I am in the market for an online data backup solution. I started to do some research and the consensus out there is that Mozy and Carbonite are the top two dog. Both offer “unlimited” storage for a low monthly fee, about $5 a month. But as I dug deeper I realized that “unlimited” is a loose term with gotcha’s attached that really is not “unlimited”.
I don’t plan to do a feature by feature comparison of each service, they are pretty much the same. Instead I will focus on my big gripes on why each of these services are not exactly what they claim they are.
Carbonite claims unlimited storage, but as a user it is not unlimited. Someone from Carbonite might read this and say that they do no limit storage on their end. I am not saying they don’t, but their backup restrictions at your PC do not allow you to backup all your files, hence, you cannot push the unlimited to the level you need.
Carbonite only allows you to backup files that are on internal, local hard drives in your PC. They do not allow the option to backup from USB drives. So that means if you have a laptop with a 100GB hard drive and a 500GB hard drive where all your photos and videos are stored, you have to move them to the laptop to back up. Why you got the USB drive is you didnt have the space to keep everything. Carbonite won’t let you backup the USB, so this is what I mean when they claim unlimited, but their restrictions do not allow you are a user to do just that. This is mis-leading, stupid, and a deal breaker for every considering their service.
I am not going to go into the other little things I found with them, they are tiny and I can deal with them compared to their backup options. That alone can never be accepted.
Carbonite – Do not recommend if you have anything on a USB drive.
So I checked out Mozy as well. But after I looked at them deeper, I found them to be acceptable, but they have a serious flaw that is making me second guess going all in with them.
Unlike Carbonite, Mozy allows backups from local and USB drives. This is a selling point.
There was nothing in their features that I found that was a deal breaker. However, their backup rules are a little un-nerving. Let me explain.
Mozy is a backup service with unlimited storage. This is accurate to the term of backup. BUT, Mozy lives by the split between Backup and Archive. Mozy is NOT an archive solution. Mozy only backups live files on your PC and drives. If you disconnect a USB drive from your PC, Mozy will see that, and treat all the USB files as deleted and mark them to delete from the storage. Then you have 30 days before the files are deleted for good.
What does this mean for a user?
This means that anything you backup MUST be connected to the PC at all times. The more I think about this, the more I scratch my head that Mozy can claim themselves as an unlimited backup service. Because it’s really isn’t. When you make a backup, you put the backup in a safe place for later retrieval if needed. If you have a USB HD that fills up, you will need to get another $100+ USB drive otherwise Mozy will delete the files you delete to make more room.
So, it’s not really a backup, it’s more of a data mirror.
The other contender was Dropbox, but I ruled them out quickly because of their paid 100GB limit and high monthly rate for low storage.
Wrap Up – So, after looking into the services and trying to match what I need as a user with 100s of GB of photos, videos, projects, music, I cannot recommend Mozy or Carbonite as a backup solution. Because they are not true backup services and are not true unlimited solutions. One confines your options for backups for size, both are more like data mirrors than backups in the true sense.
But I suppose if you offer “unlimited” storage for $5 a month, you need to create sneaky and not easily seen practices to reduce how much “unlimited” really means. Carbonite is the worst at this by the local HD only restriction, which is in their T&Cs tucked away. Most wont see it until after their software is installed.
I’ll keep looking for an archive solution or just get a 2TB drive and a safety deposit box.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.