According to recent research, a quarter of small businesses (up to 20 employees) based in the UK never back up their PCs, leaving them completely exposed in the event of a hard drive failure, fire, theft or accidental deletion. A further 22% backup only once per month or less. In total, almost two thirds of UK small businesses fail to systematically back up their PCs—shocking!

Information is critical to the daily operation of your business, so making a backup is also critical. Think about your customer information, supplier details, debtors and creditors, sales leads, etc., stored on your hard drive, and then imagine that one morning you can no longer find them. Data is fundamental to the operation of your business and should be valued as an important asset. If your business is not backing up its data on a daily basis, you should start doing it today.

What is it and who is it for?

MozyPro offers automated, managed multi-user online backup for small businesses through a pay-as-you-go model with no set-up costs. MozyPro is ideally suited to offices where no offsite backup solution exists, as it can help ensure critical business information is stored in a safe second location should a flood, fire or other disaster impact the original location.

The critical differences between MozyHome and MozyPro (reviewed here) is the latter’s support for Windows and Mac servers. In addition to backing up SQL and Exchange data, MozyPro also backs up data from networked drives (including Flash drives), and adds e-mail alerts and a reporting dashboard. Operating systems supported by MozyPro include Windows 7, Server 2008, Vista, XP, 2003 & 2000 (desktop and server), as well as Macintosh OS X 10.6, 10.5 and 10.4 (desktop and server). Sadly, Linux users are out of luck.

Pricing & setup

In order to use MozyPro, users must buy a license for each computer that will be backed up. Storage space is purchased separately from licenses. Costs are competitive and start at £3.99 (per computer, per month, plus 50p per GB), while server licences cost £6.99 (per month, plus 50p per GB). No matter how many files users back up with Mozy, the price for a personal subscription remains the same.

Extra storage space can be purchased at any time in gigabyte chunks, and can be distributed amongst machines of the same license type (e.g. desktop gigabytes can be used on any desktop, but not on a server). Mozy also conveniently allows users to choose the billing cycle that best suits their business—monthly, annually, or biennially. And best of all, if a user chooses to pay annually, one month is free; if a user chooses to pay biennially, three months are free.

After a really quick sign-up process that requires e-mail verification, the user then needs to download and install the client application. MozyPro then scans the hard drive to determine which files to back up. The user can, of course, choose to include or exclude files to suit—an essential feature considering backing up large, and perhaps unnecessary, folders can take lots of additional hours.

Does it do it well?

Two of the main reasons why a lot of businesses don’t back up their data is lack of time and lack of technical know-how. Even with the best will in the world, most of us are guilty of backing up too infrequently. MozyPro is really good for two reasons—it offers business-level features at consumer-friendly prices, and it lets users enjoy peace of mind in knowing that data is encrypted and stored in a safe, remote location.

More importantly for busy offices with no dedicated IT staff is that MozyPro is fully automated—it backs files up automatically when user’s computers are idle. Data is stored safely in a second location without the need for a staff member to manually rotate tapes, external hard disks or other media off site. As a result, users always have the most recent versions of their files in a safe online environment that they can access from any computer connected to the Internet.

Furthermore, MozyPro supports Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), a set of COM APIs that implements a framework to allow volume backups to be performed while applications on a system continue to write to the volumes (open and locked files). As a result, files regularly kept open during backup operations, including Outlook PST files and spreadsheets, are safely backed up offsite.

MozyPro is about as secure as online backup gets. Local data on client desktops, laptops and servers is encrypted using military-grade 256-bit AES encryption prior to offsite upload and data transfers occur via 128-bit encrypted SSL connections, so users can be sure their data is in safe hands. Alternatively, users can choose 448-bit Blowfish encryption. Once stored on Mozy’s servers, data is protected thanks to SAS 70- and ISO 27001-certified data centres boasting secure perimeter facilities requiring dual biometric- and card-based authentication for entry.

Mozy’s support is improving. Whereas some users have complained about attempts to reach a live person, Mozy now offers MozyPro clients 24×7 telephone support and live technical support chat options during regular business hours—a marked improvement!

Where does it disappoint?

MozyPro is one of the better online backup programs for businesses, but it’s not without its shortcomings. Similar to other hosted backup applications, backups and restores can take days—especially as restores require the downloading of all backup up data as part of the process, which can take up to 24 hours. Compared to in-house localised backups, that might not be practical. Users can order backup DVDs from Mozy, but requesting a physical copy of backed up data defeats the object.

More significantly, when a backup quota is reached, the backup fails. To ensure that data has been successfully stored, the process needs to be checked regularly, which is inconvenient and time consuming. Thankfully, Mozy supports versioning, enabling you to restore earlier versions of corrupt or botched documents. Lastly, MozyPro is not available for Linux servers or client systems, which could limit its appeal in heterogeneous environments.

Would we recommend it?

MozyPro is an affordable option regardless of whether you opt for a server or desktop licence. It’s easy to use and offers a secure and comprehensive online storage and backup package. The other major benefit is that a business can be up and running with the service almost immediately.

MozyPro supports both Windows and Mac, and the ability to set it on automatic or scheduled mode takes the pain out of backing up data. The software also backs up and restores all types of data files on practically any software or database—Exchange, SQL, and those in network drives—and it comes with advanced administrative features, which is ideal for a multi-user business set-up.

Hopefully users won’t have to perform a full restore, but as far as the backup process goes—both online and offline?it doesn’t get much easier than MozyPro. And because it uses incremental backups, it’s not a resource hog. MozyPro is the ideal second backup source—in case of fire or other catastrophe—but for the backup of everyday, mission critical data, the process maybe just too long winded. Having said that, MozyPro is still one of the best safety nets for preventing the loss of data. And since there is a month-to-month subscription plan, it doesn’t cost much to test the waters to see if it’s the right solution for your business. [9]