Considerations for defining your backup policies (Small Business)


CrashPlan for Small Business's default backup settings are based on real-life data management experience in a wide variety of environments, and they serve as a solid foundation when setting backup policies to protect your data. However, every business has unique circumstances that may require customized settings for their CrashPlan for Small Business environment. This article provides considerations for defining what, how, and where data is backed up.

What to back up

CrashPlan for Small Business is designed to protect all your endpoint data by backing up user files. By default, CrashPlan for Small Business is set to back up the entire user home directory, which is where most users keep their files. In most cases, use the default file selection. However, in some situations, you may want to add or remove files from the default selection.

Add files to the default file selection

You may want to add directories to the default file selection if user data often lives outside the user home folder. 

Exclude files from your file selection

Excluding files from backup increases the risk of missing something that may be important. However, some situations may warrant excluding certain file types or directories:

  • Directories that don't typically house business data (e.g., C:\Personal)
  • Media
    • If you have limited storage or certain compliance requirements, you may want to exclude media. You can exclude:
      • Certain directories such as the system's default Music or Video folders
      • Specific media file types
    • If you have high storage capacity, include media. If you have concerns about bandwidth consumption, you can address bandwidth concerns more directly, while still protecting those types of files.

System files

Exclude system and application files from backup, as backing up these types of files could prevent user-created data from backing up efficiently. These types of files are excluded under the default backup file selection.

CrashPlan for Small Business prioritizes its to-do list based on file size and creation date: small, frequently-changing files such as system files are backed up before other files in the backup selection. This can prevent backup from fully completing, or significantly increasing the time required for backup completion.

Databases and virtual machines

Backing up files that are constantly being written to, such as application databases and virtual machines, requires special consideration. For best practices regarding backing up these types of files, see Back up open files and databases using CrashPlan for Small Business

Soft and hard links

Using file links on your device can cause the CrashPlan app to interact with files more than once. To avoid problems with using soft and hard links with the CrashPlan app, see How to use soft and hard links with the CrashPlan app in CrashPlan for Small Business

How to back up

CrashPlan for Small Business is very flexible, allowing you to configure backup settings to work best with your network, compliance requirements, and users' usage patterns.


The CrashPlan app is designed to operate in the background so that backup is invisible to your users and system resources are optimized for user needs:

  • The CrashPlan app runs at lowest system priority.
  • Default settings further restrict the percentage of CPU that the CrashPlan app is allowed to use. There are separate CPU settings based on whether the user is active (using the keyboard or mouse) or away.
  • On laptop computers, the CrashPlan app is configured by default to stop backing up when the laptop's battery reaches 20% or less. The CrashPlan app won't use up battery life when users need it the most.

 Performance testing

When doing performance testing, increase allowed CPU to 100% when both present and away to remove restrictions placed upon the CrashPlan app's performance.


There are several ways that CrashPlan for Small Business can back up while not saturating your network. If you have significant bandwidth constraints, update your settings in the listed order, until you've found the optimal configuration for your users and your network.

  1. Limit the transfer rate.
    • Ensures your users are continuously protected.
  2. Restrict backup schedule.
    • Restrict the time of day where CrashPlan for Small Business is allowed to run.
    • Users are not continuously protected. 

Network restrictions

You can control which network interfaces or Wi-Fi networks CrashPlan for Small Business is allowed to use for backup. Restricting Wi-Fi networks or network interfaces is a great way to avoid mobile data overage charges if your users connect their computers to mobile data networks and have limited data plans.

  • For hot spots, exclude Wi-Fi networks by name.
  • For USB modems, exclude the network interface.

You can also use Wi-Fi network restrictions to prevent users from backing up while connected to networks with limited bandwidth.

Frequency, versions, and deleted files

By default, CrashPlan for Small Business provides continuous data protection for file versions and 90-day retention of deleted files. However, there are some cases where the defaults may not be appropriate for your organization or for a subset of your users:

CrashPlan for Small Business is not an archival service and is not suitable for environments where compliance guidelines require deleted files be kept longer than 90 days.

Where to back up

CrashPlan for Small Business provides the ability to back up to multiple destinations. For best protection, back up to more than one destination. A common scenario is to back up to one on-site destination for faster backups and restores, and one off-site destination for disaster recovery: 

Example use case: marketing firm

  • Industry: Information
  • Approximate number of users: 20
  • Endpoints: Windows
  • Backup file selection:
    • Include user's home directory
    • Excluded file types:
      • System
      • MP3
      • Applications (EXE, MSI, etc.)
    • Users are allowed to change backup selection
  • Device backup settings:
    • Mostly utilizing software defaults
    • Some users backing up to external drives
    • Users can change bandwidth throttling when working from home offices
    • Backup scheduled to only run after business hours
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