Mozy Review: Online Cloud Backup
|Great low-cost online backup with exclusive discount; can back up external drives|
[Editor's Note: Mozy is offering NextAdvisor visitors an exclusive discount of 15% off with promo code: NEXT. This discount is applied on top of Mozy's annual-plan promotions. Refer to the table below to see how the savings add up.]
Mozy is a leading online backup service that really gets a number of things right. Mozy may not be a common name to most, but its parent company EMC is a giant in the information infrastructure industry. Mozy has just released version 2.0 of its online backup client for the PC. We've always preferred Mozy's client to that of its chief rival, Carbonite, so we wondered what they could possibly improve upon. The chief improvements seem to be in the setup of the client. Mozy has decided to no longer bury the setup of the encryption key, so those choosing that route will have an easier time setting it up. Email has also been added to the default backup sets. Perhaps best of all, the client now supports local backups as well. If you like to keep your files simultaneously backed up online and on an external drive, the Mozy client can handle that.
Mozy's 50GB storage plan starts at $5.10 per month (after discount) for backup of a single PC. An annual plan is $56.01, or just about $4.67 per month. A two-year plan will save you even more. If you want 125 GB of storage, it'll run you $8.50 per month, $93.41 for 1 year, or $178.33 for two years. As a bonus, you can back up 3 PCs, making it a much better value than the 50GB plan. Additional 20GB of storage can be added for $2.00, as can the ability to back up additional computers. Note that with the 50 GB plan, you can pay the $2.00 to add up to 4 additional computers; with the 125 GB plan this fee can be used for up to 2 more computers, in addition to the 3 already included in the plan.
Mozy, like other online backup services, is designed to run transparently in the background. Set it up initially and you won't really have to touch it again, unless your hard drive crashes or you want to take advantage of some of its more advanced features. Last time, we complained that Mozy's backup set wasn't as comprehensive as Carbonite's. For instance, it did not include a default backup set for mail. Mozy has since added this, though we still had to manually locate our mail in Vista. Mozy is very configurable, and advanced users will probably want to adjust a number of settings in there to suit their needs (we might suggest setting it up for more frequent backups).
Your initial backup will take time. In fact, if you have a large hard drive you'll need to keep your computer on and Internet-connected for a day or more. After that, backups are quick, backing up only recently created or changed files. Mozy also handles the backup of any external drives that are connected to the machine, something which Carbonite does not do.
The main purpose of online backup is to keep your data secure in the event of catastrophic hard drive failure. But there are other, more regular uses for it as well. You can recover individual files that become corrupted or are accidentally deleted (deleted files stay on Mozy's servers for 30 days). You also have the ability to roll-back a file to a different version, say one you created a few days ago. This is enormously helpful if you make an unalterable change to an important document. To us, this seems to be the best unsung feature of online backup. And Mozy makes it easy. Mozy also has a new feature called "Data Shuttle" where Mozy sends a hard drive to the customer, he or she uploads a copy of their data onto the hard drive and the data is encrypted, shipped back to Mozy, and directly placed on the Mozy servers. Though pricey, this may be a nice option for users with huge amounts of data.
Mozy offers a number of methods for file restoration. It works best with the freely downloadable Mozy client. Another option, for those who've had a truly catastrophic crash is to have Mozy send you DVDs (the process takes a few days and is not free). You can also access your files via Mozy.com, a perfect solution when you need to grab a file on the go. Previously we'd complained that Mozy's web-interface was clunky, and file access required a cumbersome request system. We're happy to report that this is no longer the case. Just navigate to the file you want and click "download." The file will be on your computer in no time.
In regard to HIPAA compliance: Online backup services cannot legally state that they are officially HIPAA compliant. However, Mozy contains all of the security features to protect data that is transmitted to and from its servers. Mozy follows strict guidelines to meet factors that go into HIPAA compliance. If you want to know what HIPAA is, please visit our FAQ page.
Mozy's best feature is its syncing application, Stash. Because Stash is still in beta stages, it will not be automatically installed when you download Mozy. To install Stash, log into your Mozy web account, click "Stash Beta" and select the join button. From there you can choose whether you are installing Stash onto your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android. The nice thing is that even if you back up only one of your computers, you can still install Stash onto all of your devices for quick syncing and easy file access.
Very similar to DropBox, you can just drag and drop files and folders into the Stash folder and they will automatically be available on all of your computers that have Stash installed and on the web. Installation is easy with the PC version of Stash, and you will see the icon in the menu bar in the bottom right-hand corner.
Mozy has continued to improve upon its backup client, and the changes make a great product even better. The work it's been doing on its remote file access is also praiseworthy. How does it come out in a contest vs Carbonite? Mozy's storage caps may seem like a disadvantage, but the 50 GB should be enough for most users. Plus, while Mozy does limit you on the total backup amount, they don't limit you on total amount of data you send every month the way that Carbonite does.
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