Backblaze for Business Review
We would recommend Backblaze for Business for pretty much any SMB. It's fast, easy to use and above all cheap.
By Joseph Gildred – Last Updated: 27 Nov'17
While Backblaze has been a favorite among home users for some time now, and Backblaze B2 is a popular IaaS choice for developers, it wasn’t until January 2017 that the online backup company really opened the doors to business owners. Backblaze for Business brings both Backblaze backup and B2 cloud storage together, allowing account owners to pay for employee backup and monitor usage by setting up work groups.
While B2 is a secure, affordable choice for those looking to build their own cloud platforms for storage or backup, during this Backblaze review, we’ll be focusing primarily on Backblaze’s more traditional (and much simpler) online backup tool, in addition to the admin features available to account holders.
We’ll save the glorious details for later, but if you’re just here for the quick and dirty version, here it is: Backblaze offers tremendous value thanks to a combination of unlimited storage and pricing that’s much, much lower than the competition. This makes it one of the best online backup for business options available today.
If you’re ready to implement Backblaze for Business as a business backup plan, you can head over to Backblaze to sign up; there’s a 15-day free trial available. If you’re still on the fence about your future with the service, keep reading to find out it holds up against the competition.
Alternatively, if you find yourself in the wrong place, as we all do from time to time, we also have a review of Backblaze for home users and a roundup of the best online backup solutions for home users, too. If you’re more interested in a cloud storage solution for your business, rather than backup, checkout our best cloud storage for business in our best EFSS roundup.
- 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
- Removes deleted files after 30 days
- No NAS or server backup
- No mobile backup
For business end-users, the features available with Backblaze for Business are exactly the same as those available for home users. Account owners and designated admins, on the other hand, have a few added capabilities.
The fact that Backblaze uses the exact same client for business and home users should appeal to SMB owners looking for a simple backup solution that runs in the background and won’t require much time to maintain. The advantage is that your employees can focus on productivity, instead of waiting for backups to finish.
Backblaze is an unlimited backup service and takes advantage of that by simply backing up files based on extension. That means that documents, images, financial records, emails and most other essential files are automatically backed up. The only files not tagged for backup are system and temporary files.
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; Linux users will need to look elsewhere, such as our best online backup for Linux article
While a single Backblaze license is only good for one computer, it can be used for external drive backup, too, when attached via USB or Firewire to your computer. Backblaze will not backup NAS devices, Boot Camp partitions or virtual machines. If you’re looking for NAS backup, check out our list of best cloud backup for NAS devices.
Backblaze also doesn’t backup to external drives (as opposed to backing them up). This is something unlimited backup rival CrashPlan can do, if that’s a requirement for your business.
Backblaze and Speed
Backblaze has some nice features to help you manage and streamline your backup process like speed throttling, multithreaded backups and block-level file copying. Backblaze also retains previous versions of files and deleted files, but only for 30 days. We prefer CrashPlan’s approach of letting users retain file versions and deleted files indefinitely, particularly since with unlimited backup space you don’t need to worry about being frugal.
Backblaze has mobile apps for both Android and iOS, but they’re only good for accessing and sharing files, not backing up mobile data. Business users looking for mobile device backup should consider IDrive or one of our other top picks for best mobile backup.
In terms of account management, you can set up work groups through the Backblaze web interface. We’ll take a closer look at the interface itself when we discuss ease of use. For now, we’ll just say that while the admin dash does let you check basic backup statistics for usage, it’s not quite as fleshed out as we like to see. It’s primary purpose is to let you pay for online backup services (Backblaze Online Backup and B2) for others.
One of the advantages of going with Backblaze for your business backup is that the company doesn’t inflate its costs over what home consumers pay. The cost for business backup and personal backup is the same: $5 a month for unlimited backup for one computer.
That’s about as good a deal as you’ll find in online backup for a single computer, bested only by signing up for an annual or biannual agreement with Backblaze. If you pay for one year of backup you’ll pay just $50, effectively getting two months free. Two years will cost you $95, saving you $25, which works out to five free months of service.
$ 5 00monthly
$ 50 00yearly
$ 95 002 years
Plan is for one computer.
The disadvantage of Backblaze over services like IDrive Business and Carbonite for Business is that those services can be used to backup unlimited devices and provide more price scalability. For example, IDrive Business offers 250GB, 500Gb, 1.25TB and several other tiers you can subscribe to based on need.
Whether or not that those services will ultimately cost you more than Backblaze will ultimately depend on how many employee devices you have to protect and how much backup space you need. If you’ve got just a few computers to protect, Backblaze is probably going to be the better deal.
If simplicity is at the top of your checklist for business backup, there’s really not a better choice than Backblaze. By backing up automatically based on file type, the client pretty much does all the work for you. Other backup services for business, including IDrive, Carbonite and CrashPlan, require that you backup based on file location, which tends to be a more manual and tedious process.
During installation, Backblaze scans your hard drive and notes every file that should be backed up. Once you click “okay” the backup process starts running. That’s pretty much all there is to it. As you add and create new files, they’ll be added automatically to your backup plan.
The Backblaze desktop client is streamlined and easy to use. It’s not packed with settings and features like many online backup clients are. The primary client pane only has three buttons: pause backup, restore options and settings.
Opening settings will let you customize the process some, although in most cases it’s not likely something you or your employees will ever need to bother with. Backblaze is already optimized to perform smoothly on modern computers.
The web interface is likewise easy to use, which is good since you’ll need to make use of it to manage your work team. Management is performed through the use of business groups.
If you set up your business group to be a managed group, as the admin you can access employee accounts to reset their passwords and even access their files. However, your employees must agree to access when joining the group.
Within the group management dashboard, you can also purchase set up payments for both Backblaze online backup and Backblaze B2 cloud storage, a low-cost cloud infrastructure service that completes with Amazon S3, Google Cloud and Azure.
Invitations to employees to join your business group can be sent via email or you can share an invite link with them.
When accepting your invitation through either method, you’ll be given the chance to approve their membership before they’re officially added. Employees that already have a Backblaze account they’re paying for will receive a prorated refund if they’ve paid up in advance.
Overall, the system is easy to use and pretty barebones, true to the general Backblaze approach. Absent are detailed reporting tools that you’ll find with competing services like CrashPlan for Small Business. However, you can at least check basic usage statistics to ensure your employee devices are being protected.
Backup, as we mentioned, is based on file type with Backblaze. Because it’s pretty much grabbing everything aside from system and temporary files, the initial backup can understandably take some time. In fact, you’re probably looking at several days or even a few weeks.
If you want an idea of just how long you’re going to be waiting, click the button on the desktop client that reads, “How long will my backup take?”
Once that first backup is out of the way, things should run much more smoothly. Backblaze processes files at the block-level. That means that if a file changes, it’ll only copy the parts of the file that changed to the cloud rather than bothering to replace the entire file. Backblaze also makes use of lossless compression to decrease file size before transfers. Both block-level file copying and compression save time and bandwidth.
If bandwidth isn’t an issue, you can speed things up with Backblaze by opting for multithreaded backup, a feature that most other online backups don’t offer. You can also throttle upload and download speeds from within the same settings pane.
Backblaze also processes backups incrementally, which means that only files that are new or files that have changed get backed up.
By default, the Backblaze client runs this process using an continuous backup approach, which means that files are backed up in close to real-time. However, for some users, continuous backup may prove to be too resource intensive. In that case, Backblaze also lets you set scheduled backups.
Scheduling options are more limited than with backup services like IDrive and CloudBerry Backup. For example, you can specify what days of the week to run backups on. However, most users will benefit most from continuous backup, anyway.
While there’s no harm in letting Backblaze grab most files since you’re not limited on backup space, if there are file types or specific folders you don’t want backed up, you can manage that bit from the “exclusions” tab in your client settings.
Recovery of files requires that you use the web interface. While there’s a “restore options” button in the desktop client, all it does is open your browser.
Once online, you can select what files you want to restore by going to the view/restore files tab. Once you’ve got everything selected, the typical way to get your files back is to download them in a zip file. If you don’t want to stay online while Backblaze prepares this zip file for you, that’s fine: you’ll get an email alert when it’s ready.
Zip file recoveries are also limited to 500GB per request, with a minimum of five requests at any given time. If you have more than that, you might be better served taking advantage of Backblaze’s courier recovery service. With this option, you can request that Backblaze load all of your files onto a 128GB USB flash drive or 4TB external hard drive and mail that device to you.
The courier recovery option requires that you pay for the device up front. However, if you mail it back to Backblaze, the company will refund the cost to you.
For day-to-day operations, Backblaze manages good data upload speeds thanks to solid file compression and block-level file copying algorithms. That first backup is going to take some time however, particularly if you’ve got hundreds of gigabytes of data to upload.
Normally when evaluating a cloud storage service, we perform a series of tests uploading and downloading a 1GB test folder. However, due to the fact that Backblaze backs up based on file type rather than location, we couldn’t in this case.
During our tests, Backblaze tagged about 90GB of data to backup and estimated that it would take around four days to backup. That works out to around 22GB per day. Other online backup tools we’ve tested, including CrashPlan and Carbonite, backup at rates of around 10GB per day, so Backblaze’s estimate, if accurate, reflects excellent speeds.
Backblaze has a strong approach to cloud security, which should appeal to small business owners with sensitive data to protect. This approach includes both at-rest and in-transit encryption with an option for private end-to-end encryption.
When your files are uploaded to the Backblaze servers, they’re always encrypted using Backblaze. AES is generally considered the gold standard for encryption today. The only thing Backblaze could really improve on here is to use 256-bit AES like many other online backup providers do, but there have been no known hacks of 128-bit encryption, so your data should be safe and secure for now.
Normally, Backblaze keeps the encryption keys used to decipher your files stored on an internal server. However, if you prefer, you can setup private encryption to make the service zero-knowledge. In doing so, only you will know your encryption key, meaning Backblaze can never decrypt and read your files for any purpose.
While in transit between your device and the Backblaze data center, your files are further protected using secure TLS/SSL tunneling. This will prevent eavesdroppers from intercepting your data through man-in-the-middle and similar cyber attacks.
Backblaze also supports two-factor authentication, which as administrator you can mandate for all of your employees. With two-factor authentication, if one of your employees uses a weak password that’s cracked or stolen by someone looking to do your company harm, they still won’t be able to access that employee’s files. That’s because two-factor authentication requires an additional security code when logging in from an unfamiliar device. This code can be delivered via SMS or you can set up Google Authenticator.
Our only real quibble with regard to Backblaze security stems from its limited versioning capabilities. Only storing previous versions of files for 30 days makes Backblaze somewhat less capable of dealing with ransomware attacks than online services with more generous versioning policies, like IDrive and CrashPlan.
Ransomware attacks are commonly targeted at businesses and work by corrupting files. With versioning, once you’ve removed the malware behind the attack, you can revert back to uncorrupted versions rather than paying the ransomers for clean file copies.
Backblaze doesn’t provide telephone support, even for business users. It does provide live chat support, which some people might actually prefer, but only Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
If your business requires more ready access to live support, IDrive is definitely the better option, with telephone support during weekdays and 24/7 live support. On the other hand, if you think you can wait a couple of hours for tech support responses, email tickets are answered 24/7 by Backblaze.
Based on our testing, average wait time for emails is around two hours. Backblaze also lets you check email ticket status online, which is a nice touch.
Backblaze also maintains a decent support site if you prefer to figure things out on your own or just need some general help getting started. Support categories include troubleshooting, installation, backing up, restoring and FAQs. The support site also has a search feature for finding relevant articles more quickly.
If you’re a business user looking to protect your work files without having to spend time doing so, there’s really not a better pick than Backblaze. While CrashPlan also offers unlimited business backup, it doesn’t perform backup based on file type like Backblaze does. Instead, you have to manually tag files for backup based on their location. The Backblaze approach is simpler and more effective.
In addition to being the easiest backup service to use, Backblaze is also the best value. $5 for unlimited backup per computer should appeal to small businesses and startups without much financial wiggle room to play with, but with critical files that would be even more costly to lose. Backblaze also moves files quickly, relative to the rest of the online backup field, and offers strong security and fast email support.
It falls short in a few areas that will matter to some business users, however. This includes lack of mobile backup, NAS backup, Linux support and two-factor authentication. If those are all things you can live without, however, Backblaze for Business presents a solid backup choice that should help you manage your business’s costs without putting your critical data at risk.
If you’re a business user with an experience or concern you’d like to share, or if you have a question you’d like to ask, please let us know in the comments, below. Thanks for reading!