Earlier this month, online backup service Carbonite launched Carbonite Pro, which is an SMB-specific version of its online data backup service. The new offering allows businesses to perform cloud-based back-up of data, but without any per-PC fees. For a monthly fee, businesses purchase storage capacity based on their requirements, which can be shared among as many users or workstations as desired.
As you can expect, Carbonite Pro also includes administrative tools, priority support - everything that a branch office or an SMB office will want to have. As a bonus, the Pro version will also be compatible with external drives. Pricing ranges from $10 for 20GB to $100 for up to 199GB of space; full information on the prices can be obtained here.
While a consumer-centric version of a service or product and that of a smaller business is often quite similar, differences do exist. For one, services catered toward the consumer typically do not scale well, and come with non-existent or inferior support. On the other hand, services for SMBs normally include phone support, and - more importantly -an administrative interface suited for management by a system administrator or office manager.
In Carbonite Pro, for example, it is possible for an administrator to add new users, as well as view the storage utilization for the company from a single interface. In addition, alerts from computers are collated in a central location and highlighted for remedial action or investigation.
Of course, Carbonite isn't the first online backup service to cater to SMBs. Recognizing the need to cater to small and medium-sized businesses, another online backup service called SugarSync launched a version called SugarSync for Business in November last year. Similar to Carbonite Pro, SugarSync for Business has a centralized dashboard for administrative controls, as well as free phone support.
To give an idea of how a control panel is advantageous, SugarSync recommends under its FAQ that administrators "disable" the accounts of users who leave the company. This essentially creates an in situ copy of the ex-employee that can be subsequently archived or deleted.
It is clear that SMBs are moving toward online backup services as an alternative to tape or other traditional models of on-site backup. As it is, online backup services are launching SMB-specific versions in reaction to changing business needs.
My point here is this: Be willing to consider using an online backup service if you are shopping for a new backup solution for your SMB.