7 Carbonite Alternatives – An Online Backup Pre-Purchase Guide

13 Dec

I recently began doing some thinking, and wondering if my PC Backup software was the best one out there. When I began using Carbonite, it seemed like the clear choice because it happened to be the most popular at the time.

We all make those decisions I think, where if it seems to have the most advertising behind it, and it’s the one product or service that we hear about most often, that it usually means that it’s the best one. But is that always the case? No, not always. So my goal was to do some research, and figure out if I’d made the right choice choosing Carbonite, when there are what I see now as so many other choices out there.

Just to be clear of course, I wasn’t looking because I was having any trouble with Carbonite what-so-ever. In fact I quite like Carbonite, but curiosity was getting the best of me and I wanted to be sure I was making the best choice for me.

Before we dive into the other alternatives to Carbonite, let’s just take a look at what Carbonite does offer and what it can do for you:

  • An easy-to-use control panel which securely backs up both Macs and Windows PCs…
  • Ability to set-up and perform automatic backups at a date and time of your choice with the scheduler app…
  • Simple, colored status dots let you easily know which files have been backed up…
  • Allows you to adjust settings for automatically backing up your files you’re your computer is not in use…
  • Lets you access any files you back up using Carbonite from any computer with internet access…
  • Provides double encryption and redundant storage before your data leaves your computer, keeping your data as safe as possible…
  • Support through email, phone, and chat…

In a nutshell, Carbonite gives me basically everything that I’ve needed so far. However in my search there may be things that I discover other software has that I didn’t know about. This may be a game-changer for me, but I really won’t know until I thoroughly investigate.

So let’s get into my findings from testing different PC backup systems.

SOS Online Backup

These guys have been around for quite some time now. Founded in 2001, they’ve been one of the industry leaders. Not on a scale that Carbonite or some of the others I’ll be looking into have, but they have made their mark on the map.

People seem to like this company, and there isn’t a great deal of bad reviews. Most are positive. But there’s only one true test of course. Let’s take a quick look at the features that they offer:

  • The user-interface is very simple to work with…
  • You’re given the choice of backing up files, or restoring files either online or locally on your computer…
  • Very simple and user-friendly drag and drop features…
  • Unlimited history of all the files that you’ve backed up, which allows you to access any saved file from any point in time…
  • Strong support system…
  • You can back-up up to 5 computers…
  • Option of email, phone, or chat support as long as you’re a member…
  • A thorough knowledgebase with video tutorials available…
  • Secure and Encrypted Backup to keep your data safe from prying eyes…

I love the ease of use that SOS has. It’s simple drag-and-drop which is just my style. I would have no problem recommending this company, which makes it look like this is going to be a pretty tough experiment.

Would I switch to this company from Carbonite? At this point it would be too early. If I were comparing the two side by side, without having first found a home with Carbonite, then perhaps yes I would. But being already accustomed to Carbonite, I opt to stay with them.

MyPC Backup

This is a much newer company that’s come up on the horizon very quickly. They were founded in 2011 after the founders had already had great success in the hosting world.

The next sensible lateral step seemed to be PC backup. They’re a young fresh company that’s right out there on the cutting edge. Let’s just take a look at what they have to offer:

  • They use Amazon servers to store your data on which are climate controlled and heavily monitored, twenty-four hour-per-day secure data centers…
  • All of your data is transferred through an encrypted connection using SSL…
  • Your account displays recent activity, preventing any unwanted or unauthorized changes to your account or files…
  • Allows you unlimited space (most others let you backup 2GB of storage)…
  • Has an extremely easy to use interface…
  • Accessing files is very much like Windows files…which means they’re very easy to use for anyone…
  • You get remote access to your files from anywhere online…
  • Allows you to sync separate computers and even your mobile devices…
  • 24 Hour Email Support…

This is one of those that if I were starting out today with backing up my PC, I may have gone for this one. This is a great feature set, very easy to use, and the unlimited storage is actually quite impressive.

However the support would likely make me question that decision, being only available through email. That makes a huge difference when something goes wrong, and you need an answer right away…especially these days when our lives are pretty much on our computers.

As for now there service peeks my curiosity, yet doesn’t seem to drive me over the edge ready to switch.

Mozy

This back up service has a little more experience than the previous one, being founded back in 2005. They’re a huge and very trusted company with over 3 million customers and over 80,000 businesses using their service.

Apparently they’re doing something right. Let’s see what they offer:

  • A more traditional type of online backup service…
  • Downloads a client to your computer, and you can then simply backup your entire computer…
  • If something goes wrong, you can go right in and completely restore your computer…
  • Stash folder where you can synch frequently used files across multiple computers…
  • One of the most robustly secure and complete storage systems of any service out there…
  • Completely straight-forward and easy to use interface…
  • Easily see how much backup you’ve used on one screen…
  • Offer members phone support, email support, and they have an extensive knowledgebase…

One thing for sure about Mozy is that it’s a VERY simple solution. There’s really very few PC back up systems available that are more straight forward and easy to navigate and use. Many people do like that. I think that most people are truly looking for the easiest solution, and this one is probably that.

But there are also those others who are looking for a little more substance. They want to be able to synch things up, and be a little more techie with it all. Some people like myself like simple, but also like to have those other options available.

Personally I see no reason to switch from Carbonite to Mozy at this point, but I could definitely see myself recommending this service to certain people who I think would appreciate the simplicity of it.

ElephantDrive

This is another company founded in 2005. This company seems to revolve around simplicity. They’re goal is to provide a reliable service, in a huge way (hence the Elephant in the name) and do so for peanuts.

Let’s see how they fare by and see what they offer:

  • ElephantDrive is powered with Amazon Web Services which is very reliable and extremely secure…
  • All data transactions protected via SSL encryption…
  • Sync up to three separate computers at a time…
  • Share certain files fairly simply by generate a link (password protected or public) that you want to give people…
  • Knowledgebase where you can generally get help for your problems on your own…
  • 24 hour email and phone support…

To be honest, there’s really not a lot that’s going to compel me to use ElephantDrive in the future, unless they drastically change. They’re really not easy to use at all, in fact they’re one of the more difficult out there. They may be easy for the more tech savvy people, but even though I’m tech savvy, I don’t need un-needed hassle. Plus their price isn’t reduced at all from Carbonite to be able to justify that switch and the hassle.

They do have synching abilities which is a plus for them, but that’s not enough to compel me to switch at all.

In fact, I probably wouldn’t even recommend these guys to someone else. Just wasn’t impressed in the least bit.

DropBox

This is one of those success stories where the product took off simply because the founders set out to truly solve a problem. Two MIT students who were tired of having to email files and docs to themselves in order to be able to use them somewhere else, decided to make it a solution for everyone.

In 2007 they founded DropBox, and now over 100 million people use their system. They have a very simple and free system for just that cause, but they’ve also gone into providing total PC backup, which does seem like the logical next step. Here’s what drop box gives you:

  • Works within Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry…
  • Works even when you’re offline. You always have access to your files, even when you don’t have an internet connection…
  • Invite friends or family to a folder with simple sharing, just as if you’ve saved the folder to their computers…
  • Create photo galleries viewable by anyone you choose…
  • Available Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry keeps your DropBox available, even when you’re on the go…
  • Edit files from your phone in your DropBox …
  • one-month history of your work stays available…
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and AES-256 bit encryption…
  • Support is through email only…

So this PC backup software isn’t perfect, but it isn’t horrible either. I would say it’s definitely just a mediocre “me too” type of product, even though with the numbers of users they have, they’re at the top of the “me too” list.

This might work out well for them for the time being, but it certainly isn’t going to help them in the long-run with so many other companies coming out with A+ services, such as one that I’ll tackle later called Sugar Synch.

I wouldn’t be extremely excited to recommend it, but I wouldn’t say that someone was making a mistake either if they were to go with this service.

iDrive

One of the names that kept popping up, and that actually sparked my interest to what’s out there is iDrive! This is one of those companies that you MUST check out if you’re on the lookout because frankly you hear about them over and over.

So let’s see what this company offers as features:

  • Backup unlimited PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Android devices into a single account…
  • Backs up modified data in real-time giving you hands-free backup of data…
  • Very safe data with high security SSL protection…
  • Allows you to restore the last 30 versions of all files backed up to your account…
  • Manage multiple accounts from a single account, via the web…
  • Retrieve data from any location…
  • Clean, easy-to-understand interface, with a file manager that displays files and folders similar to the way the Windows OS does…
  • Restoring files takes just a few clicks…
  • Contact support representatives by telephone, email or chat.

I have to say, I do like iDrive. It’s very simple to use, and truly gives me no hassle. I found this software extremely pleasing, very non-threatening, and navigation was a cinch.

One of the things that really makes me like this company is the fact that they have great support with phone, email, and chat available. That makes a lot of the others pale in comparison. Plus the synching capabilities are great. I give this one very high marks and if I were just beginning would have a very hard time finding reasons NOT to go with them. Especially due to the fact that they have synching systems in place whereas Carbonite doesn’t.

However, I don’t see a real reason to switch at this point to go with iDrive. But now that I do know about iDrive, Carbonite had better stay on their best behavior.

SugarSync

Founded in 2008, this company has become a huge hit in the PC backup arena. They’ve grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. They seem to be very technologically advanced. The reviews of this company seem to be overwhelmingly positive, and so it makes me very curious as to whether or not this company will be the ONE that will compel me to switch.

Let’s see what SugarSync has to offer:

  • One of the most remarkably easy to use online storage services online…
  • Synched for any of your computers, through any mobile device, from anywhere that you need to access your files…
  • Incredibly simple to download, install, and configure the software…
  • Simple to backup your files…
  • Very easy to share files across separate computers…
  • Generous free trial capacity of 5GB…
  • Pay $4.99 per month for up to 30GB of storage…
  • Safe and encrypted data transfer…
  • Syncing between computers and applications made extremely easy…
  • Your files are constantly updated as you go so you ALWAYS up to date…
  • Holds the last 5 versions of each document…
  • Very active community discussion forum to ask questions when you need help…
  • Knowledgebase with videos and articles…
  • Customer support consists of email and online chat…

Well, I think so far I’ve found the one PC back up that I would actually consider switching to. Sugar synch seems to be very refreshingly easy to use. I also like the fact that they back everything up right away, as soon as you hit save. That’s amazing.

As well the synching features are amazing. I did the trial and it’s so easy to use this system from ANYWHERE you’re at, and you know that what you’re doing is secure and encrypted. The price is excellent. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m switching over soon. But it’s still a tough switch because I do like Carbonite.

There IS More to PC Backup Than Carbonite

So there you have it. It happens far too often, where you’ll go with the very first or most popular choice of a product or service before testing any others out. Sometimes you’re proud of your instinct, while other times you’re disappointed in yourself for not being more thorough sooner.

After looking at the various other choices, for the most part Carbonite has proven to stand up. Only a couple caused me to turn my head, while SugarSync truly made me rethink my decision and very likely will cause me to switch.

One Response to “7 Carbonite Alternatives – An Online Backup Pre-Purchase Guide”

  1. T Michael Rearic April 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Thank for the information. I’ve been looking around for a back-up plan and you appear to have done most of the work for me,

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