Carbonite, designed after eliminating the complexities of the user interface, is best suited for users who prefer using easy-to-learn application. Although it is easy to use, it is tough when to try to know about the product. We found a lot of information missing on the website and application. Still, we have made all the possible attempts to provide you with the best review covering all the aspects.
- Offers various plans: Different plans offer different clients depending upon the objective of using the application.
- Straightforward use: The company is directed towards an interface where a user doesn’t need to put much effort into finding any attribute.
- Backup frequency: The basic plan offers continuous synchronization and endpoint plan permits to take a backup every minute.
- Different graphs provided: Web accounts has a dashboard window which helps to track all the activities of every user.
- No backup or restore using the web account: The web account provides no option to take backup or restore files in case of endpoint plan. You first need to download the client.
- Throttling options: You can throttle the bandwidth, but the speed cap is set according to the application.
- Need to add more information on the website: Even while choosing a plan, they do not provide the information about the storage capacity. There are very few FAQs and articles in the knowledge base. Thus, when customers face problems, there are not many self-help options.
What the review contains?
Cloud backup programs are the saviors when the foe is ransomware- one of the biggest reasons why people started purchasing backup applications.
However, there could be other reasons also which conclude backup as a necessity. The probability of accidental deletion of files and hardware failures is obviously more than zero. Hence, there must be a credible cloud backup application to safeguard your data.
Now, the question arises that how one will judge the credibility? Or how to discover whether the product is up to the mark or not?
Users looking for purchasing one of these cloud backup apps can judge the product according to the following aspects.
- Speed delivered during backup and restoration processes.
- Security while transferring the data and when it is stored on the server.
- How easy it is to take backups and restore a file when required.
However, these aspects only give an overview of the application. We will provide you the information about these aspects too, but you will also get familiar with all the features the application offers. The user interface plays an important role here as Carbonite provides one of the simplest UI we have ever seen.
It might be possible that simplicity is obtained on the cost of functionality. Going through each aspect one by one will give you an idea about the part when the application lacks, and let you know about its exclusivities as well.
Carbonite’s basic computer plan
Carbonite offers three different plans for businesses out of which we have selected two for this review. The first one is the basic computer plan whose discussion is housed in this section. The other one is the advanced endpoint protection which we are going to review in detail under upcoming headings.
The major differences which we found between the basic plan and advanced plan are the level of encryption and covered platforms. The basic plan offers 128-bit encryption whereas advanced plan provides protection by using 256-bit encryption which is obviously better.
The basic plan is neither available for iOS, nor Android. Hence, it can only be used through PC and cannot backup mobile data.
These are the differences which we simply found out from the website, but there are a few more significant differences which you will only know after using the application.
The image which we have added above is of the basic plan’s web account. As you can check, there is a menu on the left side. The option of adding users or check the connected devices can be found on the dashboard itself.
Hence, the company allows this plan for multiple users. Another user can use the same email and password to log in to the web account through a different device or you can invite him through the dashboard.
There is a device tab, you can check what all devices are connected to the backup space at a particular time.
There are no settings available on the web account and whatever changes you need to make can only be done using the downloaded client whose image we have included below.
As you can see the dashboard, there is no option to restore because you can’t restore your data using the client. For that, you need to rely on the web account.
This shows the lack of attributes in the client as well as in the web account. Even the settings are not much useful.
Scheduling related features are offered which allow you to either take the backup continuously or you can restrict backup for certain hours. If you want to save your bandwidth, then you can opt to take backup once a day on time selected by you.
Some more options are added as you look at the screenshot which can be of some use. You can throttle the bandwidth by “Reducing Carbonite’s Internet Usage.” However, it will be not like Zoolz or Tresorit where you are provided with the flexibility of adjusting the bandwidth cap.
This is all you get here. It took the application nearly twenty minutes to backup 275 MB. As we know, the speed depends upon the ISP too, we have taken that factor in consideration. It was 25 Mbps for uploading.
We are hoping that the advanced endpoint plan will deliver us with better speed. However, one of the fastest which we have experienced till now is IDrive which you can try using if fast backups are your priority.
Now, we would be closing the discussion about the basic plan. Its usability is not acceptable when there are multiple users. However, for taking file backups and restore them to own or other systems, Carbonite’s basic plan could be a good choice as it can be used with ease.
All the section which we are going to add now are related to the advanced endpoint plan, and information added is dedicated to this particular plan only.
The web account
We were unable to find any link for client download option, and thus we first signed up to check the web account. Here, you came across a popup window which will provide you with the client download option.
The web account which we got here is completely different from the one in the previous case: the options, menu, and even the user interface.
The home page
The home option present on the web account acts as the dashboard which provides insight about the activities performed by various users on the application.
The topmost graph denotes the total data backed up using Carbonite’s advanced endpoint plan. You can also check how many restores have been conducted during a specific period.
Keeping track of the number of added devices also becomes easier due to the availability of the dashboard.
Amidst the appreciation, there lies a room for improvement. You can check the number of restores and upload activity. However, the graphs provide no way to find out the person who has conducted the upload or restore.
In the graph itself, if they add the feature which let us know about the device name and its bandwidth consumption, it would be helpful to identify the storage a user consumes.
The website, web account, and client, no one amongst all three specifically mentions the total storage provided by the company. We tried to dig the information from the knowledge base, but it was not of much use.
After this, the only option left was to contact the customer support which did not get back to us while we were writing the review. They commit to provide brilliant customer support 24/7, and thus, not receiving a reply for such important information was disappointing.
The company details
Now, as you know what the home page houses and what it lacks, we will move forward to the company page. Here we found that total storage quota is 25 GB. However, we are not sure if this is per user or the total storage capacity.
In case they are charging us $24 just for 25 GB, it can be considered as a very expensive deal; nearly a dollar for a GB. Thus, from the storage perspective, it can’t be considered as a value for money product.
Even if the limit of 25 GB is set per user, then also we can’t recommend it as a user will need to delete files when the storage reaches to 25 GB.
You will find some exclusive options in this tab such as LDAP synchronization and creating alerts. There are a few company related options too under the company details window.
There are choices such as policy selection, an option to email passcode, and changing the name of the company.
User addition and listing
Adding a user is easier than shooting a fish in a barrel. You can open the Users window on the web account and click on Add User to allow the person to access the account.
All you need to add is the name and email as required information. Optionally, you can add custom details too. You can choose to change the time zone for a particular user.
There are multiple permission levels which we found missing in many other cloud backup applications. The other backup services usually have two access level: admin and user. Here, you can set different levels for personal permissions and company permissions.
After setting the details and adding the permission, clicking on add user button will send an email to the user with passcode and installation link.
The list will appear in the Users section. As an admin, you are allowed to add devices for every user, alter the permissions or even remove him whenever you want. However, you can’t do that directly from the list. To make these options visible just click on the user and various tabs will become visible.
For adding a device, you need to add a user first. The device which the added user utilizes will be included in this list automatically.
From the list, you can keep track of its status, i.e., if it is active or inactive, when the last backup was performed, and how much bandwidth it has consumed. It is possible that it will show the last backup according to the scheduling done by the user.
Other than these tabs, you can also download reports about the backups or add QuickCaches. However, the application is missing the most important feature, and that’s the option of taking backups and perform restores.
It is a necessary feature which can’t be neglected as it is the main aim of the application. Every time you need to restore files on another device, you first need to download the client. That itself will consume time. Thus, instant restores can’t be expected.
Backup and restoration
As you already know, you can’t take backup using the web account, the user will need to rely on the client for backups.
We have appreciated multiple times that the user interface is simplistic, and it is easy to learn about the application. Even after that, it is not user-friendly. The main goal of making the learning curve gentle is to make it easier for the user to access the features. Although the user will learn the features, it will be a tiring task to use them.
Let’s first talk about the backup process
Every cloud backup software offers multiple ways of taking backup. For example, in SugarSync, you can take backup using the context menu, directly using drag and drop, and by browsing the file.
However, Carbonite is rigid when the backup is considered. You can backup all the files at once from the home page of the client by clicking on “Scan Files Now”
We think it would not be a good idea to do that. You can choose to exclude particular file types whenever required.
For instance, if there is no need to backup music files, you can exclude them all. However, it will not be possible to back up some of the music files out of all the files.
In that case, you can add the path to a particular music file in clicking on the “Add a file type and location” option present in the protect window as shown in the image.
Clicking on it will displace a dialog box where you need to add the file name, at least one extension, and the path by browsing the file. After that, it will appear under the Protect tab amongst the list of other file types.
Rather than creating this technique (which contains so many steps), Carbonite could choose several other methods. If an option to directly browse the content is provided, it would be painless. Just open the browsing window, select all the files or folder you want to backup, and save it. Isn’t that simple? Why is it even necessary to add the folder name and extensions of files that the folder contains?
It unnecessarily makes the process long and tiring.
There is one option which may save you from going through this exhausting method.
Right click on the folder to discover the context menu where you will find Carbonite option. Moving the mouse pointer on it will discover menu options from where you can take the backup of that particular folder. You can choose to exclude it from the backup process as well.
If Carbonite would not have provided this method, it will be tough for any user to take the backup of particular files.
Now comes the restoration process
The efficiency of restoration matters more than the backup. While taking a backup, usually one will not be in a hurry, and in case you want fast backups, use an application such as Tresorit which offers multithreaded backup.
Consider a case when your hard drive crashes, and you urgently need a file for a meeting. In that case, you will prefer directly logging in to the web account and download the file.
As the company doesn’t offer a restore option on the web account, there is no option but to download the client. That’s a disadvantage that you will face while using Carbonite.
However, the process is simple after you download the client. You just need to open the restore tab and search for required files and folders by entering the name in the search box.
You can choose the file through the file browsing window as well. It doesn’t take much time, and it can not be better. Although it is easier, we would suggest the application should add a restore option on the web too. That will reduce the effort required during restoration.
Controls and settings
In backup software, user control doesn’t matter much. Generally, the application completes its task silently without making any changes to the system configuration. So, a user doesn’t require much alteration in the behavior.
The only problem users might face while using a cloud backup app is the consumption of bandwidth. As they obviously use the bandwidth, they may interfere with the other tasks on your system which require using the internet.
We have included the screenshot of the settings above where you can check for network utilization option. Under that you get two choices: either use reduced network bandwidth or use all available network bandwidth.
The first option throttle the bandwidth. However, we are not provided with information about how much bandwidth will it consume. As we set a cap on its usage, it will surely reduce the backup speed.
The other option doesn’t make any sense. Even if it were not provided, by default, the application would consume the bandwidth like other applications, i.e., all available network bandwidth.
In Tresorit, you are allowed to set the bandwidth cap manually by entering the reduced bandwidth speed. Such flexibility is not offered here.
There was an option to take continuous backup in the Carbonite basic plan which is absent in this one. You cannot take incessant backups, but you need to set a frequency for it. You can choose to take a backup every minute, or you can increase it to two minutes, five minutes, and so on with the maximum interval of one day.
If you want to enable backup for a particular period of a day, you can schedule it by putting the start time and the end time.
There is an option to add proxy too. You can allow the application to automatically detect the settings or else specify the server and the port number.
Some basic settings such as auto-start application when the system starts, auto-start backup, multithreaded upload, etc. are missing which must be included to increase the efficiency.
Speed is one of the biggest factors which can change one’s view of the product. No one would like to wait for long upload and download as it tests the patience.
As we already mentioned, Carbonite doesn’t provide an option to take backup using the web account. So, one can add the time consumed for downloading the software in total backup and restoration times.
Before restoration, let’s first discuss the backup process. Our ISP provides an uploading speed of 15 Mbps. We were not performing any other activity on the system at the time of the speed test as the situation is kept as ideal as possible.
With 15 Mbps uploading speed provided by ISP, the application took 10 minutes to upload a file of 104 MB. After performing certain calculations, we obtained a speed of 22 Kbps. However, according to the details visible on the Carbonite application, the speed is 97 Kbps.
The download speed delivered by our internet service provider is 55Mbps. Thus, we were expecting a fast restoration.
Fortunately, the expectations were fulfilled. The restoration only took 17 seconds for downloading a file of 110 MB. If we calculate the speed, it will be 6.4 Mbps which is better than SugarSync and Tresorit.
Thus, in terms of restoration, the application’s performance is obviously acceptable. However, one would surely desire some improvement in the backup speed.
How secure your data is?
There is not much information provided on the application. As a result, we were not able to identify the exact level of security company offers.
For generating an informative review, we even contacted the customer support regarding encryption. However, we received no reply from their end. Thus, we can only let you know about the Carbonite Endpoint encryption’s key length which 256 bits.
We are not sure if they are using AES or any other encryption. However, most likely it is AES because 256-bit key length is associated with this encryption.
We can’t confirm if this encryption is available only during storage or while data transfer as well. There are no details about encryption used while data gets backed up. Usually, SSL is used in this case, but a validation can’t be provided.
From the website, we got the information that the data is stored in Azure data centers which are considered trustworthy. Unfortunately, providing in-depth details about the Carbonite’s security standards is not a possible task.
The application offers an amazingly simple interface, but it is not the only aspect according to which one can choose the product.
In terms of speed also, the application provided satisfactory performance with very fast restoration. As they have mentioned on their website, the application uses 256-bit encryption to keep the data safe, the security is also acceptable.
However, many more improvements are required. Adding some more feature should be the priority. After this, they can contrate on adding backup and restoration options on the web account.
They claim customer support is available every day, but we did not receive any reply from them even after 48 hours of wait. Thus, they also need to make efforts to make themselves easily reachable.