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Carbonite? CarboNOT!

Categories: Opinion

June 24, 2011

"If you want something done right, do it yourself."

I was assigned the task of looking into options for backing up company data.  Since for years I had heard of Carbonite - a leading online data backup service, I started with them.  But I had a few concerns.  I sent Carbonite an email expressing my concerns and asking a few questions.  One of my questions was "Who will have access to my data?"

Within minutes, I received a telephone call from a salesman.  Here's what he told me: Carbonite cannot see my data.  It is encrypted, uploaded to their server, and they cannot decrypt it.

"But if Carbonite can encrypt the data, they must be able to decrypt it," I argued.

"Carbonite cannot see the data.  It's as simple as that," he responded.

If the data cannot be decrypted, it cannot be restored.  If it cannot be restored, what's the point of backing it up?

Obviously, the data can be decrypted.  But the salesman refused to acknowledge this or even discuss it with me.

To be fair, I dug a little deeper.  I found this:

"[After installation], you choose whether you want Carbonite to manage your encryption key, which many nontechnical users will do... If Carbonite manages your key, on the other hand, the service sends it to a third-party key service.  The existence of the key out of your control introduces the possibility, however remote, of data theft."

PCMag.com: "Carbonite Online PCBackup"

This is from Carbonite's Security Policy:

"Although Carbonite makes good faith efforts to store your personal information and Backed-up Data in a secure operating environment that is not accessible to unauthorized users, Carbonite cannot guarantee complete security."

I've never know a company to lose credibility so fast, and so blatantly mislead a potential customer.  I wouldn't expect "complete security", but I would expect a salesman to discuss potential risks with me, and not deny them.  I can live with a "remote" possibility of data theft, but I cannot live with a dishonest saleman.  If even one employee is dishonest, he/she is the proverbial "weakest link" creating the potential for disaster.  From now on, I'll remember this company as CarboNOT.


"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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