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The Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services of 2019

By
Skye Schooley
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Sep 19, 2019
Home
> Technology
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Data loss occurs every day, and it happens to everyone from small startups to enterprises. Insurance may cover computer hardware and services when a disaster strikes, but your lost data won't be replaced. This loss can be devastating to a company. By using a cloud storage service, though, your company's data is stored securely should the worst happen.  

As a small business, how do you know which solution is best? To help you, we evaluated nearly 40 companies ‒ here are the best cloud storage and online backup companies for small businesses.

Best Picks

Editor's note: Looking for a cloud storage or backup solution? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Cloud Storage and Online Backup Pricing

Some companies offer cloud storage, some offer online backup, and some offer a combination of the two. (Not sure what the difference is between cloud storage and online backup? We explain the difference below in the How to Choose a Cloud Storage and Online Backup Service.)

We have, where possible, listed the pricing for the 10 services we reviewed. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars annually for small business cloud storage and backup services. What we found is that pricing varies; most services charge based on how much storage you need. In addition to storage, the number of users you need to accommodate may influence the price.

Storage capacity for basic plans starts 500GB; higher tiered plans range between 5TB and 10TB or more. Most companies' top-tier plans have a specified storage capacity, but many services will work with clients if they have larger storage needs that need to be accommodated.

Before choosing a service and a plan, you absolutely have to know how much storage you will need. Some companies charge overage fees that quickly add up. As part of your assessment, determine what type of information you will be backing up, as this helps determine how much storage you require and how dynamic the capabilities need to be. 

Cloud storage and backup plans are commonly billed annually. Some companies offer month-to-month pricing, though the rates are higher. You might save extra by paying annually, biennially or even triennially. If you don't see the plan length you need, contact a sales representative to see if they can create a customized plan for you.

Business cloud storage and online backup could be, depending on your business, one of your most significant annual expenses. Yet, how valuable is your company's data? What if it were permanently lost due to malware, a natural disaster or some other type of crisis? Another thing to keep in mind as you evaluate costs, is that cloud solutions can save you money you might otherwise have to spend on onsite servers, advanced IT security and IT maintenance personnel.

Reviews

In addition to our best picks, here are our reviews of other top-rated cloud storage and online backup companies.

How to Choose a Cloud Storage and Online Backup Service

The cloud has become an umbrella term for several different types of services, with each service having a distinct use.

Types of Cloud Services That Are Available

There are various types of cloud services that can be incorporated into your business model.

If your primary goal is to back up and protect your data, you want a service that's optimized for online backup, not a service that's geared for general-use storage.

If you are looking for a solution to store and share all of your business documents and media across various platforms, you need a service that focuses on storage and collaboration.

Online Backup 

Businesses of any size that deal with computers and data should be practicing data backup in some form, and online backup services make it easier than ever to do so. Cloud backup services don't require additional hardware or IT expertise. 

Public vs. Private Hosts 

Web developers and businesses in other industries that require large amounts of data capacity but can't afford to buy expensive servers can turn to cloud platforms to host their websites, development applications, databases, etc. Cloud hosting companies usually charge by how much data is uploaded and downloaded.

Long-Term Storage 

Many businesses, either due to financial and legal reasons, are required to maintain records for extensive periods of time. Cloud storage for long-term archiving is available from numerous providers. Usually dubbed cold storage or archive storage, this type of cloud storage is cheaper and provides more capacity. This is because cold storage doesn't have many sharing options, and customers aren't expected to be accessing and retrieving files very often. 

File Storage, Sharing and Collaboration 

This is a type of cloud service that's more active and plays a role in a business's day-to-day workflow. These services allow users to organize and share files without taking up computer disk space. Some services have free apps that allow you to draft and edit files on the cloud from your browser, but many businesses benefit from the security and advanced capabilities of paid solutions.

In addition to intended use, here are some other factors to consider when narrowing your choices down on a cloud storage or online backup solution.

Ease of Use

Will this service's SaaS interface be easy for employees without much technical knowledge to learn and use? It shouldn't be complicated for someone with basic computer skills to set up a continuous backup schedule and recover data.

In our research, many services have user-friendly dashboards that let you organize data, schedule backups, manage group privileges, collaborate, control security settings and more.

Take advantage of demos and free trials; you'll see firsthand whether an interface is a good match for your needs.

Backup and Storage Capabilities

Many online backup services double as cloud storage services, allowing you to store more files and share them with others. Online backup services don't normally let you store additional files beyond what is on the hard drive or server you're backing up so you can make clean recoveries in case of an emergency.

Security

If cybersecurity is a concern for you, encryption is a must. Many services offer 256-bit AES encryption, which meets the U.S. government's requirements for handling sensitive data. Make sure you choose a company that takes security seriously. Ask them about encryption and other measures they take to ensure your data is protected.

Performance 

Some storage services may offer different performance tiers. For example, if you suffer a data loss and need your info back as soon as possible, you want a service that allows you to perform fast recoveries. Likewise, ask about any potential conflicts with bandwidth and throttling. You don't want your internet speeds diminished because the system is backing data up and your everyday operations are at a standstill.

Collaboration Features

If you are strictly looking for online backup, collaboration may not be a concern for you. However, if you share documents frequently, many services offer features that are both convenient and help you maintain tight security over your data. These features include password-protected file sharing links, delivery notifications on accessed documents, link expiration dates, user and group management, feedback and approval options, chat abilities and more.

Platform Capabilities

Each cloud service lets you upload, download and access files via an internet browser. So, really, all you need is an internet connection to get to your data. However, some backup services only work on specific platform types, like Windows, Mac or Linux. Ensure that your service can accommodate the various platforms your business uses. If you have a highly mobile team, it may also be preferable to choose a service that offers an app for both iOS and Android devices.

Scalability

Besides analyzing your current cloud needs, project the potential growth of your business. Choose a cloud service that can scale as your business grows.

Our Methodology

Our initial list of cloud storage and online backup services numbered 40 companies. We then narrowed the list of contenders using the following factors: 

  • Rates and contract lengths
  • Backup and storage size
  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Usability, demos and free trials
  • Collaboration and management features
  • Cross platform and mobile access
  • Customer service
  • Better Business Bureau ratings and accreditation
  • Customer reviews and complaints

As part of our research, we posed as small business owners and contacted companies to learn more firsthand about the service and the quality of their customer service.

After much deliberation, we narrowed down our list to our 10 finalists – Acronis, Backblaze, BackupAssist, Barracuda, Carbonite, CrashPlan for Small Business, Egnyte, IDrive, Storage Guardian and Zoolz.

Common Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services Questions & Answers

Have a cloud storage or online backup services question of your own?
Ask an Expert

How does cloud computing work for small businesses?

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I agree with Michael, especially as I write about the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses. I would only caution any small business owner to verify their cloud or cloud app provider has the experience to build a secure and stable environment. Ask who is hosting (many start-ups host on Amazon for example), do they have redundancy, what security is in place, do they have a phone number to call if you have a problem (one of my beefs is companies who hide their contact information for...

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There are professionals running businesses the old fashion way and are still productive. Some don't see the savings or effectiveness of going to the cloud. Few other people, even me, when we travel to areas we are not sure about internet connectivity, having our own software (programs) makes a difference. Sometimes there are organizations that simply are not ready for the move. They have not dedicated the time for it, have no resources in place, and find their businesses rules, performance and...

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List of the The Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services of 2019