Secure cloud backup : Review

Following on from ourEnterprise sync and sharefeature where we looked at how cloud services could act as shared storage to help productivity, the other side of the cloud coin is using this vast networked storage for secure backup, storing not just company data from servers or images of servers themselves in the event of a failure, but all data for all employeesmdash;across-devices, accessible anywhere, and most importantly of all, encrypted.

As with everything else however, you only get what you pay for. Some vendors focus primarily on secure backup services, while others will tie this in with sync and share capabilities. Others may offer a hybrid local/cloud solution to provide the best of both worlds: fast, secure, under your control local storage paired with often unlimited cloud storage accessible anytime from anywhere. It certainly sounds ideal, though hybrid solutions usually cost a little more (especially if they#39;re managed solutions from the vendor).

Of course, as with anything cloudmdash;but especially when it comes to backups where large volumes of data may be involvedmdash;the width of your pipe and limits on your service plan should be considered, especially if you#39;re a small business. And there are, as you might expect, a large number of players in this market. More so than some of the other round-ups we#39;ve covered here on CSO.

To help you narrow down your options, here#39;s our take on some of the more popular and well-known services, as well as some you may not have heard of. Use these as a springboardmdash;again, there are plenty of other options out theremdash;for your own research, and if you#39;re not currently using a cloud backup service you may find reason to once you#39;ve seen what#39;s on offer.

  1. Summary page
  2. Backblaze
  3. Druva
  4. Rackspace
  5. Carbonite
  6. Crashplan
  7. Mozy
  8. Cloudberry
  9. Zoolz

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Backblaze www.backblaze.com

Backblaze has made a name for itself in cloud backup, with its custom-built StoragePod rack servers and being one of the first vendors to offer to FedEx you a hard drive of your data in the event of a failure where time is of the essence (and bandwidth a scarcity).

Backblaze makes it easy to choose what data to backup by providing unlimited storage space, file size, and bandwidth to its serversmdash;meaning, just backup anything and everything (and the desktop client can do this for you).

In terms of security datamdash;as with all of the products we#39;ll cover heremdash;data is encrypted before uploading, transfers with an encrypted connection, and remains encrypted at rest. This can be done with a generated key that Backblaze stores in the event you forget (or otherwise lose) the key, or via a private encryption key: the ultimate, as no onemdash;not Backblaze or questionable governments departments wielding signed papersmdash;will be able to read or recover that data. Indeed, if you lose the key, then it#39;s gone for good.

To streamline enterprise backup and security, Backblaze provides the ability for IT to access data on employee backups by encrypting multiple copies of a company-wide encryption key with a password (one for employee, one for IT, for example). Other enterprise features include a geo-location #39;locate computer#39; option in the event a mobile device like a laptop is lost or stolen, which can even monitor which files are being copied off in the event of a theft; an administration interface for easy user and device management along with scheduling; and a mobile client for iOS and Android to provide access to view, download or share files stored on the Backblaze cloud.

Pricing is simple for business at $50 per PC (Windows or Mac) per year, which includes no limit on the size of backups as well as providing backup for data from any attached devices (external USB hard drive, for example) an employee may use.

  1. Summary page
  2. Druva
  3. Rackspace
  4. Carbonite
  5. Crashplan
  6. Mozy
  7. Cloudberry
  8. Zoolz

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Druva www.druva.com

Druva provides two core products to help businesses protect their data. For endpoints and employees there#39;s InSync, comprising Endpoint Backup along with a range of optional modules: these include Data Loss Prevention, which manages mobile and BYOD endpoints with features such as encryption, geo-location, and remote-wipe; Data Governance, which provides for comprehensive tracking and reporting of all data on managed devices and associated user activity for compliance and eDiscovery requirements; and Secure File Sharing, allowing users to securely share files and data with other employees and external parties with abilities such as tracking, passwords and expiry dates.

The central Endpoint Backup itself leverages data de-duplication to save time, storage and bandwidth while providing continuous backup across desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Windows, MacOS X and Linux are all supported, too.

While InSync looks after employee data and endpoints, Phoenix is your server#39;s best friend. A service specifically designed to backup and restore server data, it#39;s not too dissimilar to InSync, but caters to servers with a server-centric administration console, faster rates for backup and restore, and the storing of multiple snapshots to allow restoration from different points in time.

Beyond Druva#39;s own cloud, InSync can also be deployed on a private cloud or locally on-premise. Alternatively, or in addition to, an optional module called CloudCache provides for a local cache of the most recent snapshot backups in order to take advantage of local network speeds, acting as an intermediary step to the cloud and its larger volume but bandwidth limited storage.

Finally, as you would expect on a product of this class, all data is encrypted in transit and at rest using a private encryption key for an organisation. In terms of pricing there are three core plans (Business, Enterprise and Elite) with various tiers of features and cost, as well as the on-premise Private Cloud solution. By default 50G of storage per user is included, though an unlimited storage option is also available.

  1. Summary page
  2. Backblaze
  3. Rackspace
  4. Carbonite
  5. Crashplan
  6. Mozy
  7. Cloudberry
  8. Zoolz

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Rackspace www.rackspace.com

Rackspace is another well-known name in the business, and its products cover a range of services from managed cloud databases to e-commerce and website hosting. For secure backup services Rackspace provides Cloud Backup and the ancillary Cloud Files. These are two separate services with the latter being Rackspace#39;s solution for public and private file-sharing as well as content delivery for web services. However, Cloud Backup uses Cloud Files to store its data so the two are interlinked, taking advantage of Cloud Files#39; redundancy and speed given its distribution of data stored in multiple locations around the world.

They are also bothmdash;along with Rackspace#39;s other servicesmdash;all driven under the hood using the OpenStack framework. As the name implies, OpenStack is an open-sourced cloud platform solution, designed in part by Rackspace and a collaboration with NASA. Which is quite the heritage, not that you#39;d notice the difference (unless it didn#39;t meet your performance and reliability expectations!). More information on OpenStack can be found at www.openstack.org.

For Cloud Backup the service provides unlimited backups and no limits on file size, all encrypted with a private key. Data is compressed and de-duplicated before uploading to reduce bandwidth costs and storage volumes.

Backup and restoring can be managed through an online control panel or through client applications, for which Rackspace provides a market of third-party tools (or write your own through its API). This may be a selling point if you#39;re after more flexibility (a number of third-party apps are on offer) or control (programming your own client to meet your company#39;s specific needs).

Much like Druva#39;s solution and some of the other products we looked at here, Cloud Backup can optionally be installed on local hardware, saving the cost of paying for Cloud Backup on Rackspace#39;s cloud and instead paying only for storage costs of data through Cloud Files that Cloud Backup leverages.

Pricing is dependent on server level but starts at $10 a month per server for Cloud Backup, unless installed locally, while Cloud Files uses a tiered structure (that gets cheaper the more you store) starting at 10c per gigabyte per month.

  1. Summary page
  2. Backblaze
  3. Druva
  4. Carbonite
  5. Crashplan
  6. Mozy
  7. Cloudberry
  8. Zoolz

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Carbonite www.carbonite.com

Carbonite#39;s offering is broken down into Pro and Server packages, in addition to an Appliance setup but more on that in a moment. The Pro package is designed for end-user backup and there is no limit on the number of users or devices. Instead, plans (both Pro and Server) are limited by a total storage volume.

Encryption is enforced through a Carbonite set key or optional private key, while a browser-based Admin Dashboard provides for account and user management as well as monitoring the status of device backups across the organisation. In the event of requiring an urgent backup, Carbonite provides a courier recovery service to ship a hard drive to you at cost.

File versioning is supported (up to three months) and unlike some other services we#39;ve looked at here, file sync and share capability is included in the Pro packages (provided as a separate client download).

Carbonite tries to keep things simple by providing unlimited devices and pricing only by storage space. The Pro plans start at $270 per year for the Basic package that includes 250GB upgrading to the Prime plan for 500GB at $600. The Server plans similarly start at $800 for Basic and 250GB of storage which can be upgraded to $900 a year for 500GB. There#39;s a third tier which crosses both categories called the Server Pro bundle which is everything and the kitchen sink for $1000 a year. Extra storage can be purchased in 100GB blocks.

Alternatively, Carbonite also offers an appliance solution that consists of an on-site server that provides local backup storage for speed extending to data stored in Carbonite#39;s cloud. This is $1200 a year and requires working with a third party to provide the hardware (and all are based in the US).

Carbonite#39;s software supports Windows and MacOS X for desktop and server, and apps are available for iOS and Android accessing and sharing files.

  1. Summary page
  2. Backblaze
  3. Druva
  4. Rackspace
  5. Crashplan
  6. Mozy
  7. Cloudberry
  8. Zoolz

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Crashplan
www.code42.com/crashplan

With names like Adobe and Uber counted among its clients, the aptly-named Crashplan promises to be your data recovery saviour in the event ofmdash;wellmdash;a crash (or more likely, a catastrophe).

While heavily marketed to the consumer, Crashplan also provides enterprise services and gives businesses the option of using Crashplan#39;s cloud or managed on-site private cloud services installed on local hardware. In all cases Crashplan can backup data from Windows, MacOS X, and Linux clients with unlimited data storage (well, there may be a limit for your private cloud), along with no limits of file size and, impressively, versioningmdash;meaning you can wind back to previous versions of a file indefinitely (well, to its original first state backup).

It also employs a smart backup service where the most recently changed files are backed up first, in addition to data de-duplication and compression. For restoring, users can restore to any supported device which includes the aforementioned Windows, MacOS X, and Linux platforms as well as Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The mobile client also supports geo-location and remote-wipe functionality.

Security is supported by private key encryption as well as the option for encrypted key databases to be stored on premises as part of a managed private cloud or private cloud installation, while a centralised administration console provides a comprehensive overview of all connected devices and status of backup retention as well as being able to set granular access and policy control. Like some of the other products covered here, in order to reduce bandwidth costs for initial backups, Crashplan can send you a hard drive to fill and send back and act as a #39;Seed#39; for the backup.

Finally, although there#39;s clients for all the major platforms and mobile operating systems, there#39;s the option of creating your own programs to interface with Crashplan via the company#39;s EDGE API platform.

With a private cloud installation pricing starts at $5 per user per month, or using Crashplan#39;s cloud comes in at $10 per device per month. The core product can be extended with the company#39;s file sync and share service, appropriately named Shareplan, for $10 per user per month.

  1. Summary page
  2. Backblaze
  3. Druva
  4. Rackspace
  5. Carbonite
  6. Mozy
  7. Cloudberry
  8. Zoolz

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Mozy
www.mozy.com

Mozy is another well-known vendor with a range of packages for home and enterprise use. The two core packages on offer for business are Mozy Pro and Mozy Enterprise, which are identical in the level of services they provide for backup and restore but the Enterprise package comes with greater granularity for control -- such as setting up sub-administrators from within company groups, or the option for a company-wide shared private encryption key.

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