On the positive side, Backblaze has an unusual security system that uses a 2,048-bit RSA Public/Private encryption key to secure a 128-bit key that encrypts the actual files. It's the most airtight security of the five applications reviewed here.
Other nice features include an upload speedometer that shows how fast data moved during the last backup and a tool that helps you find a lost or stolen computer by notifying the user of its location if it is logged on to the Internet (although Backblaze can't disable the computer remotely).
In tests using Backblaze's default settings, the service's archived 978MB of data in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 32 seconds. (Note: Because each application's default settings differed, the amount of data each archived at this point differed widely.)
At a Glance
Price: $50/year, $95/two years, $5/month
Works with: Windows, Mac OS X
Pros: Unlimited storage space; can help locate lost or stolen notebook; relatively inexpensive; will send DVDs or hard drive backups; fast restorations
Cons: Can't back up entire system; no smartphone apps; can't share files online
A 25MB incremental backup took 4 minutes and 31 seconds, roughly halfway between CrashPlan's 1 minute and 3 seconds and Norton's 7 minutes and 23 seconds.
Searching for a lost file took Backblaze 2.1 seconds, about the same time as the others. I was able to resurrect the file in a quick 25.3 seconds, the fastest of the bunch.
Rather than restoring files online, Backblaze will send a hard drive or a set of DVDs containing your backups for $189 or $99. This goes beyond Carbonite's Home Premium offer to send you a data-filled hard drive.
Backblaze has a two-week free trial. The service costs a reasonable $50 a year for unlimited storage, but extra computers cost $5 each to back up, something that Norton doesn't charge for. Backblaze offers client software for PCs and Macs, but not Linux computers, and unlike the others, the service doesn't have any companion smartphone apps.
All told, Backblaze can prevent a data disaster by protecting your most precious digital possessions, but it too severely limits what can be backed up.
Carbonite's fifth-generation backup software was released last November, yet it lacks some of the key features that its competitors provide.