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Carbonite is a simple to use online backup service mainly aimed at home users, but with business accounts available too. It is extremely simple to set up and within minutes you can have anything on your hard drive backed up to the cloud. While it could do with some extra business-related features to really attract big business clients we think it will be great for home users or very small businesses.
To use the service you must install the small client application Carbonite provides for download on its website. It is currently available for Windows and Mac, but works slightly differently on each platform. On both though, it is a well designed piece of software that integrates with your operating system without getting in the way or slowing it down. Once you have set it up it will automatically backup new or changed files when your computer is free - the intelligence built in will make sure it doesn't try to do a huge backup while you are trying to surf the web. It also makes it easy to see the backup status of each of your folders due to the coloured dots which will appear on marked-for-backup files in your operating system's file explorer. This is a great way of making sure you have backed up your important files at a glance.
Although it is mainly a backup service and sticks to its main function very well, Carbonite also lets you get access to your files through an easy to use web interface or via one of the mobile apps it offers for all the major platforms. This makes it easy to get access to important documents from wherever you are. Businesses with employees out in the field will no doubt appreciate this feature as it means they can instantly pick up changes to documents made by colleagues in the office. However, it's also great for home users who perhaps want to have access to photos or videos to show friends or family.
If the worst happens and you do lose all the data from your hard drive, Carbonite makes it very simple to restore everything you backed up to the cloud. Simply install the recovery software once your computer is back up and running and within a few clicks all of your important files will be restored.
Whether it's a home or business package you are after Carbonite's pricing structure is very simple and doesn't try to confuse you into buying something you don't need. There is only one choice of home package and this gets you unlimited space for your backups and access to all the features of the service for a very reasonable annual fee. Although the space is unlimited it is stated clearly that once you hit 200 GB your file transfers will be slowed down somewhat. However, 200 GB should be more than enough for most people. Business users have a couple of different options to start with, but have to pay extra for any extra space required over and above the initial allocation.
We think Carbonite is an excellent choice of backup service for home users or small businesses with some employees that travel a lot. The simple and unobtrusive nature of the service means you don't have to think about remembering to back up your important files, which is ideal for the casual user. Carbonite does lack some of the multi-user and collaboration features seen in some other services, but if you want a cheap, reliable and secure home backup service it's definitely worth a look.
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