Imagine you're working on a final paper for your thesis or putting the finishing touches on your lifelong memoir when suddenly, you're confronted by the blue screen of death. A common problem for PC users is that their devices unexpectedly crash.
So what do you do to prevent catastrophic data loss in the event of a BSOD, natural disaster, or other types of hardware malfunction? Have a backup plan - in other words, keep backups of all of your most important files.
Many people own their own backup device, which is a good option as long as you faithfully update your backups hard drives. However, if you want something that will automatically backup any file and folder of yours, you should consider online backup software.
The Best Online Backup
In This Guide
Our Top Picks
Based on my research and in-depth online backup reviews, the following companies are the top cloud providers currently.
There have been many contenders, such as Norton Online Backup, Acronis True Image, CrashPlan Server Offsite Backup, Comodo Backup, and iDrive Cloud, that come complete with their own advantages and disadvantages.
This comparison is intended to help guide you as you choose the right company for safely storing your files as needed.
- Storage: 100GB
- Free Storage: None
- Num. Devices: Unlimited
- Monthly Price: $37.49
- Promo: 30 days free trial
- Ease of use
- High-end security
- File syncing and sharing
- File archiving and file manager
- Multiple backup and system restore options
- Telephone support is available for business only
SugarSync is very easy-to-use and is designed to look like the Microsoft Windows Explorer window, making it very user-friendly for those already accustomed to the Windows OS. Data is backed up on more than one cloud in case a file becomes corrupted, ensuring that there is always a backup, even if the backup breaks. Plus, in case your entire computer starts to breakdown, you can create a system restore point to return your computer to normal, or as normal as possible.
SugarSync is right up there with the top online backup services. It's easy to use, it organizes your files for you, and its cross-platform functionality makes it easy to sync between PCs, Macs, and smartphones.
The only major problem with this company is the lack of telephone support for quick assistance, however, there are so many helpful resources available on the SugarSync website, it's possible you will rarely ever need to call anyone.
- Storage: Unlimited
- Free Storage: None
- Num. Devices: 1
- Monthly Price: $50.00
- Promo: 15 days free trial
- High-end security
- Automatic backups
- Low price for unlimited storage
- Multiple forms of customer support
- Mobile apps
- No file sharing
- Unclear about other features aside from backups
BackBlaze has the usual features that come with online backup services. There's the top-notch security to keep your files protected, the ability to set backups automatically, and a little extra added. There is excellent customer support available from email or phone to a help desk accessible by all customers. Plus, as with most online backup services these days, you can access your files from a mobile app (currently it is only supporting Apple).
For one of the cheapest (but great) online backup solutions out on the market, you should check out BackBlaze. You're not going to believe it, but for a mere few bucks, you get unlimited storage. Yes, you read that right, "unlimited storage." Plus, you get file archiving with this package. It is unclear for how long older versions of files will last, but the feature is still present and available.
The lack of file sharing is a bit of a bummer here in case you have a project or presentation to work on. In which case, you may as well take your laptop or external HD with you.
In addition, there isn't a lot of information on the features provided, whether in a review or on the BackBlaze site itself. I've also recognized that BackBlaze isn't as well-known as other backup services you may have heard of, but lesser known doesn't have a direct connection to quality.
- Storage: 50GB
- Free Storage: None
- Num. Devices: 5
- Monthly Price: $33.74
- Promo: 15 days free trial
SOS: Online Backup Review
- Truly unlimited storage space
- High security standards
- Access on mobile devices
- Automated backup
- Very competitive pricing
- Can't control bandwidth usage
SOS Online Backup is a backup storage service that comes with a desktop program and a mobile app. Their aim is to securely back up your files and to make them readily available across all of your devices.
The space provided is unlimited, truly unlimited. Other services use that word in a way that is misleading and in some cases untrue. They say unlimited but what they really mean is that they give you plenty of space but if you somehow manage to use more than they allow in their fair use policy they will require you to upgrade to a new plan.
When you use the service, the backup system runs quietly in the background of your computer. You can choose if you want hourly, daily or monthly updates. You can even choose what time of day you want to receive updates and whether or not you want to receive updates via email. The system takes up very little of your system resources, so it shouldn't affect your computer's performance in a dramatic way.
Key Considerations When Choosing an Online Backup Service
Offsite backup services, such as Comodo Backup, iDrive Cloud, and Norton Online Backup, aren't much different from other backup solutions out there, whether it is a physical device (such as an external hard drive), or even a file hosting service (like DropBox).
They're all made to help you out when your computer starts having problems or when you're worried about losing precious information. However, the majority of us don't constantly backup our files and data, and those of us that have an "automatic backup" rarely use it, which is crazy to think we play it so precariously when it comes to our data.
In other words, you should be getting into the habit of backing up your data, either manually or automatically.
Cloud backup means that your stored information is safe, regardless of tangible destruction, such as what could happen if your device or hard drive gets damaged.
Whether you are a business owner or are just considering safeguarding information on your personal computer devices, you should consider having a remote online backup account for peace of mind. According to the US Small Business Administration,
According to the US Small Business Administration, online backups can be an exceptionally smart idea to backup your data and can help you maintain safety beyond relying on just one method, such as local backup with external hard drives.
In a small business setting, it's important for online backups of data to be performed. With a major data loss, up to 43 percent of companies go out of business. Fortunately, there are some backup service providers that are geared towards small business online backup.
Jungle Disk is one such company that provides small business customers with online backup software. In fact, Jungle Disk has had over 10 million successful backups and restores in 2016 alone. Another good option for a small business? IDrive Online.
IDrive Online not only offers protection for Android and iOS devices, but issues enterprise-class secure data protection for all of the business computers, servers, Exchange, SQL, and NAS devices.
Cloud Backup Benefits & Features
Life happens, and disaster - even natural disaster - can strike at the most inopportune moments, and when this occurs, data can be lost. From random hard drive crashes to earthquakes; protecting your files, photos, documents, videos, music, and whatever other priceless information you have saved on your computer or hard drive is an essential nowadays. For such cases, you'll need a disaster recovery plan.
Remote online backup is a great disaster recovery tool, "just in case" because if you ever find yourself in a situation where your data is lost, you'll be thankful you will be able to retrieve it easily. Most online backup services allow you to back up your data with one user account. However, services such as Verizon Online Backup will allow you to distribute portions of your storage among both your primary user account and sub-accounts.
Choosing the best online cloud backup software and company for your particular needs should take into account a variety of factors. Different people have different requirements and different data to protect, so it's important to understand what you're going to need, and what you should be protecting.
|SOS: Online Backup||50GB||$33.74|
Important Factors to Consider
Having a look at a cloud services comparison, or scoping out different online backup reviews should be very helpful. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when deciding what online backup services will work for you.
- Price: Most of the top cloud providers are subscription-based, and many are very affordable. Some providers will offer monthly online backup plans, which may require 1- or 2-year subscriptions. Some may offer free trials, and others may limit the number of PC's/ devices that are covered. Research the prices and what they entail per each company you are interested in using.
- What Are You Backing Up? Some online backup providers are specific about the types of files that can be stored, so you should be aware of what you're able to store onto the cloud. Some backup solutions do not protect program or system files. There are also those that do not allow cloud backup for folders or files that are from network or external drives. And then there are some cloud services that will backup your entire hard drive; so find out what you need to get the ideal coverage. Additionally, the amount of storage space should also be considered. The initial backup onto an online cloud may require a lot of bandwidth, and thus will require a stable and high-speed internet connection. After the initial backup, backing up data will become a smoother and more efficient process.
- How Sensitive is Your Data? Different companies offer different levels of protection. Most use SSL to encrypt data as it gets uploaded into the cloud, and this should be a bare minimum. Other means of protection include encrypting data once it is stored, otherwise, it may be susceptible to others accessing it. You can always use your own encryption key to unlock your data, but the encryption key may be stored on the servers.
- Security: Cloud storage can be extremely secure, however on the flip side of this, sometimes the password security plus encryption can be so secure that if you forget/ lose your password, even the company may not be able to help you retrieve it - however, if you tend to forget your password, you should probably consider a password manager to help you out. The CrashPlan server, for instance, features military-grade security. The best cloud storage providers do not store your encryption key on private servers, on the off-chance that the servers are hacked (which can happen).
- Web Access: Do you want a service provider that allows you to access your information via the Web?
- Mobile Device Access: Do you want a cloud storage company that allows you to access your information via an app? Furthermore, can you backup files from your mobile device? Acronis True Image is one such online backup service that provides data backup for not only OSX and Microsoft Windows but also iOS and Android.
- Online Backup Features: Online backup services come with a variety of features. You'll have to ask yourself what features the online service offers. Do the online service feature full backup, differential backup, and incremental backup processes? An incremental backup, by the way, is used by most online backup services because it is the most efficient when transferring files over the internet. Furthermore, the process for local backup also becomes more efficient. Why? Because incremental backups will be performed on any file that has changed since the previous backup.
How Secure Are Online Backup Services?
What Does Online Backup Offer and is it Secure?
I took to the internet to find out which online backup services were the best, dug up some dirt, and gave them a rating in my review. Some things to look at when reading my reviews are the storage capacity of each service and their pricing. Some services may offer unlimited storage for a low price, while other services charge as much as $100 per year for limited storage. It's not very competitive and easy to spot, so be sure to read everything if you're thinking of checking out one of our listed providers.
Will My Online Backup Files Be Safe?
Yes, in a variety of ways. Additionally, with the online backup being one of the big things the internet has brought us, there's still a problem that many face. Are accidentally overwriting files, or upgrading a file only to wish you could go back to an older version concerns of yours?
Well, that problem is a thing of the past, because many of these online backup services feature file archiving (or versioning) which basically means you can save several versions of a file so you can go back to it at any time unless you delete it from your storage of course. This makes cloud backup an immensely useful option for secure storage of data. Furthermore, with your backup account, you can easily recover files safely and securely without issue.
Online backing up can be one of the best things you do to safeguard any of your digital information long-term. Whether it's for business documents, college papers, or photos and videos of your children, cloud backup services can be a convenient and cost-effective security measure. Here are some of its main features, and why you need it:
- Your files can be accessed from anywhere (depending on the service you use).
- Security. While no online backup method is 100% secure, some services are better than others. The best brands offer excellent security features, but it's important to be aware that even the most sophisticated measures can still be susceptible to intrusion.
- The best services for cloud backups will not be free; however, they are very affordable.
- Do your homework. Read through as many online backup reviews or check out a cloud services comparison to get a decisive, detailed overview that examines different companies. Seeing what certain companies offer in regards to the features you need will make it simpler to find the right company.
Cloud Backup Services for Macs
For those with Macs, you may be wondering if any cloud backup services are applicable to your device's needs, however, it's safe to say that most are. However, one thing to keep in mind about backing up the information on your Mac is that it's not a swift, quick process.
Ease of use and backup speed (which is reliant upon your internet provider and modem - you'll need a high-speed internet plan) are especially important for an effective backup with your Mac, so choose a company whose backup system supports this. Value and versatility are, of course, important aspects to choosing an online backup service, so choose wisely with the company that handles your needs best.
How to Develop a Cloud Backup Strategy
Online backup services can secure your information and offer peace of mind. The time-tested system used by the general consensus of those familiar with having a backup strategy think of it as 3-2-1.
Here's what you should keep in mind regarding the basic rules for ensuring none of your important information is lost. Cloud backup is essential for protecting your computer and its contents during any type of "what-if" situation, so I absolutely recommend everyone protect themselves in this manner.
- 3 copies of all essential files, documents, photos, and info protect you very well, ensuring that you have literal backups of your backup.
- 2 formats for storing your files, such as a hard drive and cloud storage, or with an external hard drive.
- 1 offsite location of storage, so that if you were to lose one of your methods of storage due to circumstances at your primary location, you will still have the backup stored elsewhere. Using cloud storage options for this is ideal because it is omnipresent and offsite or onsite, depending on your needs.
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The best online backup services should keep your information safe and secure. They should also have enough space to hold the amount of data you need. Lastly, you should consider the price and perks of the service before you make your decision. I truly hope that all of the information and my in-depth reviews have been useful and insightful.
In the event of a hard drive crash or any other unexpected occurrence that may have otherwise leveled your info, having it safe, backed up, and protected via the cloud is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your digital life.
Do keep in mind that your initial data backup may require fast uploading speeds, so you should certainly consider relying on a fast internet service provider. You compare the major providers in the country using our buyer's guide to Internet service.