IT Pro Verdict
Long upload times
Only one device
No additional features
When it comes to cloud backup, it doesn’t get much easier than Backblaze. There are only three buttons, and you needn’t touch any of them: it comes configured to scan your system for personal files, no matter where they’re located on your network, and automatically upload them to Backblaze’s servers. Continual updates occur whenever you make a change or create a new document. For most people, that’s ample protection with zero configuration.
Of course, if you want to get your hands dirty, there are a few things you can customise. Specific file types, locations and drives can be included and excluded – you’re even able to back up external drives – and you can optionally switch from continuous operation to daily or on-demand backups. And if you don’t trust the automatic encryption, you can also set your own encryption key.
For the most part, though, you shouldn’t need to interact with Backblaze until it’s time to restore a backed-up item. Even then, the client stays in the background because your uploaded files are browsed and downloaded from the publisher’s website. Here you can also rescue lost or overwritten files from the past 30 days, and if one of your computers is stolen, you can bring up a map showing where it was when the Backblaze software last touched base.
On that note, be aware that your subscription only entitles you to back up a single PC or Mac. That’s a necessary restriction: each account comes with unlimited storage to ensure that even the biggest files get protected. And remember that if you work with big video files or the like, they will inevitably take a while to reach Backblaze’s servers. Our 2GB folder took 49mins 35secs to upload. That’s a step up from some of the most sluggish options we’ve seen, but it’s still a drag if you want to back up your day’s work before leaving the office.
The final thing to be clear about is that Backblaze is very much a single-purpose tool: it doesn’t handle local backups at all, nor can it create an image of your hard disk for disaster-recovery purposes. That means it’s only one component in a backup strategy, rather than a complete solution – but as cloud components go, it’s terrifically convenient and effective.
Darien began his IT career in the 1990s as a systems engineer, later becoming an IT project manager. His formative experiences included upgrading a major multinational from token-ring networking to Ethernet, and migrating a travelling sales force from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.
He subsequently spent some years acting as a one-man IT department for a small publishing company, before moving into journalism himself. He is now a regular contributor to IT Pro, specialising in networking and security, and serves as associate editor of PC Pro magazine with particular responsibility for business reviews and features.