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Carbonite sprinkles some fancy over online backup service

Feature list set to 'Mozy'

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It's a prudent time for fledgling online backup firm Carbonite to spit-shine its software now that EMC is serious about nurturing a rival, Mozy.

Carbonite has launched PCBackup version 3.5, which adds some extra backup and security options to its online service for Windows machines. For the most part, the upgrade is about catching up with EMC's Mozy, which was formally re-launched last month. And now that Carbonite's on more level ground with respect to features, it can lean on a price edge to try and attract individuals and SMBs.

Mozy offers small-fry businesses storage licenses at $3.95 per month, along with the option to purchase extra storage at 50 cents per GB per month. PCBackup goes for a flat rate of $49.95 per year (or about $4.15/month) for unlimited storage. Carbonite's flat rate plan is also shared by its main independent online storage rival, AllMyData.

A highlighted feature of the fresh software release is a wizard to help users migrate files from an older machine to a new system.

Another new tool is the ability to go back 90 days to restore a version of a file. The previous version of PCBackup could only revert to the most recent backup. To compare: Mozy has a similar feature, but it can only look backwards 30 days.

For security, PCBackup now allows users to keep their own encryption keys — an important piece for certain health care and legal firms. There's also a backup scheduler, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Block level incremental backup has been put into the mix for a speed boost in updating file changes. For instance, a single cell in an Excel spreadsheet can be backed up on its own, instead of re-sending the entire document.

Since we're on a roll of comparing the two products, we'll add that Mozy also does private encryption keys, backup scheduling and block level backups.

At this particular moment, it would seem the biggest difference is pricing, interface, and of course a preference in who you're willing to trust with your data. ®

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