I’ve tried nearly all of them, and settled on Backblaze.
Jungle Drive: I found it impossible to set up. Too many separate logins and setting up the connection between the software and the storage servers, albeit rock solid amazon servers, threw several hurdles at me. After a couple of hours, including forum entries, I gave up. If it’s this much hassle, I won’t do it. I just know I won’t. It’s like exercising or writing your book – if there are too many hurdles between you and it, it’s not going to happen.
Mozy and Carbonite: Similar services, some differences, but I was concerned about key things, including impact on system resources and security. They both seem like reasonable solutions, and I like the right click and add to backup capability that one of them provides. I’ve no real objections to them, other than the cost of getting a backup DVD if you want one.
Others: A plethora of issues too numerous to detail. Many of them are specialized – more for sync than backup. I found some with great security, but price was often a barrier. A few had technical troubles in their install/setup/registration process that just sent me away as quickly as I’d found them.
Content: They don’t care what you’re backing up. No one’s going to tell you that you can’t backup an .avi that your recorded with your own camera. I don’t ever want to go “Oh yeah, that’s one of the file types Carbonite doesn’t accept.” I don’t have time for that. I need to know my data, what *I* consider to be my data, is safe, secure, and accessible and darned sure not stuck in an on-site world where fire, flood, and theft can wipe me out.
Security: Your personal security key is applied prior to the upload, so even Backblaze would find it difficult to read your files. This is deeply important. If you can’t secure your files, you can’t protect your files from one of the key things that backups are designed mitigate – theft. Sure, someone can break into your building and steal your computer, but short of that, if you’re password protecting everything, it’s mainly important that your backups be secured from scrutiny. Backblaze triumphs here.
Ease: Setup and implementation is absolutely a no-brainer. In this category, Backblaze is in a class all its own. And this is important. I’ve got geek skills, but I don’t want to use them to think about my backups. Backups need to be so automated that I don’t have to think about them at all – they just happen. If I do have to focus on them, then they won’t be done consistently, and they lose most of their value. Backblaze says ‘you drive – I’ll keep the car maintenanced’ – it’s the virtual butler of backups. Ask yourself – if you’re not doing regular backups, why not? Isn’t it because there’s something you have to do? I let Backblaze worry about that.
Trust: This applies to all cloud backup services. I do an occasional backup of all data to an external drive, so yeah I’m insulated somewhat from cloud catastrophe. But it’s a formality. The latest version of everything is in the cloud. Mostly what I’m backing up is older documents that weren’t created in the cloud in the first place. In the future, when all that’s converted over, I’ll download the cloud content as my backup activity. Future utilities will back up multiple cloud accounts to one server, and to your own portable drive. I think the data loss stories people have seen around cloud data are frankly overblown. Compare it to the data loss experienced daily in corporations and homes, despite local backup plans, and it’s nothing – a drop in the bucket. The trust issue is a non-issue.
Some other things I like are that Backblaze is cross-platform. So I can recommend it to others, regardless of platform. And I like that BB will backup external drives (other services still struggle here), that bandwidth use is easy to throttle up and down if I want more resources, and that the cost is $5/month. You just can’t beat it.
This post is destined to be a little ‘blah’, and that’s exactly the way I want it. The backup system on my rig needs to be brain-dead simple and require the least interference and input from me. I want it so boring that there’s nothing further to say, because I think that’s what makes a successful backup – for business, for personal data, or whatever. I think we’re at that point, thanks to BackBlaze.