CrashPlan is extremely flexible. You can back up to a computer you own, to a drive on or attached to your computer, to a friend's computer, to CrashPlan Central, or to any combination of these destinations.
Here are some things to keep in mind about onsite and offsite destinations.
CrashPlan is designed as a data redundancy service. To ensure the safety and integrity of your data, you always want to have your data on the source machine as well as on the destination. Having multiple destinations is a good idea as well.
|When...||Use this option||Advantages||Considerations|
|You do not own another computer you can back up to or you don't know anybody willing to be a backup destination||Back up to CrashPlan Central||Requires no permission to be granted and offers offsite protection for a small fee. Your data is stored in a super-secure datacenter that is impervious to all manner of disaster and mayhem.||If you have lots and lots of files to back up, backing up to CrashPlan Central could take a long time. Restoring an entire archive could take a similarly long time.|
|You want to back up your laptop to your desktop||Back up to another computer that you own||Because this is a computer you can access at any time, you won't have to wake up anybody in the middle of the night when you accidentally delete that presentation you've been working on all night. And you won't need to send an invitation or get permission to use that computer as a back up destination.||If both computers are in the same location, your backup is vulnerable to disasters that affect the whole building. For example, you're protected in the event of a hardware failure, but not fire that damages your entire home.|
|Your college student wants to back up her laptop to the family's desktop computer back home||Allow someone to back up to you||You can be a destination for someone else.||You'll need to have your desktop computer available in the event of a disaster and your student needs to restore her files. Because backing up and restoring takes place over the Internet, the initial backup and a complete restore could take many, many hours.|
|You want to back up to an offsite location and are willing to let others back up to you||Back up to friends and neighbors||By backing up offsite, you can protect yourself in the event of disasters that might affect your home like theft or fire. If you are able to back up to friends who are very far away, you are further protected against disasters that might affect the entire region like hurricanes, floods and wild fires.||You'll need to have your desktop computer available when someone needs to restore files. Because backing up and restoring takes place over the Internet, the initial backup and a complete restore could take many, many hours.|
|You want to backup to an external hard drive||Back up to an attached drive or shared folder||Backing up to an attached drive is a really fast way to get a lot of data ready to go offsite onto a remote PC.||Your hard drive could get lost, stolen or damaged.|
An ideal solution is to have three places to access your data:
This way, no matter what the circumstance, you will always have redundancy when one backup is inaccessible or a setting that affects what's stored in the backup gets changed. CrashPlan is designed to allow you to back up to multiple destinations, so while you have your data stored safely on CrashPlan Central, you can also have a copy of it sitting on your desk in an external drive.
Backing up to a friend or family member's computer is easy. Your archive is encrypted, meaning no one but you can see your data, and your data is completely safe and sound at a trusted destination. You are also able to fine-tune what data is going to which backup, so if you have information you only want stored in one location, or a couple files you only need backed up once a week instead of continuously, you can tailor CrashPlan's settings to your needs.