This post brought to you by Carbonite. All opinions are 100% mine.
Any Star Wars fan can vividly remember the scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo is “frozen in carbonite” for his delivery to Jabba the Hutt.
The mythical substance is also the namesake of an innovative online backup service that stores the important contents of your computer in the event that it is lost, stolen, or damaged.
How Carbonite Works
Users start by downloading an application that scans the irreplaceable files on your computer. Those files are then sent over the Internet to the servers hosted by Carbonite. As you continue to create, receive, and modify files, Carbonite will continuously update them in the background.
In the event that information becomes irretrievable from your computer, you can restore your irreplaceable files from their backup. In fact, you don’t even have to wait for disaster to strike, your files can be retrieved from any computer whenever you need to access them remotely.
- File Types Backed Up. The goal of this service is to only back up irreplaceable files like photos, documents, and music. For example, your operating system, programs, and files in excess of 4GB will not be backed up.
- Compatibility. This service is compatible with both PCs and Macs, and files can be accessed from Internet-enabled mobile devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, and Blackberry.
- Cost. This service costs $59 per year and there is a trial period of 15 days with no credit card required.
- Promotional Offer. Two additional free months of service are available to customers who use the offer code: BLOGAD.
- Simple, Secure Back Ups. Aside from signing up and paying for the service, you literally don’t need to do anything to back up your files, other than connecting to the Internet. In other words, you don’t need to purchase any hardware or remember to perform backups yourself. Moreover, the files are stored safely and securely and you need not worry about hard copies being lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Remote Access. More than just emergency backup, the Carbonite service is also a remote storage system that allows you access to your files from your office or during a vacation on the other side of the world via your computer or mobile phone.
- Low Cost. The price of this service works out to less $5 a month, a bargain when you consider the value of your data and the time you free up from not having to perform backups manually.
- No Hassle Trial. Many companies love to offer a “free trial,” which is really a paid subscription that you have to remember to cancel. Carbonite’s free 15 day trial period is different because you don’t have to provide your credit card information. In other words, it’s truly free.
- Not a Complete Restore Service. Since the goal of Carbonite is to provide users with a backup of “irreplaceable” files, it does not offer a complete restore service. If your computer gets lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll have to re-install the operating system and all programs on your own before restoring irreplaceable files via Carbonite.
- No System Is Perfect. Carbonite, or any other company for that matter, may legitimately take all possible security measures, but that doesn’t mean that nothing can go wrong. In 2009, for example, Carbonite sued two companies for providing them with defective equipment that resulted in the loss of 7,500 customer files.
- Service Can Be Blocked. Many corporations and government agencies prohibit the access of file storage services like Carbonite. Attempting to access them from your office can result in a notification of these entities and a denial of access.
- Internet Access Required. People who work in remote areas or lack regular access to the Internet are unable to use this service to its full potential.
Carbonite offers an especially valuable service for those who prefer not to take the time to back up files manually or don’t have a secure place in which to store those backups. But even if you’ve religiously backed up your own files in the past, it may be worth complementing your system with one, like Carbonite, that makes use of virtual storage.
This also provides the distinct advantage of making your files available via multiple Internet-enabled devices almost anywhere you go. By combining a full featured computer backup and storage service at a reasonable price, Carbonite has become a leader in this emerging field and is poised to remain one for many years to come.
Have you ever used Carbonite or one of its competitors to back up your computer? What was your experience like?