Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

by Business.com Editorial StaffLast Modified: January 3, 2018

Intro
State of the Industry
Best Picks
Reviews
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
Three Questions to Ask Yourself
Deciphering Cloud Services
Getting the Most out of Cloud Services
Map
Services
Compare Quotes

The Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services For 2018

Without a solid data backup plan, your entire business could be in danger. Data loss happens every day, whether in the form of power shortages, disk errors, hackers, physical destruction or accidental deletion. If your business is in an area prone to disasters like flooding, fires or earthquakes, insurance may cover your computers and servers, but your data is irreplaceable. Data recovery software and services may help you, but they're never a sure thing. 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. Backup services have dedicated staff with the sole purpose of making sure your backup is secure. The cloud server is usually far away from your business, so if it happens to be met with disaster, you'll know that your data is safe. Some companies are optimal for keeping backups locally and in the cloud.

State of the Industry

If your business is just launching or you're considering moving your data from a legacy system to a cloud-based solution, there may be some hesitation to trust a third party with your sensitive data, whether it's trade secrets or customer information.

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. As the technology becomes more available and faster, the distrust of public cloud storage has dropped from 50 percent to 29 percent in 2016.

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 16), 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 Businesses
Collaboration
Migrating
Hybrid Backup
Mac
iDrive

Best for Small Businesses

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, and the desktop app performed exceptionally well in our tests. In addition, the desktop app is the easiest app to use for a novice user despite the comprehensive features. It's the only service that provides drive seeding and courier recovery as part of the subscription. It's also one of the most security-conscious services we reviewed. The Business edition has features that allow you to manage multiple computers' and devices' backups as well as express backup and restore. In emergencies, IDrive will ship you up to 3TB of your data in physical storage. The backup features are comprehensive. 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. This makes the process much faster.

IDrive's RAID servers are designed to be efficient and fast, protected in secure facilities with HVAC temperature control systems. The service uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. In addition, the encryption occurs before the data is uploaded to the servers, which means that the encryption keys are never stored on the servers.

SugarSync - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

Best for Collaboration

SugarSync - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

SugarSync offers some of the best file-syncing and collaboration tools along with secure, dependable backup services. It hot-syncs, meaning the backup runs constantly in the background and allows you to access any file from a web browser, the desktop app or the mobile app. It allows file versioning, so if someone overwrites something important, you can go back to the previous version. You can even share files via social media. It also employs TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption for extra security.

SugarSync for Business does not offer unlimited space for online backups. Business accounts start at 1TB for one to three users. If you need more, you can contact SugarSync for a customized account. The service enables you to share files via Facebook, Twitter, email IM or your blog. It tracks downloads and lets you disable links at will. You can also share folders with team members, syncing them across everyone's devices. Folder sharing includes setting permissions.

Zoolz

Best for Migrating

Zoolz

Zoolz small business cloud storage has found clever ways to address every concern you might have about making the transition to cloud storage. The ability to personalize your plan and very reasonable pricing are some of the best features of this service. This business cloud storage offers efficiency and convenience at every level.

The transition to business cloud storage can be daunting just based on the time it takes to transfer all of your data from your current storage modes. Zoolz allows you to use a utility to copy and encrypt data on external media and mail it to the company. It transfers the files at its data centers, without access to any of it because of the encryption. Then it returns the storage device to you. This mail-in service will save time for the initial backup, and you can also mail more data in this way at any time during your Zoolz subscription.

Carbonite

Best for Hybrid Backup

Carbonite

Not everyone trusts the cloud or offsite backups, but having your only backup on location is a danger as well. After all, if a disaster strikes or an electrical issue or virus attacks your computers, it could get to your local system. Hybrid backups give you the best of both worlds, storing your information in the cloud, meaning on the online backup service's computers, as well as on local hardware.

Carbonite is an excellent choice for hybrid backup because of its E2 hybrid system, which combines the speed of onsite recovery with the added security of cloud backup. Carbonite is a well-known online service for backing up data for personal or business use. Its business plans run from 250GB to 1TB, and it secures to TLS 1.2, which is greater than the current bank standard. It offers a hybrid plan in which it supplies you with specialized hardware for backup storage as well as cloud storage. The E2 supports all popular operating systems and backups, including virtualized networks, and has a browser-based portal to make it easy to recover files.

iCloud

Best for Mac

iCloud

If your office is on an Apple/Mac ecosystem, the most obvious solution is the easiest. iCloud can be used for backup and business storage uses, and the iWork app turns it into an office-wide solution. It's one of the cheapest services on our list – you can upgrade to 2TB of storage for $9.99 per month, shared between multiple users.

In our tests, the backup was consistently fast. At the average rate that we recorded, if the rate remained constant, iCloud could complete a backup of 1TB of data in just over a week. The ease of use for the backup process received an average score because the sync folder has no inherent process to guide you through the process, but after you do it once, it becomes very easy.

Reviews

Below are all of 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. See all of our reviews below.

Pricing

The biggest factor in pricing for a data backup service is storage space. Common plans include a base 500GB of storage. They are commonly paid per year; however, some companies feature month-to-month pricing plans. Typically, the plans with longer pay periods are overall cheaper and feature discounts.

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 to going with 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 yearlong 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Encryption: If cybersecurity is your main concern, then encryption options for your backed-up data is a must. Different software comes with various security and encryption options. A 256-bit level of encryption is among the highest that the best software products provide.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Cloud Service

  1. What do I need to store, and how much space do I really need? Before you can settle on a service, first analyze 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 or your music and photo collection. 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.

 Accessing Files from Your Phone
Mobility is the biggest convenience of technology today. For so long, you could only work at the office or take your physical work home with you. Cloud services make it easier than ever for you to access files, emails and contacts through your phone or tablet, which expands your office to your morning commute on the train, to the coffeehouse while you grab a latte or even on the beach, if that's where you want to work.

Being able to access data from your mobile device also means that your clients can do the same. So, you can meet with a client outside of an office, or simply send a link to a file, which can be viewed, or even edited, immediately. This level of convenience is available from most cloud services.

What About Security?
When you have control over where your data goes and who can access it, you get to decide how you protect that data and access. You may have an IT team that manages the security of your servers and hardware, which can be comforting. Relinquishing that control can be scary, but security over the cloud has improved and increased over the years.

One of the biggest concerns about security is a data breach. If you store usernames and passwords, proprietary information or other confidential information, a data breach can be devastating. The good news is most cloud services employ encryption to protect your information and multiple authentication processes for logins.

Deciphering Cloud Services

With some of the world s most prominent tech companies rolling out cloud services, cloud computing has become all the rage. Yet confusion about what the cloud actually is and how it works seems to be growing, not diminishing. It s not just consumers who are puzzled; many business owners, corporate professionals and even some IT people don t fully comprehend this nebulous concept. So what exactly do companies and techies mean when they refer to the cloud? Here we shed some light on the cloud and cloud services to help you navigate the bewildering tech talk.

Tackling the Cloud
The cloud is nothing more than a warm and fuzzy abstract metaphor for the internet, or more literally, the vast array of storage servers around the globe that comprise it. When a file is stored in the cloud, this simply means the file resides on one of those servers and can be accessed through an internet connection. Cloud applications, such as web-based email, work in the same way; you access the application through a web browser or app on an internet-connected device. Applications and files in the cloud differ from local ones, which are saved locally on a computer hard drive.

What Is a Cloud-Based Service?
In the broadest sense, cloud-based services can be any type of web service or application that lives in the cloud and is accessed online. For instance, Google s Gmail is a cloud-based service, as is Facebook. Both sites are vastly different in purpose but are by definition cloud-based services because of how they operate: you access the service, and the files you save through them, on the internet.

Differentiating Cloud Service Providers
It seems that everyone has a slightly different definition of what a cloud service is and what it should provide. While not all cloud services are created equal, they do provide the same basic functionality. Cloud services provide computing as a service rather than a product, essentially giving you your own personal hard drive in the cloud, or online. You can upload and store your files on the provider s servers, via an internet connection, rather than locally on your own computer or other storage device.

The advantages of using a cloud service are numerous. Most appealing is the fact that you can access any of your stored files   photos, music, Word documents and more   from any internet connection on a computer or handheld device. This gives you convenient access to your files no matter where you are. It also ensures you ll never lose your files if your local hard drive is damaged or stolen.

Truth be told, the cloud is simple and there s a good chance you re already using some type of cloud-based service. How you utilize the cloud moving forward is highly dependent on your habits and the types of digital content you most frequently use. Regardless, a solid understanding of what the cloud is and how it works will help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to this revolutionary technology.

Getting the Most out of Cloud Services

So you decided to make the move to cloud services and the accompanying cloud software. While many of the cloud applications features are similar to computer desktop versions, there are some additional tips and workflows we d love to share with you. You ll get the most out of any cloud services you decide to choose, including syncing it with your computers and mobile and handheld devices.

Working with Email, Contacts and Calendar

As we mentioned in our reviews of the excellent and refined Apple MobileMe and Google Apps, it s easy to keep track of your email, contacts (address book) and calendar, in the cloud, on your computer and on your mobile device. This is the big benefit of cloud services: syncing multiple devices, so you re not dragging your laptop with you to keep track of your messages, phone numbers and schedule.

With MobileMe cloud services, you simply log onto the website to check the array of cloud software, such as Email, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery (photos or videos), iDisk (virtual hard drive) and Find My iPhone. You can do this from any Mac or Windows computer s web browser (latest versions of Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer are supported), and you ll always stay up-to-date on everything.

 If you don t want to go onto a browser, it s very easy to setup your Mac s Mail, Address Book and iCal software applications to sync with the MobileMe versions. Make sure you re running the latest version of Mac OS X. Go into your System Preferences pane, and click on MobileMe under Internet & Wireless.

From there, setup your Account info (username and password), then click on Sync and checkmark the items you want to sync with your desktop and MobileMe cloud services. iDisk and Back to My Mac allows syncing of the iDisk and file sharing between compatible devices, respectively.

Now you ll have your MobileMe account and your Apple computer synced up. If you re on a Windows PC, you ll need the latest versions of the MobileMe Control Panel, Outlook and iTunes. Launch the MobileMe Control Panel, select MobileMe (Network and Internet) and enter your log-in information.

From there, click Sync and choose  Sync with MobileMe  and  Automatically.  From there, checkmark everything you want to sync to your MobileMe cloud, such as Email, Contacts, Calendar and more. Hit the Sync Now button. For email, you can use Outlook or Windows Mail, but make sure you re using an IMAP setting.

If you re on an Apple iOS device, such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, click on Settings; under accounts, choose MobileMe and put in your log-in information. Turn on Mail, Contacts, and the rest you wish to sync. Then click  Merge with MobileMe,  and you re set. You can setup other devices, such as the Blackberry, Google Android and even Google Apps.

We hope this starts guide to using cloud services helps you get the most out of key features found in MobileMe and Google Apps cloud services. Make sure you check out the respective reviews to learn more about uploading and sharing photos and videos, files and more.

Map

Box - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services
37-24 24th St
Long Island City, NY
Box - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services
iDrive
900 Jefferson Ave
Redwood City, CA
iDrive
Microsoft Azure
6922 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Microsoft Azure
Zoolz
26-28 Hammersmith Grove
Hammersmith,
Zoolz
Google Drive
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA
Google Drive
R1Soft
777 North Eldridge Parkway
Houston, TX
R1Soft
Backblaze
500 Ben Franklin Ct
San Mateo, CA
Backblaze
SOS Online Backup
999 N. Sepulveda Blvd
El Segundo, CA
SOS Online Backup
Backup & Recovery Server
1 Van de Graaff Drive
Burlington, MA
Backup & Recovery Server
System Recovery
15950 Dallas Pkwy
Dallas, TX
System Recovery
Symantec System Backup Exec 15
350 Ellis Street
Mountain View, CA
Symantec System Backup Exec 15
Acronis Backup
1 Van de Graaff Drive
Burlington, MA
Acronis Backup
BackupAssist
11, 5-79 Chetwynd Street
North Melbourne,
BackupAssist
Barracuda Yosemite Server Backup Plus 10.4
3175 Winchester Blvd
Campbell, CA
Barracuda Yosemite Server Backup Plus 10.4
Vembu BDR
Chennai One Special Economic Zone 200ft Road
Thoraipakkam Chennai,
Vembu BDR
Carbonite
2 Avenue de Lafayette
Boston, MA
Carbonite
JustCloud Business
25 Barnes Wallis Road
Fareham,
JustCloud Business
MozyPro
2211 Elliot Avenue
Seattle, WA
MozyPro
Egnyte - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services
1350 W. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA
Egnyte - Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services
Amazon Cloud Drive
410 Terry Ave North
Seattle, WA
Amazon Cloud Drive
iCloud
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA
iCloud
Total Backup Recovery
184 Technology Drive
Irvine, CA
Total Backup Recovery
GRBackPro
Casella Postale 37
Grugliasco Centro,
GRBackPro
Backup for Workgroups
PO Box 4662
Scottsdale, AZ
Backup for Workgroups
Continuous Data Protection
2929 Allen Pkwy
Houston, TX
Continuous Data Protection
Yosemite Server Backup
3175 Winchester Blvd
Campbell, CA
Yosemite Server Backup
Altaro Backup
3737 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC
Altaro Backup
Acronis True Image Cloud
1 Van de Graaff Drive
Burlington, MA
Acronis True Image Cloud

Services

List of 38Best Cloud Storage and Online Backup Services

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