- Strengths & Weaknesses
- Alternatives for CrashPlan for Small Business
- Is CrashPlan Really Unlimited?
- CrashPlan Features Overview
CrashPlan abandoned its personal-user subscription plans back in 2017 to focus entirely on providing small business backup software. It offers unlimited storage with excellent security, privacy and customer support, as well as an intuitive and easy-to-use client with plenty of features.
CrashPlan Pro also offers great data transfer speeds, both when backing up and restoring files. Furthermore, the pricing structure is incredibly simple — though it is a bit expensive — and setting up your backup is as easy as it could possibly be.
The service also comes with a powerful web dashboard and a basic mobile app for remote access to all of the devices registered to your account. Keep reading our CrashPlan review to find out if it’s the right choice for your business.
However, if you’re not quite convinced by this CrashPlan review, you can check out our list of the best online backup for small business, as well as our best online backup overview article.
We’ve also done comparisons between CrashPlan Pro and other services that offer unlimited backup. To learn more about how it stacks up against the competition, you can check out our CrashPlan vs Backblaze and Carbonite vs CrashPlan comparisons.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Unlimited backup
- Unlimited computers
- Backs up external drives
- Customizable versioning
- Retains deleted files indefinitely
- Live chat & telephone support
- Doesn’t backup by file type
- No mobile app
- No multi-threaded backups
- No courier recovery
- No live support on nights or weekends
Alternatives for CrashPlan for Small Business
Although CrashPlan is not as packed with features as some other online backup services, such as Acronis or IDrive, it still includes quite a lot of functionality. Offering unlimited storage, powerful versioning and in-depth throttling controls, CrashPlan Pro is likely to have everything your business needs from an online backup service.
The CrashPlan desktop software has support for Windows, MacOS and Linux, which means that it should work for pretty much anyone.
Is CrashPlan Really Unlimited?
Yes, CrashPlan offers truly unlimited storage. Whether you need to upload just a few gigabytes of data or hundreds of terabytes, CrashPlan won’t cap your storage in any way.
Although you do get unlimited storage, devices are not unlimited. Or at least, you have to pay for each device individually. These devices can be either desktop computers or servers, but nothing else. CrashPlan also supports hybrid backup, which saves you from putting all your eggs in one basket in the event of a system outage on CrashPlan’s end.
CrashPlan Pro can perform incremental, scheduled and continuous backup, which gives you plenty of choice on the timing of your data transfers. Unfortunately there’s no manual option available, but this isn’t the biggest problem because you can pause the scheduled backups indefinitely.
If you prefer to not use the desktop software, there is also a fully functioning web dashboard that lets you do everything the dedicated software does. This is also where you can manage your different users, and you can set up as many of them as you like.
If you need to add a lot of users at once — for example, one for everyone who works at your business — you can import a TXT file with all the information to quickly create the user profiles in bulk.
There’s unfortunately no courier service, which can come in handy for a business if it needs to restore large amounts of data or when performing its initial backup.
CrashPlan supports various forms of throttling and gives you detailed control over when the limits should kick in. This can be done on the basis of either CPU or bandwidth load, which prevents CrashPlan from taking up resources that you may need elsewhere.
When CrashPlan is uploading your files, it uses a block-level algorithm to avoid wasting resources and bandwidth reuploading parts of the file that remain unchanged. Instead, it analyzes your files and uploads only the parts that have changed from previous file versions.
Unfortunately, there are some features we would’ve liked to see that are missing. The first is image-based backups, which let you create a clone of your hard drive so that you can set up your system again exactly as it was. Furthermore, there is no way to backup NAS drives or mobile devices, though there is an iOS and Android app for mobile access to your files.
If these features are something that your small business needs, then we can recommend IDrive, which includes all of these and offers both personal and business subscriptions.
CrashPlan also doesn’t offer multithreading, which would probably improve data transfer speeds if it was implemented in the desktop software. However, as you’ll see in the speed section of this CrashPlan review, the software is still very fast.
There’s no way to share a file or sync data between devices, but most other online backup services can’t do this either. If these are the main features you’re looking for, we can recommend SpiderOak ONE. If you’re not sure what the distinction is, check out our cloud storage vs online backup rundown.
CrashPlan’s versioning is excellent, though, as it will retain deleted files for as long as you want, as well as an unlimited number of previous versions of changed files. You’re given a great degree of control over when to remove deleted and old versions of files, with several settings available for different lengths of time.
CrashPlan Features Overview
|External Drive Backup|
|Mobile Device Backup|
|Block-Level File Copying|
|Courier Recovery Service|
|Mobile App Access|
|Deleted File Retention|
|Set User Roles|
|Set Business Backup Rules|
|Access User Backup|
|Monitor Connected Devices|
|Encryption Protocol||AES 256-bit|
|Hardened Data Centers|
|Proxy Server Settings|
|Live Chat Support|
Figuring out the price of a backup service can often be quite a pain, as many providers offer several different plans and tiers, with different storage limits and features included in each one. The CrashPlan pricing structure, on the other hand, makes this very easy by offering only one type of subscription.
How Much Is CrashPlan for Small Business?
CrashPlan Pro (which is the same thing as CrashPlan for Small Business) costs $10 per device per month (unless you’re in Australia or New Zealand). This gives you unlimited storage and access to all of the features.
Users in Australia and New Zealand instead have to pay $16.49 Australian dollars per device per month, which — depending on the currency conversion at any given time — comes out to roughly the same price as the $10 that other international users pay.
Although this isn’t too unreasonable, it’s still quite a bit more expensive than other unlimited backup solutions, such as Backblaze or Carbonite, both of which cost only $6 per device per month. You can check out our Backblaze pricing guide if you’re interested in that service in particular.
If you want to test out the software before committing to a subscription, CrashPlan for Small Business offers a 30-day free trial for one device. There are no limitations placed on trial accounts, which means that you can get a real feel for the service before paying anything.
Although CrashPlan for Small Business certainly isn’t the cheapest unlimited backup provider out there, it does offer quite a bit more functionality than the cheaper alternatives. Its wonderfully simple pricing structure (compared to, for example, Carbonite) is also a huge bonus.
Ease of Use
CrashPlan is incredibly easy to use, as it sports a clean and simple client and mobile app, as well as a web dashboard full of functionality that makes setting up and managing your backup to cloud storage a breeze.
In the main panel you have an overview of all your backup sets with details for each, such as the number of files included, their size, how long ago the set was uploaded and the time for the next scheduled backup.
At the top of this panel you have a dropdown menu where you can select what device you want to manage, but this is available only to the account administrator.
Strangely, the size given for each backup set doesn’t seem to be quite accurate. For example, in the testing set we created — which has an actual size of 3.51GB — the client simultaneously states that it has a size of 3.8GB and 4GB, depending on where you look.
For each backup set there is a settings button and a button labelled “manage files.” By clicking on the latter, you can select or deselect the files you want included in the backup, and CrashPlan warns you that by deselecting a file, you will be deleting it from the cloud.
In the settings for each backup set, you can decide how often the backup runs, which is either on a continuous basis or during certain days or times every week. Here you can also add file exclusions, decide how highly the set is to be prioritized and change the destination of your backup.
Finally, this settings panel also lets you change the versioning preferences. These are extensive and allow you to decide how often you want to create a new version, which is anywhere from every 15 minutes to once per day.
Furthermore, you can decide how long you want old file versions to be retained: up to a week, after a week, after 90 days and after a year.
This gives you a lot of control over your file versions, as well as how long you want CrashPlan Pro to wait to remove deleted files, which can be set to anything from just one day to never being deleted at all.
Aside from the options that are specific to each backup set, there is also a general settings menu located at the top-right of the main panel. Here, you can adjust various throttling settings that can be used to limit CrashPlan Pro based on either CPU or network usage.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, you can even set up different throttling rules based on whether or not you are currently using the device. This is a great option to have, as it lets you minimize usage while you’re actively using the device, preventing your backup from interfering with anything else.
You can also set up two rounds of notifications for when the device hasn’t been backed up in a certain amount of time. These notifications are then delivered to both the user and the account administrator.
Meanwhile, in the security settings, you can upgrade your encryption to private. Bear in mind that this means that you won’t be able to recover your data if you forget your password, so make sure to install one of the best password managers first, just to be safe.
The security settings is also where you can disable the password prompt when the CrashPlan application launches.
We found that if you leave the password prompt on, then the software is incredibly eager to ask for your CrashPlan login information again if you leave the application alone for more than a few minutes. Although this is great for security — especially in a small-business setting — it’s a bit of a pain to deal with.
By clicking on “tools” and then “history” in the toolbar, you are shown a detailed log of all the activity that has taken place on your account or device. This is especially important for small businesses because it gives the administrator the tools they need to make sure everything is being backed up properly across all of the company’s devices.
CrashPlan Web and Mobile Apps
Besides the desktop software, CrashPlan’s web dashboard is also very well designed. This is where you can manage your devices and users, as well as all of their backup sets.
The main dashboard gives you some general usage statistics, including how much storage you’re using, graphs of your users’ restores during the past 30 days and the average storage space used per user.
On the left-hand side of the dashboard, you have the main menu that is split into two main categories: devices and users. In “users,” you can edit each user’s information, add new users, deactivate existing ones and manage your administrators. The section is split up into active and deactivated accounts, as well as invited users and administrators.
Under “devices,” you have a similar split between active and deactivated devices. When you click on a device in the list, you’re given in-depth data on the device’s backup, including usage stats, storage used, how many files are being backed up and more.
From the device overview, you can also control its backup process. You can change all of the settings that you have in the regular desktop software, which means that you can remotely initiate a scheduled upload by switching the device to a continuous backup.
To do this, you simply click on the settings icon in the top right of the device overview and select “edit.” This brings you to a settings menu that is essentially the same as the one in the desktop software. By entering the “backup sets” tab, you can change the frequency of the backup to “always,” which will force it to run as long as the device is connected to the internet.
Finally, the CrashPlan mobile app is also incredibly easy to use, mostly because it’s very basic. The entire app consists of two screens. First is a list of your devices, which you can click on to see the backed up files. These can be downloaded onto your mobile device, at which point they will appear in the “downloads” screen.
The settings menu is similarly sparse, with the only thing you can adjust being whether or not to use touch ID to sign in to your account.
File Backup & Restoration
Although many backup services are easy to use once you’ve got everything set up, many make it needlessly complicated or painful to set up your actual backup. This is not true for CrashPlan Pro, where the process is as streamlined as possible while still giving you plenty of control over what exactly you want to backup.
Once you’ve downloaded the client to the device that you want to backup, CrashPlan establishes a default backup set that, on Windows, includes your user folder. You can then easily create your own sets, selecting exactly what files you want uploaded, as well as whether they go to CrashPlan’s servers or a local destination.
You can create as many backup sets as you want, which is excellent for file management because you can then set some files to backup continuously or on a daily basis, while less critical data can be uploaded less frequently or with other constraints, such as bandwidth throttling.
For each backup set, you can decide how often you want the upload to run. Unfortunately, there is no completely manual option, but you can choose between continuous backup or setting specific days and times of the week when you want to allow backups to run. You can also specify exclusions based on file type and name, as well as what order you want the sets to be prioritized.
While a backup is in progress, you’re given plenty of information about how it’s going. There’s a progress bar for each individual file, as well as an estimated time for completion, how many files have been uploaded and how many are in the queue.
Restoring files is just as easy. All you need to do is click the button labelled “restore files,” then select the folders you want to download and where you want them to end up. You’ll then be able to see the progress of your restore in a small dropdown located in the top right of the application.
Unfortunately, you don’t get the same level of detail on the progress of your restore as you do with your backups. This isn’t the biggest deal, but we’d like to see a bit more detail here.
You can also restore a backup via the web dashboard. This is done by selecting the device you want to restore, clicking on the small button with a circular arrow on the right-hand side of the device overview and then selecting the files you want. Unfortunately, you can restore files and folders only up to 250MB using the web restore.
Speed is a crucial factor when performing a backup to the cloud, especially if it’s your initial backup. Luckily, CrashPlan performs very well in this regard, despite the lack of multithreading support.
To test its speed, we used CrashPlan to backup and restore a 3.51GB folder filled with various kinds of files, including video, photo and data files. The tests were performed on an internet connection with a download speed of 25 Mbps and an upload speed of 30 Mbps from Oslo, Norway.
The data center we uploaded to was located in the U.S., which means that users located in North America can expect somewhat better results than what we managed to achieve.
In theory, our connection speed means that the upload should take about 15 minutes and the download about 20 minutes. More realistically, we’d like to see the upload completed in 30 to 45 minutes and the download in 40 minutes to an hour.
|First attempt:||Second attempt:||Average:|
As you can see, these results surpass our expectations, which is great. Considering that there’s no way to enable multithreading, we were actually quite surprised that it managed to achieve the results above, as it outperforms several other backup services that do use multiple threads, such as IDrive.
The restore, in particular, finished incredibly quickly, greatly exceeding our expectations and pushing up against the theoretical limit of our connection speed.
Security is an area where CrashPlan really knocks it out of the park. CrashPlan features strong encryption, solid data center security and two-factor authentication, which is pretty much everything you could ask for in terms of security for an online backup service.
Starting with the encryption side of things, CrashPlan uses AES 256-bit to protect your files while they’re on the company’s servers. This type of encryption is essentially unbreakable, as you can learn about from our description of encryption, unless you have several super computers and thousands of years to crack it.
When your files are in transit to the servers, they’re protected by the TLS protocol to ensure that you’re not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
As we mentioned earlier, CrashPlan also offers two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security, which makes it incredibly hard for cybercriminals to gain access to your files and data because just cracking your password won’t be enough.
As for the actual servers where your files are stored, CrashPlan uses hardened data centers that are designed to stay online in the event of serious disruptions, such as power outages or natural disasters. They’re also equipped with 24/7 on-site security to protect from physical break-ins.
Is CrashPlan Safe?
Yes, CrashPlan is incredibly safe. Because it offers solid encryption, both at rest and in transit, as well as great data center security, your files are as safe as they can be on CrashPlan’s servers.
CrashPlan does pretty well with user privacy. Although it does collect quite a bit of metadata on its users, this is nothing out of the ordinary; basically all backup providers do the same to some extent.
The information that Code42 (the software company behind CrashPlan) collects includes the information you provide during signup, such as your name, email address and phone number.
It also retains information gathered through its website cookies, as well as usage data, such as your IP and MAC addresses, operating system, browser versions and hardware signatures.
Despite reserving the right to retain this information for as long as it pleases, Code42 does make it clear that it never sells it to third parties. However, it will share that data with partners and affiliates, when necessary, as well as with official authorities if required to do so by law.
All Code42 software comply with the GDPR and HIPAA, though the latter requires private encryption to be enabled.
Besides data collection and handling, the most important privacy feature a backup service can include is private encryption. Essentially this means encrypting your data with a key that only you have access to.
By handling encryption like this, it makes Code42 software “zero-knowledge,” meaning that the company has no way of accessing your actual files, even if it was forced to do so by law enforcement.
The biggest issue with CrashPlan’s privacy is where its data centers are located. With the exception of users in Australia and New Zealand, backups are stored on servers located in the U.S., which is infamous for its poor digital privacy laws. This has been shown time and again with laws like the Patriot Act, and intelligence programs and networks like PRISM and the Five Eyes.
That said, this isn’t as big of a deal as it could be, seeing as you can opt for managing your own encryption key, which protects your files regardless of where the data center is located geographically. If storing your data files in the U.S. is still a problem for you, there are a few backup services, such as Zoolz and Acronis, that offer alternate locations.
Because a backup service is entrusted with potentially critical data, it’s important that it provides quick and responsive customer service in case anything goes wrong.
This goes double for CrashPlan because it caters exclusively to small businesses, where data is likely to be far more critical than it is for personal users. Luckily, CrashPlan does very well here, though we would have liked to see 24/7 support.
You can contact CrashPlan’s customer service via email, chat or phone. The phone and chat options are unfortunately available only during opening hours, which are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST.
We sent a couple of queries via email to test the responsiveness of CrashPlan’s customer service, and we always got a reply within two hours, which is excellent.
If you have only a minor technical problem, you can also consult the searchable knowledgebase, which should be enough to sort out anything simple. There’s no user forum to reach out to for support, but given the incredibly rapid email response, this doesn’t really matter all that much.
With that, our CrashPlan review comes to a close. All in all, it’s an excellent online backup system for small businesses, as it’s filled with relevant features and is incredibly easy to use. Pair this with top-notch security, privacy and customer support, and you’ve got something very close to the ideal choice for small businesses looking for a cloud backup solution.
There are a few things missing, though, such as hard drive cloning, mobile backups and multithreading. Although these absences might be a deal breaker for your business, if they’re not something you need, then there’s no reason to look any further than CrashPlan for your cloud backup.
However, if they are deal breakers or you’re looking for backup software for personal use, head over to our list of the best online backup services to find some alternatives to CrashPlan Pro.
What did you think of our CrashPlan review? Do you agree that it’s a well-designed service with plenty of features and great speed? Do you think that the missing features are a problem, or the price is a little too high when compared to other similar backup services? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.