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The Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services of 2020

By Joshua Stowers,
business.com Writer
| Updated
May 01, 2020

Looking for the best cloud backup services? We have easy-to-read, unbiased reviews and feature comparisons of the best cloud backup solutions in the industry.
Best for Small Business
Backup for unlimited devices
24/7 customer support
Free version
Best for Collaboration
3 storage plans
Teamwide storage capacity
Monthly pricing options
Best for Mac Backup
Pay-as-you-go options
Support for all user data
Live chat support
Looking for the best cloud backup services? We have easy-to-read, unbiased reviews and feature comparisons of the best cloud backup solutions in the industry.

Data loss can be devastating to a company. To prevent this nightmare scenario, many businesses use cloud storage and online backup services to protect their data. To help you determine which service is right for your business, we spent weeks researching and analyzing dozens of options. 

We looked at everything from price and storage space to security and scalability, selecting three services we think are best for specific business needs. You can read more about our choices and what you should consider when searching for a cloud storage or online backup service below.

How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
40
Considered
10
Researched
3
Selected

Find the Right Cloud Storage Service for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.

Compare Our Best Picks

 

IDrive

Egnyte

Backblaze
Supported OS Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac, iOS, Android Windows, Mac
Free version Yes

No

No
Free trial

Only for the enterprise plan

15 days 15 days
Starting price $69.50 for the first year, or $139 for two years $10 a month per employee $6 a month per license

Reviews

IDrive: Best for Small Business

IDrive can back up unlimited devices for one flat fee.
It provides continuous real-time backup for PC, Mac, Android and iOS, along with a mobile app.
IDrive doesn't offer a plan with unlimited storage.

IDrive gives small business owners a secure way to back up, store and recover their data. With its seamless online dashboard, affordable rates, scalable services, and collaboration features, IDrive is our pick as the best cloud storage and online backup service for small businesses.

Editor's note: Looking for information on online storage and backup? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you with the information you need: 

 

IDrive Pricing and Plans

Unlike many competing cloud storage companies that base their pricing on the number of devices you need to support, IDrive lets you back up unlimited devices for one flat monthly or annual fee. Pricing varies by the amount of storage you need.  

IDrive offers a free plan, which supports up to 5GB of cloud storage, as well as plans for entrepreneurs (IDrive Personal) and small businesses needing a plan for multiple users (IDrive Business). 

Here is a breakdown of each plan. 

IDrive Personal (one user, unlimited computers): 

  • 2TB at $69.50 for the first year, or $139 for two years
  • 5TB at $99.50 for the first year, or $199 for two years 

IDrive Business (unlimited users, unlimited computers and servers): 

  • 250GB at $99.50 for the first year, or $199 for two years
  • 500GB at $199.50 for the first year, or $399 for two years
  • 1.25TB at $499.50 for the first year, or $999 for two years (or $49.95 per month)
  • 2.5TB at $799.50 for the first year, or $1,599 for two years (or $79.95 per month)
  • 5TB at $1,499.50 for the first year, or $2,999 for two years (or $149.95 per month)
  • 12.5TB at $2,999.50 for the first year, or $5,999 for two years (or $299.95 per month) 

If you exceed your storage limit, IDrive charges 25 cents a month per gigabyte for the personal plan and 50 cents a month per gigabyte for business plans. You can upgrade to higher storage plans to avoid an overuse charge. IDrive doesn't offer unlimited storage plans, but customer support informed us that you can add more data to your plan as needed. 

Currently, IDrive is offering new customers 25% off the first year, or 50% off if you sign up for a two-year plan. IDrive also discounts its services for students, educational institutions or anyone with a valid, educational domain-based email address. 

The online backup service offers important features, including synchronization and restoration, device support, group management, archiving, and high-grade security. 

Whether you use a PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, IDrive stores and backs up your files in the cloud. You can access and share files on your mobile devices via IDrive's mobile app. Files and folders sync in real time; IDrive automatically syncs your computers on a scheduled or continuous basis. It provides real-time backup, which means it can detect even the smallest changes to files and back them up. 

The IDrive Snapshot retains versions of your computers or servers in storage, allowing you to back up and restore your system to how it was at previous points in time. Snapshots do not affect your plan's storage capacity. 

IDrive archives files so that none of your data is lost to carelessness. You choose if and when to manually delete files. You can also set up IDrive's archive cleanup tool, which syncs your account data with your latest backup.  

With 256-bit AES encryption, the backup service is completely secure and complies with security regulations, including HIPAA, SOX and GLBA. In the event your local server crashes, IDrive can ship a copy of your data to you. 

IDrive provides 24/7 customer support and can be reached by phone, email and live chat. The company is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but the agency gives it an A+ rating.

More

Egnyte: Best for Collaboration

The free trial comes with 20GB of cloud-based storage and 1GB of FTP uploading and sharing.
Egnyte offers several useful resources for new and existing cloud storage users, including live training, demos and webinars.
Even the basic version requires IT expertise to set it up properly – it isn't as simple as signing up and uploading data.

Egnyte is a comprehensive cloud storage solution with file-sharing and collaboration tools for teams, and sophisticated administrative controls for management and IT. The platform includes backup capabilities, so you can set it up as a hybrid system for redundancy. For all of this and more, Egnyte is our pick as the best cloud storage and online backup solution for collaboration.

 

Editor's note: Looking for information on online backup? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you with the information you need: 

 

 

Egnyte Pricing and Plans

Egnyte offers three storage plans for businesses, in addition to a limited team plan for very small businesses. The storage allotted to each plan is teamwide, since this platform excels in collaboration features and should be used as such. The monthly pricing is based on a prepaid annual subscription. 

Here is a breakdown of each plan. 

Team plan: 

  • Online storage: 1TB
  • Price: $10 per employee per month
  • Size: 1-3 employees 

Office plan: 

  • Online storage: 5TB
  • Price: $8 per employee, per month
  • Size: 5-25 employees 

Business plan: 

  • Online storage: 10TB
  • Price: $20 per employee, per month
  • Size: 25-100 employees 

Enterprise plan: 

  • Online storage: Scales with your needs
  • Price: Call for a quote
  • Size: 100+ employees 

The biggest difference between each plan is the amount of storage, but each plan has its own security measures, administrative and IT tools, deployment options, and hybrid integration features. The typical maximum file size is 10GB; however, Egnyte can work with you to customize a plan if you need to transfer larger files. 

Egnyte offers a 15-day free trial. You get 20GB of cloud-based storage and 1GB of FTP uploading and sharing during the trial period. 

Egnyte's rich set of features includes customization, file sharing, top-notch security and synchronization. The service offers first-rate file support – you can store nearly any type of file, including word documents, slideshows, videos, email, databases and software. You can even store music files, though you'll need a third-party player to stream them. 

Within your Egnyte portal, you and your employees can easily share files and collaborate with remote individuals from a single centralized access point. Detailed folder permissions allow you to define tight rules around access to certain data. Not only can you specify who sees shared folders, you can also set permissions that determine who in your company can edit and delete files. 

Link expiration features let you specify how long someone has access to a given document. Egnyte automatically creates a new version of a document each time a change is saved, and you can determine the number of versions you want to keep before older versions are moved to the trash folder. 

The backup service uses stringent security measures to safeguard data. File transmissions use 256-bit AES encryption over SSL. Users are authenticated with a username and password, and as an administrator, you set the access rights for all users and guests you share data with. 

As a hybrid cloud and local storage solution, Egnyte conveniently provides continuous synchronization between local files and online copies. The platform detects changes to files and syncs them, keeping both copies up to date. Hybrid storage and backup provides redundant protection, meaning if one source fails, you still have a viable source where you can access your files and back them up. 

The custom branding feature lets you integrate your own URL for the interface and portal, complete with your company's logo and messaging. This can boost brand continuity and peace of mind with your customers. 

More

Backblaze: Best for Mac Backup

Backblaze offers storage and backup services for both Mac and PC.
Service plans are available on monthly, annual or biennial terms.
Backblaze doesn't back up any information stored on mobile devices.

Backblaze offers comprehensive storage and backup capabilities for both Mac and PC – whether you need help backing up a few computers or several servers – which is among the reasons it's our pick for the best Mac backup software.  

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

 

Backblaze Pricing and Plans

Backblaze has two main offerings: its computer backup plans and its B2 Cloud Storage plan, which acts as general cloud storage for hosting and archiving. 

Backblaze's backup plans support all the user data on each backed-up computer, except for the system and program files. For example, when you back up a Mac device, that would be the top-level Library, Applications and System folders. You can back up everything under Users, which should be all the user-generated data. 

You can pay for backup plans at a monthly, annual or biennial rate; the longer contracts provide the largest discounts. To try out Backblaze with no risk, you can sign up for a 15-day free trial. 

Here is a breakdown of each plan. 

Monthly backup plan: 

  • Price: $6 per license, per month
  • Recommended for: Businesses that want maximum flexibility 

Yearly backup plan: 

  • Price: $60 per license, per year
  • Recommended for: Most small businesses (most popular plan) 

Two-year backup plan: 

  • Price: $110 per license for two years
  • Recommended for: Businesses that want the best long-term deal 

If you need to support computers, servers, NAS, endpoints or virtual machines, the B2 Cloud Storage option may be a good fit. This gives you 10GB of storage and 1GB of daily downloads for free. Pricing is based on the amount of data stored, bandwidth used and transactions performed. 

B2 Cloud Storage: 

  • Price: 0.5 cents per gigabyte stored per month and 1 cent per gigabyte downloaded per month (pay as you go) – equates to $5 per month to store 1TB of data and $10 to download and restore that data
  • Recommended for: Businesses that need general, archival or offsite data storage 

With B2 Cloud Storage, you will need a third-party application to act as a backup or storage interface. 

Both of Backblaze's backup and storage options can be used on Mac computers and have their pros and cons. When we evaluated cloud backup solutions for Mac computers, we were impressed with Backblaze's number of features. 

Backblaze is optimized for Apple computers and integrates with the macOS interface. It backs up all user data on a computer, including attached external drives. This is unlimited and continuous backup that does not impose bandwidth caps or throttling unless you set it up with bandwidth control. 

The backup interface allows you to set when and how often you back up your computers. You can also set it to automatically detect bandwidth usage and slow down when traffic increases. 

While Mac's Time Machine allows you to restore previous versions of individual files, with Backblaze, you can roll back your entire system up to 30 days, giving you protection against ransomware and other malware. You can also set versioning retention. 

If you need to perform an immediate restore, the service can ship you a hard drive with your data. Backblaze keeps files until you delete them. Even then, they are accessible via backup for 30 days. If a computer is offline, the most recent backup is kept for at least six months, if not indefinitely. 

Backblaze's business backup plans give you administrative tools to manage multiple computers. You control the admin preferences from an easy-to-use dashboard where you can set permissions and view each computer's backup status. You can also add or remove users at any time through the Business Group dashboard. 

The plan scales with your business – you can add or remove as many computers as needed. You can manage both backup and B2 Cloud Storage administrative settings from the same online interface. 

For new and current users looking for additional information about Backblaze's services and features, the company offers a blog and additional FAQs and help pages. Backblaze is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating.

More

Cloud Storage and Online Backup Pricing

Some companies offer cloud storage, some offer online backup, and some offer a combination of the two. You can expect to pay anywhere from just a few dollars a month to several thousand dollars a year. The price really comes down to how much storage you need and how many users you need to accommodate. 

Storage capacity for basic plans starts at 500GB; higher-tier plans generally range from 5TB to 10TB. Most companies' top-tier plans have a specified storage capacity, but many services will work with you to accommodate larger storage needs. 

Before choosing a service and a plan, you must 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 often 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 custom plan for you. 

Business cloud storage and online backup could be one of your most significant annual expenses, depending on your company's team and data volume. To decide whether to invest so much in these services, ask yourself how valuable your company's data is. What if it were permanently lost to malware, a natural disaster or another 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 cybersecurity and IT maintenance personnel.

Buying Guide

Features to Look for in a Cloud Backup Service

Here are some other factors to consider when narrowing down your choices for a cloud storage or online backup solution.

Ease of Use 

When considering any SaaS service, gauge whether the interface will 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, we found many services with user-friendly dashboards that let you organize data, schedule backups, manage group privileges, collaborate with team members, 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 and team. 

Backup and Storage Capabilities 

Many online backup services double as cloud storage services, allowing you to store and share more files. 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 your files contain sensitive data, encryption is a must. Many services offer 256-bit AES encryption, which meets the U.S. government's requirements for handling sensitive data. Choose a company that takes security seriously; ask representatives about encryption and other measures they take to protect your data. 

Performance  

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

Collaboration Features 

If you are strictly looking for online backup, collaboration may not be a concern for you. However, if you share documents frequently, look for convenient features that help you collaborate with team members or clients while maintaining tight security over your data. These features include password-protected links to share files, delivery notifications on accessed documents, link expiration dates, user and group management, feedback and approval options, and live chat. 

Platform Capabilities 

Each cloud service lets you upload, download and access files via internet browser. So, really, all you need is an internet connection to get to your data. However, some backup services only work on specific platforms, 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. 

Recovery Time 

Cloud backup and recovery times can be impacted by network latency, which can extend your recovery time objective (RTO). Your RTO is the amount of time an application can be down without significant damage to a business and the time it takes for the system to go from loss to recovery. A service that focuses on recovery time can help your business avoid severe damage and data loss during various disasters, such as power outages, theft, corrupted servers and hard drives, cyberattacks, and exposure to ransomware. 

Scalability 

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

How to Choose a Cloud Storage and Online Backup Service

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

Types of Cloud Services Available

There are various types of cloud services that you can incorporate 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 geared for general-use storage. If you are looking for a solution to store and share all 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 this easier than ever. Cloud backup services don't require additional hardware or IT expertise. 

Public vs. Private Hosts

Web developers and businesses that need to store large amounts of data but can't afford 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, for either financial or 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 higher capacity. This is because cold storage doesn't have many sharing options, and users aren't expected to be accessing and retrieving files very often.

File Storage, Sharing and Collaboration

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

In addition to syncing files, many of these services are compatible with multiple devices, allowing you to use your desktop, laptop, tablet, and iOS or Android mobile devices for cloud backup. Some services have mobile apps that you can download directly from app stores.

Benefits of Cloud Storage and Backup

Storing your files in the cloud gives you the flexibility to access them from anywhere. This allows your team to edit or share their work remotely, which can save valuable time and allow smoother project coordination. 

Storing personal or business data in the cloud also offers many security benefits for your company data and sensitive files. Many cloud backup solutions include disaster recovery services, ransomware protection, increased server security, and protection against potential hackers and cyberattacks. 

Here's a list of the pros and cons of cloud storage and online backup, according to Adil Advani, digital marketing executive at PureVPN

Pros of Cloud Storage

  • Quick and easy access
  • Accessibility anywhere, anytime
  • Easy editing
  • Automatic file sync 

Cons of Cloud Storage

  • Internet connection required to access data
  • High bandwidth required to back up large data
  • Dependence on a third party 

Pros of Online Backup

  • Protection and security
  • Lower costs
  • No need for hard drive backup
  • Encryption 

Cons of Online Backup 

  • Lack of support
  • Cyberattack risks
  • Downtime
  • Legal liability

Community Expert Insight

Angelo Frisina is the founder and CEO of Sunlight Media LLC, a design agency that provides web development and digital marketing services throughout Los Angeles. He said his agency uses Unitrends for its online backup solution. 

"Unitrends is an intelligent online data backup management solution that provides cloud storage and online backup service for my business," Frisina said. "It has AI ransomware detection, all-in-one Recovery Series and Virtual Unitrends Backup appliances, and supports cloud services for DRaaS [disaster recovery as a service], SLAs [service-level agreements], AWS and Azure." 

Before ultimately choosing Unitrends, Frisina considered using Veeam. Through IBM Cloud, Veeam provides cloud disaster recovery options and more availability for data retrieval. Frisina decided not to go with Veeam because the backup solution lacks in ransomware protection and sells software individually. 

While there are many benefits to cloud storage and online backups, Frisina says there are several risks to consider when choosing a backup service. 

"The risks of using or not using a cloud storage or online backup are that data and information may be lost, stolen, or hacked if not implemented for the protection of your personal and business devices," Frisina said. "Daily data capacity limits, lack of insurance if data stored is lost, and wrong methods of data transfers may provide faulty errors within the data." 

Kevin Rodrigues is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website designed to help its readers learn more about growing their own food. Rodrigues' company uses Google Drive for all its business data because it's a cost-effective, secure solution under the umbrella of G Suite, Google's cloud computing software equipped with numerous collaboration and productivity apps for business. 

Rodrigues said that Gardening Mentor previously considered Mega as an alternative to Google Drive for its business data, because it had better pricing and advanced privacy and security features. In the end, though, he felt more comfortable with Google Drive's integration tools and free Office suite. 

Rodrigues said it's important to back up files in the cloud so that your data is available if something goes wrong with your other devices. 

"It's also useful to be able to access your data independent of your devices," he said. "Many backup solutions provide encryption, which helps secure your data."

Cloud Storage and Online Backup Service FAQs

Are you still unsure about the basics of cloud storage and online backups? We've got you covered – here are answers to some of the industry's most common questions. 

Is online backup safe?   

Online backup services are very safe and secure. They can keep your business data more secure than if it was stored on an external on-premises hard drive. Most online backup services have built-in data encryption for your files and sensitive information. These encrypted files are usually transferred over an SSL connection to a data center, where they're stored on disks. 

Can the cloud be hacked?  

Storing sensitive information in the cloud can leave you vulnerable to hackers, cyberattacks, and viruses, like malware and ransomware. While these risks are present, many cloud storage services provide security measures and precautions to reduce the chances of your information being compromised. These security measures usually include disaster recovery, enterprise-grade server security and ransomware protection. 

Where is cloud data stored? 

Simply put, your data lies in the computers of your cloud storage service. Cloud data is usually stored in a regional data center close to your geographical location. If your business has its own private network, you can have your own private cloud that allows your employees and customers to access data over the internet.  

What's the difference between online backup, online syncing and online storage? 

Online backup preserves your data in the event of loss or damage, while online storage creates portals to access your data from anywhere at any time. Online syncing allows multiple users to access and edit data from various devices. 

How does cloud computing work for small businesses? 

Cloud computing gives you access to your company data wherever an internet connection is available. This can be crucial to keeping your team connected and up to date on all business affairs. Whether your team is on their laptops, tablets or mobile phones, this convenience is generally essential for smaller companies to share information in real time.  

What type of businesses need online backup? 

While businesses of all sizes can benefit from online backup services, businesses with a predominantly remote workforce can gain the most from backing up their data online. This eliminates dependence on physical hard drives, which you would have to carry around if immediate access is often necessary. In a disaster scenario, online backup keeps you up and running with your data, no matter what event may impact your business. 

How difficult is it to migrate to cloud storage and online backup? 

There are potential difficulties during cloud migration, such as encountering additional latency, losing some data, or operating a complicated user interface. However, moving all of your data to the cloud does not have to be as daunting as it may seem. 

If you choose the right cloud storage and online backup service, it'll do all the hard work for you, quickly and securely. It's best to understand your business's backup requirements and your customers' needs before you choose a service. A cloud service that is free and easy to understand, has few expert-level features, and offers automatic syncing can save you time and money.

Our Methodology

Our initial list of cloud storage and online backup services numbered 40 companies. We then narrowed down 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  

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.

To arrive at our final best picks, we narrowed this list down to companies that provide first-class security and protection. Small businesses want great features at an affordable cost, so we also gave higher consideration to companies that offer superb customer support, flexible storage options and favorable pricing. We posed as small business owners and contacted our finalist companies to learn more firsthand about their services and the quality of their customer support. From these finer points, we settled on IDrive, Egnyte and Backblaze as our best picks.

Related Links: 

https://www.business.com/articles/file-management-practices-small-business/

https://www.business.com/articles/document-control-software/

https://www.business.com/articles/small-business-document-management-system/

What Is a Cloud Backup Solution?

A cloud backup solution is an online service that stores and backs up data and applications on a remote server. Many businesses choose to back up to the cloud to keep files and data available in the event of a system crash, power outage, or natural disaster. You can use cloud backup solutions to send copies of physical or virtual files to team members or to a secondary, offsite backup location for preservation in case of equipment failure.

Joshua Stowers
Joshua Stowers,
business.com Writer
See Joshua Stowers's Profile
Joshua is a staff writer based in New York City. He is a former entrepreneur who started a fashion and art, print and digital publication called Elusive Magazine, serving as the features editor for several issues. Previously, he worked in product development for DirectTV and for a content agency that wrote for Verizon and Google. He is a New Jersey native in love with the city lights and skyscrapers.

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.

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Sol Gonzalez
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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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How does cloud computing work for small businesses?
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Marcy Hoffman
Marcy Hoffman
Answered
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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