BackupVault Cloud Backup review: Back(up) to reality

A great choice for SMB data protection, with simple cloud storage costs and fast, slick restore features

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Lightning-fast restore times

  • +

    Predictable storage costs

  • +

    Smart, simple configuration


  • -

    Price based on uncompressed data size

There’s no shortage of online backup solutions for SMBs to choose from, but BackupVault stands out thanks to its simple pricing scheme. The price is based solely on how much data you want backed up to the cloud, so you pay a predictable monthly fee with no nasty surprises.

Don’t confuse this with competing services that charge according to how much storage your data takes up once compressed. That can be good value, but compression ratios are dependent on the type of data you’re working with, and the provider is under no obligation to use the most efficient algorithms – so your outgoings could fluctuate significantly from month to month as your backup needs evolve.

Prices for BackupVault start at £24 per month for 50GB, and you can add capacity at any time in increments of 100GB, which get cheaper as you move up the scale. The standard service includes round-the-clock UK telephone support and a rolling 30 to 60-day retention period for all file versions, with backups older than 31 days automatically deleted on the first day of the following month. If you need more than this, you can pay a 10% supplement to upgrade to a 12-month retention period.

For small offices with one server and a few PCs, the BackupVault client can be installed on each system and configured locally. For larger deployments, BackupVault also offers a free central management console app that provides remote client access, system recovery and bare-metal restore services. To get set up you just need to enter your host name, account password and encryption key. It’s imperative that you keep a record of this key, as it’s needed to restore your data and BackupVault has no access to it.

The client interface is easy to use, showing you both local and network storage and allowing you to choose what you want to protect. You can back up individual files and folders, entire drives or complete systems, and extra options become available if certain apps or services are installed. On our Hyper-V host, an additional tab appeared for VM backups, while our Exchange and SQL Server hosts had tabs for the relevant apps. The software let us click to select individual SQL databases for backup, although when it came to Exchange we were only able to select entire data stores because BackupVault doesn’t support message-level backups.

Backups can be run on demand or scheduled at regular intervals, and for hybrid strategies you can copy data to a secondary location – such as a local NAS appliance – as well as your cloud storage. If you have a large amount of data to protect, you can hit the ground running with a free vault-seeding service, which lets you send in your first set of backups on encrypted USB media, rather than waiting for it all to upload over the internet.

BackupVault passed our restore tests with flying colours. The recovery procedures are easy to use and we’re big fans of the InstantData feature, which uses a combination of sparse files and a proprietary kernel driver to greatly reduce the wait time to access files stored in the cloud: we found that this allowed us to start working on recovered files just a few seconds after the restore process had started. We also tried restoring a 2.4GB MP4 video file from the cloud using InstantData and, while playback was quite jerky, we were able to skip to any part of the video and view it within 20 seconds of starting the restore. With conventional restore methods over our fibre broadband connection, we’d have been looking at a wait of around 90 minutes before being able to open the file.

Lastly, there’s a handy option to restore your files to a local virtual drive, meaning you can check back on older versions without replacing current ones or creating potentially confusing duplicates.

BackupVault Cloud Backup is a fine choice for SMBs, providing easily managed data protection services and almost instant access to your backed-up data – and its simple pricing structure keeps storage costs under control as well.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.