At a Glance
- Slick; convenient; flexible pricing
This online backup solution, geared towards small-to-medium businesses, boasts a snazzy management console.
I’ve been using CrashPlan’s consumer offering
for some time now, and have been very happy with it. So when I
heard about their Pro version aimed at small-to-medium businesses
(up to 200 workstations), I was naturally intrigued.
Much like the consumer version, CrashPlan Pro works by
installing a desktop client, which uploads your files onto an
online server for safe-keeping in the cloud. It’s not exactly the
same, though: Whereas CrashPlan’s consumer version allows you to
back up to a friend’s house, this option is disabled in Pro. You
obviously would not want your company’s information backed up on
computers belonging to the buddies of your employees, even if it is
By default, The CrashPlan Pro client backs up Windows’ current
user folder (i.e, C:UsersUSERNAME). It doesn’t railroad the user,
though: Each user can configure their own backup sources and choose
which files and folders they’d like to include in their backup
As an administrator, you probably wouldn’t appreciate having to
go to each user’s workstation and configure their backup sources
and setup. Fortunately, you don’t have to. CrashPlan Pro provides
an elegant Web-based dashboard, with a Mac-like aesthetic and easy
Using this management console, you can drill down to each
computer with a CrashPlan client in your computer and remotely
select which folders to back up and how much network and CPU
resources to use. The management console is clever enough to let
you browse the file-system tree of the computer you’re configuring,
so you can simply explore the hard drive and select what to back up
just as though you were sitting at the computer itself.
If you’re concerned about users modifying your
carefully-selected options, you can password-protect the CrashPlan
client so they would need to know their own account password (which
you can set) to make any changes using their desktop client.
CrashPlan PRO’s console isn’t just for configuring your users
and computers, though: Once you’re done with the initial
configuration, you can keep using the console to monitor your
organization’s health. You can see at a glance how many computers
are online, what’s the total data set size (how much data your
organization backed up in aggregate), how many users are online,
One interesting gimmick is geolocation: If you have users
roaming about with laptops, you can use CrashPlan PRO’s online
dashboard to see their locations on a map. This is done according
to the computer’s current IP address, so it’s far from accurate,
but should at least give you an idea if a computer is still in the
state or country it’s supposed to be in.
The last thing I want to mention is pricing: Rather than go with
a “one size fits all” philosophy, CrashPlan PRO offers numerous
plans to fit anywhere from 3 to 200 computers. Users can elect
whether they wish to pay for each seat (and get unlimited data), or
pay for each GB (and get unlimited seats).
CrashPlan PRO is simple and efficient. If I had my own small
business, it would be my backup solution of choice.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software. This
product is available in various plans. The price given here is for
one month of a one-seat, unlimited-data license.