Networking and Security
Once an initial backup is run on each computer, it is no longer necessary to connect the C2N to each machine to perform a backup. It is only necessary to have the C2N connected to one active networked machine. Each computer will then back up its files over the network to the machine hosting the C2N.
I found network backups to work well on Windows PCs, but not as reliably on Macs. BackupLink has a status screen that shows client availability. For the most part, my Windows systems were always visible and I could manually trigger a backup over the network from one Windows machine to another. However, my Macs would periodically not show up as available, and I could not back them up over my home network. I had to manually connect them to the C2N to trigger the backup.
As you can see in the status screen in Figure 9, DREID-PC and KEVIN-PC are both on line according to BackupLink. Conor's MacBook and Riley's MacBook were also online on the same network when I took this screenshot, yet weren't visible to the C2N.
Figure 9: Network backup status
If I'm going to back up my files to a centralized backup device, I'm going to want them to be secure. The default settings on the C2N enable everyone to have access to everyone's files when they are connected to the device. Obviously, this isn't secure.
There is a password option on the C2N, but it is very basic. Only one password can be set on the system, and it is a global password. With this password, you have access to all the files on the system. You have to be careful with that password, too, because if you lose it, you won't be able to recover your files on the system.
Further, to connect the C2N to another PC for backups or restorals, you'll have to enter the password or share the password with the person connecting it to their PC, which reduces the security of that password.
The C2N is listed on Clickfree's website for $139.99 for the 250GB model, $159.99 for the 320GB model, and $179.99 for the 500GB model. A replacement cradle is also available at $19.99. If you want supply your own storage, the Transformer, Network Edition lists for just $100. Clickfree's device are also available from many retailers.
In today's world, a huge amount of our lives is stored in digital files, including email, pictures, music, and videos. Most of these critical files are stored on hard drives on personal computers. Further, most people are buying laptops as their personal computer, which are easily lost, stolen and / or damaged.
In my family, we each have a laptop that holds plenty of stuff that we'd really hate to lose. I found that the 250 GB C2N easily covered backup for five machines and still have over 150 GB of available backup space, leaving capacity to back up our files well into the future.
Although I flagged some security issues, I think they are minor for a device targeted toward consumers looking for ease of use. Clickfree should make backup of Mac OS systems as bullet-proof as Windows systems, though. While connecting the C2N to our Macs to get them backed up isn't difficult (and something I'd be in charge of as our home's network manager), it's not as reliable as automatic backup. I'd also like to see Clickfree add an option to watch for clients that miss their scheduled backup and back them up shortly after they reappear on the network.
The bottom line, though, is that the C2N is a welcome and useful addition to Clickfree's line of backup solutions that remove any excuse for not backing up all of your family's computers.