To Backup or Not To Backup?
This should not be a question.
Over the past few months I have been asked multiple times if I could help someone recover their data off of their "dead" computer. While it is sometimes possible, why run the risk? Instead, why not get a solid and secure backup system in place? Let me ask you this, how important IS your data? How important are those family pictures and and all those documents? The answers that I get vary from person to person, but more and more as the world becomes so technology dependent, the answer is becoming an overwhelming, "My data is VERY important!" So then the next logical question is, "What should I do to properly backup my data?"
Now, I am not one to just assume that a program, app, or service is the best just because someone says so, I have to try them all out for myself. I have experimented with a lot of backup solutions but I have ultimately found myself coming back to CrashPlan time and time again. Many people think that Backing up their data is too complicated, or maybe even too expensive? Such is not the case with CrashPlan. CrashPlan is both very easy to use and not as expensive as you might think.
CrashPlan has a few different pricing options. They have a Free plan if you want to back up locally, an individual plan if you want the ability to back up to the cloud, and a family plan if you have more than 1 computer that you would like to have backed up. The costs on all of the plans are very affordable and as would be expected, there are more features available for the paid plans than the free plans.
Difference Between the Free and Paid Versions?
The free version of CrashPlan is rich with features, including: no file size limits ,and you can backup an unlimited amount of data, as long as your external Hard Drive or the computer you are backing up to has enough space. Your data is backed up with 128-bit file and transmission encryption so it is very secure, and when you need to restore a file that you may have deleted, or even when it's time to restore that backup because your computer died, it's a piece of cake. The free version also comes with access to the CrashPlan support forums where there is a wealth of information for any questions that you may have.
The Paid versions comes with everything that the free versions do, with some added bonuses. On the individual and family plans the encryption is 448-bit, and they have the ability to retain an unlimited amount of versions of a file. You can still back up locally, or you can also back up to the cloud. Also, the family plan let's you backup 2-10 computers, and all with an unlimited amount of day, how cool is that?
One of the most valuable features in the paid versions, in my opinion, is the ability to restore a file from the web or from the CrashPlan APP!!! So when you are away from your computer you can quickly log in to your CrashPlan account via the web or via the mobile app and you can pull down that important document or picture that you need right at that moment, it's GENIUS! I have used this feature many times when I am away from my computer and need quick access to a file, just open up CrashPlan and pull it down to my iPhone, it's that simple.
I have been using CrashPlan since 2012 and I can tell you that it is SUPER EASY to set up and maintain! CrashPlan is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and the user interface is great! It comes with a lot of the options already pre-configured so you can pretty much just install it, pick your backup destination and off you go.
One of the great things, as seen in the screenshot below, is that you can set the CPU usage for when the user is present and away. This means that while you're working on your computer you can make sure that CrashPlan is not eating up too much of your resources, and then while you're away you can kick it in to high gear to get that backup completed as quick as possible. They set it at an 80/20 split but you can adjust to fit your needs.
The CrashPlan mobile app is also very user friendly and super convenient when you need access to your files on the go! Remember, this one requires that you have a CrashPlan Paid Subscription in order to benefit from it. Very easy to navigate, and once you find your file, you download to your mobile device and then open in an app on your device that can handle whatever file type it is that you downloaded, pretty slick!