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Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

by Andreas RiveraLast Modified: June 12, 2018

Intro
State of the Industry
Best Picks
Reviews
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
Choosing a Cloud Service
Types of Cloud Services
Methodology
Common Cloud Storage Questions & Answers
Services
Map
Compare Quotes

The Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services For 2018

June 2018 update:Things are looking up for the cloud storage industry with demand for cloud storage services growing exponentially. The market grew by 45 percent worldwide over the course of 2017, according to a report by Canalys. Another study from ReportLinker predicts that the market will grow up to $88.9 billion from $30.7 billion by 2022, with a compound annual increase rate of 23.7 percent.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for physical storage sellers, as the demand for hybrid storage solutions has also risen, keeping the sales of servers and other external storage devices stable. However, with companies needing increased storage solutions, the major cloud infrastructure providers are in the midst of a pricing war to keep clients happy not only with low tiered pricing, but several new features being introduced.

Google recently announced its rebranded cloud storage product, now called Google One. With plans starting at $1.99 for 100 GB per month, and $9.99 for 2 TB per month, it’s among one of the cheapest cloud storage options available. Other companies such as IBM focus on helping its customers make the most of their cloud storage, with its newly released IBM Storage Insights tool. This data tool allows you to analyze your cloud infrastructure to help you make financial decisions. It can help you improve data usage by deduping data, identifying inefficient use of data and utilizing AI-powered storage configuration. This free tool can help you reduce your data costs.

 Check out our best cloud storage and online backup picks below. 

Data loss happens every day, whether in the form of power shortages, disk errors, hackers, physical destruction or accidental deletion. Without a solid data backup plan, your entire business could be in danger. Insurance may cover your computers and servers after a disaster like flooding, fires or earthquakes, but your data is irreplaceable. At least 90 percent of businesses that suffer major data loss and don't have a backup system shut down within two years, according to Cloudwards.

Many businesses opt to keep their backups close at hand in private servers either onsite or offsite. However, cloud backup services have gained popularity as internet speeds and storage capacities have increased over the years. The biggest benefits to outsourcing your backup is that you don't have to dedicate your IT department to maintaining the backup storage, freeing it up for other tasks. You'll also know that your data is safe during a disaster, since it's backed up off-site.

You can also use a hybrid system, which gives you the best of both worlds and is most protective option for your data. Redundancy is highly recommended with any storage or backup feature. If something happens to one backup, having more than one means you're not limited to one recovery avenue. For example, if ransomware attacks both your working servers as well as your on-premise backup, you can turn to your cloud backup which was retained before the malware struck, making it a clean copy of you system.

State of the Industry

Cloud computing has skyrocketed in the past few years, as more companies begin to trust cloud servers and begin seeing the benefits to their workflows and their wallets. According to a 2017 report by McAfee, 93 percent of organizations use cloud services in some form, with 74 percent storing some or all of their sensitive data in public clouds.

Industry standards for security, reporting and auditing have become more structured and stringent as of late. The Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS 70) certification has been replaced with the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE 18), an updated auditing standard that every reputable information technology service must have.

The physical backup industry has seen declines in the first half of 2017, with revenue falling 16.2 percent, according to the International Data Corporation. It's clear that cloud computing will overtake traditional backup storage.

Hybrid storage is also rising, with some companies preferring not to put all their eggs in one basket. According to the McAfee study, hybrid storage grew from 19 percent to 57 percent in 2016, indicating a rapid growth of businesses that trust at least some of their data to cloud storage. Luckily, there are several backup services that accommodate backups on a public cloud and the organization's private backup server.

Best Picks

Small Business
Collaboration
Long-Term Storage
Hybrid Backup
Mac Backup
Virtual Backup
IDrive

Best for Small Business

IDrive

IDrive is a hybrid cloud backup service with online storage, file-syncing and file-sharing capabilities. The 2TB personal subscription provides exceptional value if you only need coverage for one user. It has business tier plans that fit with any size of business, especially SMBs. It's also one of the most security-conscious services we reviewed.

The business tiers have features that allow you to manage multiple computers' and devices' backups as well as perform express backups and restores. In emergencies, IDrive will ship you your data in physical storage for faster recovery. You can create a mirror image backup, schedule backup sets, adjust bandwidth usage, perform local backups, and sync and share files. Your subscription also includes IDrive Express, which is when the service sends you an external hard drive to back up to.

Egnyte

Best for Collaboration

Egnyte

Egnyte is professional cloud storage, file sharing and collaboration platform with plenty of business-centric features. It features different pricing plans for businesses of any size, all of which come with the essential tools and features that impressed us the most. The service is also flexible and can work with you to address your organization’s specific needs such as increased file size or storage options.

Within the platform, you and coworkers can collaborate and share different versions of different file types. Custom branding and URLs allows you to create a unique interface to impress clients, as well as keep your data secure with multi-factor authentication on top of 256-bit encryption. For even more protection, you can set up a hybrid system to keep and sync multiple copies of files that you can restore in case of a data loss event.

Zoolz

Best for Archiving and Long-Term Storage

Zoolz

Zoolz offers an affordable long-term or cold storage solution that also works to protect the rest of your data. It uses a "Tribrid" backup setup, storing your data in your on-location server, their Intelligent Cloud and Cold Storage, allowing you to restore your data from three different sources. The Intelligent Cloud allows users to comprehensively organize and search their data, using tools such as facial detection for photos and optical character recognition for scanned documents. Zoolz is also useful for storing large amounts of media, as you can stream your organizations video and audio files from the cloud.

Carbonite

Best for Hybrid Backup

Carbonite

Carbonite is an excellent choice for hybrid backup thanks to its EVault system that protects your data though an onsite backup and cloud backup. It's among the most efficient hybrid systems, since it backups your servers directly to a specialized appliance which then backups up that data to the cloud. The platform keeps your data available from either location and includes access to your data through a web interface where you just need to choose the files, folders or entire systems you need to restore and that location. The whole system is end-to-end encrypted for the best protection.

Backblaze

Best for Mac Backup

Backblaze

Apple computers and devices come with multiple options for personal backup, but for businesses that primarily use Mac, Backblaze features admin tools to manage and protect your business's data. It has two main offerings. The first is a straightforward backup service that protects your business's computers with unlimited storage, restoring them if they're ever compromised. You can return your computers to the state they were in up to 30 days prior if they're infected with harmful malware.

Backblaze's second option is its B2 Cloud Storage, which is a general cloud storage you can use for not just backup, but also hosting and archiving. This option is priced by how much storage and bandwidth you use and requires a third-party app, depending on what you plan on using it for. Admin preferences for both platforms are controlled from the same web interface where you can set permissions, view the backup status of your computers and upload specific files into the cloud.

Acronis

Best for Virtual Backup

Acronis

Acronis is a comprehensive backup platform that can be configured for a variety of systems, which includes for virtual environments. Developers and technicians often use virtual machines for testing and configuring new code and programs, so for efficiency's sake, it helps to have a way to restore their virtual environment to the same state over and over again. Acronis is compatible with all the major virtual machine platforms including VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V and Oracle VM Server. With this in mind, Acronis emphasizes reducing recovery time with its virtual backup and recovery, whether it's with a local, cloud or hybrid setup.

Acronis takes advantage of virtual environments for its restoration by launching your data into a virtual server you can access as it restores back into its original server, which means little to no downtime and no interruption to your operations. This platform can be accessed anywhere in the world through its secured web portal, allowing you to control your backup and restorations without having to physically interact with the computers and servers.

Reviews

Below are all our reviews for cloud storage, online backup services and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best business online backup, Mac online backup, online data backup, online storage and cloud services.

Pricing

The biggest factor in pricing for a data backup service is storage space. Common plans include base plans starting at 500GB of storage. The higher tiered plans go up to more than 1 TB. While most companies' top plans have a set capacity, many of them can adjust to accommodate clients if they need more storage. Plans are commonly paid per year; however, some companies feature month-to-month pricing plans. Typically, annual plans are discounted.

Different plans may also feature varying numbers of users, admin control accounts and other business-centric features, so pricing may depend on how large your business is. With only a few exceptions, expect to pay a few hundred dollars annually for business cloud backup services. However, if your company is smaller with only a few employees, consider the home versions of these backup services, which are considerably cheaper and can offer just as much storage.

The advantage of a full cloud backup solution is that you don't need to pay for expensive servers or software licenses. Large server rooms require dedicated IT people to maintain, so that's an area you can cut down on if you go online.

Negotiation Tips

When shopping around for a data backup service, keep in mind that many require year-long agreements, so make sure the package you're signing up for has the features and storage your business needs. Some companies charge overage fees if you exceed the amount of data you originally signed up for. Also, be aware of termination fees or cancellation notice timeframes. These are some other factors to consider before signing up:

  • 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 then recover data if the occasion arises. Most of the companies we looked at provide a free trial, so you can see firsthand if the interface is a good match for your needs.
  • Performance: While bandwidth can be a factor in how well a service uploads and downloads your data, not all are equal, and different services may offer different performance tiers. If you suffer a data loss crisis and need it back as soon as possible, then services that offer speedy recoveries may be the way to go. The same goes for throttling. You don't want your internet speeds strangled because the system is backing up and your everyday operations suffer, so controls on when to allow more bandwidth during off-hours are important.
  • Storage options: Many backup services double as cloud storage services, allowing you to store more files and freely share them among colleagues. Keep in mind that services strictly for backup don't normally allow you to store files other than what's on the hard drive or server you're backing up so that you can make clean recoveries in case of an emergency.
  • Encryption: If cybersecurity is your main concern, encryption options for your backed-up data is a must. Different software comes with various security and encryption options. A 256-bit AES level of encryption is among the highest that the best software products provide.

Choosing a Cloud Service

The cloud, in a broad sense, is now an umbrella term for several different types of services that have vastly different uses, so it's important to pick the right service for the right purpose. If your primary goal is to backup and protect your data, then you'll want a cloud service that's optimized for that, and not a service that's geared for general-use storage. You wouldn't store your priceless jewelry in a rented storage garage or warehouse; you'd keep them in a bank safety deposit box. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a service:

1. What do I need to store, and how much space do I really need?

Your first step should be analyzing your needs. If you absolutely must have a place to upload your calendar or your email and contacts, then you need a service that allows it. Additionally, you don't want to pay for more than what you'll use. Having said that, you also want to make sure the cloud service you choose grows with your business. Most of the cloud services in our guide offer seemingly unlimited space, but be prepared to pay for it, which leads to the next question:

2. What am I willing to pay?

While you can get free storage from some cloud services, it's limited. The convenience of cloud storage extends to the cost – most cloud services let you pay a low monthly fee for data storage and access. These prices generally range from $3 to $10 per month and increase as your data needs grow.

3. Is it important that I access my files from different access points (i.e., Android, iPhone, Windows, etc.)?

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, it may be preferable to choose a service that offers an app for both iPhones and Android devices. If this is necessary, avoid cloud storage providers that only service Mac users.

What Types of Cloud Services Are Available?

Cloud Backup

Companies that deal with lots of data which is vital to its day-to-day operations are no strangers to major data backup. Businesses of any size that deal with computers and data should be practicing data backup in some form, and cloud backup services make it easier than ever since they don't require any additional hardware or IT expertise.

Public vs. Private Hosts

Web developers and 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 or any other active data needs. It's like having your computer connected to the largest hard drive you can think of. These companies operate massive server farms and are dedicated to keeping them running and your data safe. These companies usually charge by how much data is uploaded and downloaded.

Long-term storage

It's common for business to be meticulous record keepers for efficiency, financial and legal reasons. Cloud storage for long-term archiving is available from numerous providers. Usually dubbed cold storage or archive storage, this type of cloud storage is normally cheaper than most other services and provides more capacity. This is because they don't have many sharing options and customers aren't expected to be accessing and retrieving files very often.

File Sharing/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 allow users to organize and share files without taking up their computer’s disk space. Many services such as Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365 have apps that allow you to draft and edit files on the cloud from your browser.

Our Methodology

We evaluated several factors when choosing which of the hundreds of cloud services to recommend. We wanted a mix of services that specialized in backup as well as general storage. While many of these services can also be used online file sharing or web hosting, we have separate review categories for those specific type of services. Other important features we looked for include: 

  • Options for unlimited storage and retention. Having these options not only allow you to not worry about using too much storage, but also makes pricing and billing simpler. While many websites list a max cap on storage, you may be able to work with the service to craft a custom plan with as much storage as you need. 
  • Options for a hybrid backup system that utilizes both local storage and cloud. We always prefer when a service offers more options that allow you to set up your backup and storage solution the way you want it, especially with the option that offers the most protection and efficiency.
  • Sync and scheduling features. These tools give you the most control over how and when your backup works. If you don't want it take up resources during the work hours, you can schedule it to run on off-hours when your network isn't being used. Inversely, if backup protection takes precedence, the option to have it constantly sync your data to the cloud is an important feature to have.
  • Bare-metal restore. This is an option to restore an image of your computer or server to new hardware in case you're upgrading or the previous one was physically damaged.

Common Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services Questions & Answers

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

Speaking as a guy who spent a decade in the hosting industry, unless security and privacy are core services you provide that your customers pay you for, I would wholeheartedly recommend the cloud. Maintaining your own infrastructure, fighting the daily fights against intrusions and DDoS attacks, upgrade and version control management, not to mention recruiting and staffing and overhead costs - all these are expensive and complicated. Significant ROI needs to exist to justify taking them...

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Have you tried OnlyDomains.com? Based in NZ. I love their service for International domains in particular. I would use NameCheap for North American domains mainly, but for the internationally domains, OnlyDomains is quite good. I would also suggest the use of some free cloud services such as: 1. Trello - to hold documents 2. Slack - collaboration tool which removes EMAIL overload 3. GoSpaces or SquareSpace - to build the website 4. OnlyDomains or NameCheap - domain registry and DNS...

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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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Services

List of 24Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

Map

OpenDrive
228 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
OpenDrive
Hightail
1919 S Bascom Ave.
Campbell, CA
Hightail
JustCloud
25 Barnes Wallis Road
Fareham,
JustCloud
SugarSync
6922 Hollywood blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA
SugarSync
Dropbox
185 Berry Street
San Francisco, CA
Dropbox
Box
37-24 24th St
Long Island City, NY
Box
Amazon Cloud Drive
410 Terry Ave North
Seattle, WA
Amazon Cloud Drive
Zoolz
26-28 Hammersmith Grove
Hammersmith,
Zoolz
Carbonite
2 Avenue de Lafayette
Boston, MA
Carbonite
Acronis
1 Van de Graaff Drive
Burlington, MA
Acronis
BackupAssist
11, 5-79 Chetwynd Street
North Melbourne,
BackupAssist
Barracuda
3175 Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA
Barracuda
CrashPlan
100 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN
CrashPlan
CloudBerry Lab
1330 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY
CloudBerry Lab
Egnyte
1350 W. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA
Egnyte
Backblaze
500 Ben Franklin Ct.
San Mateo, CA
Backblaze
R1Soft
777 North Eldridge Parkway
Houston, TX
R1Soft
Mozy
2211 Elliot Avenue
Seattle, WA
Mozy
FileShadow
2995 Woodside Road
Woodside, CA
FileShadow

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