takes place entirely through the desktop client and you do have the choice of restoring files to their original location (along with a .zip file download option).
Rather than split the restore process between desktop client and web GUI depending on whether you want all or specific files, it would be better for user experience to align the processes.
If you have many files to recovery, you may not be up for waiting for the download process to complete, which can takes days or weeks. To help, Carbonite provides courier recovery service, which is available so long as you’re not using private encryption.
Using this service, Carbonite technicians will load your data onto an external hard drive and mail it to you. Courier recovery isn’t free like it is with IDrive (read our IDrive review), however. You’ll be charged $179.99 per computer, plus an addition $130 if you don’t return Carbonite’s external drive to them.
Sometimes, rather than recover a current state of a file, you might want a previous state instead. The ability to recover previous file states, called versioning, is a common feature with both cloud storage and online backup.
However, Carbonite’s versioning policy is more generous than most, albeit a bit complex. At least three versions of any file are kept, so long as there are that many to keep in the first place. On top of that, Carbonite keeps one file version for each of the previous seven days, one for each of the previous three weeks and one for each of the previous two months.
Deleted files are kept by Carbonite, too, for 60 days in case you accidentally erase something critical. After 60 days, deleted files are permanently removed from the Carbonite servers.
Unlike Carbonite, CrashPlan does let you run the entire restore process directly from the desktop client. To do so, just click on the “restore” tab.
You can select objects to restore at the folder or file level. Click the drive letter to restore everything.
Below the file selection pane, there are multiple toggles for restore options. These include options to change the restore location between the original file location, your desktop or another location. You can also change file permissions and file versions.
CrashPlan is one of the few backup services with a better versioning policy than Carbonite. You can actually, in effect, tell the client to retain all previous versions of your files — a handy capability, given that CrashPlan provides unlimited backup space to store them.
All of the restore capabilities available via the desktop client can also be found in the CrashPlan web GUI. That means if you’re on a new computer, you don’t have to install the CrashPlan desktop software to access your files.
While CrashPlan recovery is pretty well designed and convenient to use, the company did discontinue its courier recovery service in 2016. That’s a shame, particularly since CrashPlan only works with business customers now, who are likely more often in need of expeditious disaster recovery than home users.
Round Three Thoughts:
Carbonite offers courier recovery and CrashPlan doesn’t. However, at $179.99 per recovery, that advantage is much less convincing than it could be.
Beyond that, CrashPlan recovery simply works better than what Carbonite is doing. Most of that has to do with the fact that CrashPlan offers powerful, full recovery experiences from either its desktop client or online GUI, while Carbonite uses one or the other depending on what you need.
We don’t like to feel like we’re picking on the services we review (usually), but for the third straight round, we’re choosing CrashPlan over Carbonite.
|CrashPlan for Business||•••|
|Carbonite for Office|
With an advantage of three rounds to none, Carbonite needs a convincing win in our fourth and final found. During this round, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most important aspects of online backup for any business, too — especially those with intellectual property or client data to protect: security.
The encryption protocol used by Carbonite is AES 128, which means your files are being scrambled using 128-bit encryption keys. While not as strong as AES 256, there have been no known cracks of AES 128, and the less complex algorithm should mean faster backups.
By default, Carbonite manages your encryption key for you. That way, if you forget your password, the company can reset it. However, if you prefer, you can manage your encryption key yourself by turning on private encryption.
Doing so means nobody but you can decrypt your files, which are encrypted end-to-end (i.e., from the time you back them up the time you recover them. This approach is sometimes called zero-knowledge encryption.
Take note, however, that you have to opt for private encryption during your initial install and backup. Decide you want it later, and you’ll need to backup your computer all over again.
If you opt for private encryption, Carbonite actually uses AES 256 instead of AES 128, too. We’re not entirely sure why, both are fine to use.
However, while the encryption is rock solid, weak passwords are always a risk for brute-force cracking. To lessen the chance of damage if somebody does get ahold of your Carbonite password, the service provides an option to turn on two-factor authentication.
Activating this feature — which you should absolutely do — means that an additional security code will be required when logging into your device from an unfamiliar machine. This code is sent to your smartphone, meaning anybody who steals your password will also need to steal your phone to access your online backup.
On a final note, if you work with patient health data, Carbonite is HIPAA compliant and will sign a business associates agreement (BAA) agreeing to promptly report certain system failures and virtual attacks, as well as take other steps mandated by U.S. law.
Overall, Carbonite does well when it comes to security. Let’s see if CrashPlan can beat it.
CrashPlan uses AES 256 to scramble your files while at rest and in transit, so they should be pretty safe in the event of data breaches or cybercrime attacks designed to intercept internet activity.
Like Carbonite, the company keeps control of your encryption key by default. However, you can opt for private encryption if you’d rather it not be able to decrypt and read your files.
Private encryption with CrashPlan maintains the same level of encryption as managed encryption, AES 256.
That’s all great, but CrashPlan misses big by not also offering ,two-factor authentication. For businesses, particularly, the lack of this feature seems like a big oversight on CrashPlan’s part.
The company also isn’t HIPAA compliant, likely in part due to the lack of 2FA.
Round Four Thoughts:
While both services let you opt into private encryption, only one service offers two factor authentication and is HIPAA compliant: Carbonite. For some SMB owners, those two misses alone will take CrashPlan out of the running for consideration.
If you’re not deterred by the lack of two-factor authentication and decide CrashPlan makes the most sense for your business, we’d recommend making sure your employees understand how to create strong passwords.
|CrashPlan for Business||••••|
|Carbonite for Office|
While Carbonite and CrashPlan often get mentioned as close competitors, the reality is that today they each seem better suited to customers with very different needs.
Carbonite provides better overall security than CrashPlan thanks mostly to its inclusion of two-factor authentication and HIPAA compliance. It can also be used to be backup NAS devices and servers, while CrashPlan cannot. Those are all fine reasons to pick Carbonite over CrashPlan.
CrashPlan, meanwhile, should appeal to business users with simpler needs. The service is ideal for those with just a handful of computers to backup, limited technical knowledge and a limited budget.
In preparing this article, the most compelling difference we noticed between Carbonite and CrashPlan — at least when it comes to making a buying decision — is that CrashPlan is much better positioned to appeal to customers than Carbonite, even if the ideal customer for each service is different.
The fact is that when it comes to security and server backup, there are solutions that can do everything Carbonite can do, while also offering better user experiences, faster backup and oftentimes cheaper backup, too. The closest niche competitor that CrashPlan has right now is Backblaze for Business, and that’s a toss up.
In light of all of that, along with the fact that it took three of four rounds, we ultimately landed on CrashPlan as the winner of this matchup. It’s a strong service that, now that it focuses exclusively on its business customers, will hopefully on continue to get stronger.
Think we goofed? Let us know what we missed in the comments below, and let us know any questions you might have, too. Thanks for reading!