Best online cloud backup

Cloud filing cabinet storage

One of the benefits of the cloud is that storage is so flexible, allowing you to up or down scale on demand and that's why it's s well-suited to backing up data, whether you're looking just to store your information or an entire organisation's data in one place.

You may already be using the cloud for storage and collaboration, but the cloud's been designed to run applications efficiently too and this is why it's such a good option for backups and disaster recovery if something goes wrong and you need to restore all that data.

If you haven't migrated to the cloud yet and are using an on-premise data centre, have you considered what would happen should there be a power outage or if there's a flood or fire and that data centre is destroyed, would you be able to cope if you lost all of your business' vital data?

Another of the benefits of the cloud is that whatever happens to your on-premise facility, it will be safe and sound in the cloud, with no risk of natural disasters affecting your backups.

But the cloud backup and recovery market can be confusing, with lots of options. Although this means there's something to perfectly align with your business needs, it can be quite a challenge to find that perfect match. Not sure where to look? Our guide to the best cloud backup services should go some way towards finding the perfect answer for your business.

Choosing a cloud backup service can be an arduous task. There are thousands of services available and each offers something different. What's absolutely vital is identifying your business's specific needs, including whether your industry is highly regulated, how much data you'll need to back up and what that data is.

Companies in the finance and healthcare sectors, for example, may need an option that offers local hosting to ensure they adhere to local data laws. In general, you may also want to think about local data centres if you have a vast amount of data to back up too, because restoring all that information can take a long time if your data centre is halfway across the world.

For any business backing up data to the cloud, security should be paramount. Make sure you’re using a service that offers enterprise-level encryption to ensure that if your data does, by some chance, fall into the wrong hands, it cannot be used.

Our guide to the best online cloud backup explores some of the most popular cloud backup services, including their headline features, cost and which type of businesses they're suited to, so you can make an informed choice for your business.

Best online cloud backup – Crashplan Pro


Price: From $4 per user, per month

Crashplan Pro provides unlimited online storage for one computer and an unlimited number of external drives for $10 per month. Users can use the service on a monthly basis or take out yearly subscriptions.

Once set up, Crashplan allows the user to backup specific directories (such as ones containing user's data) or the whole computer. Once started the service chugs along uploading files at around 2.5 - 3.5Mbps, barely taking up any computer resources. There is also deleted file protection, so if you have accidentally deleted a file on your computer, you will be able to retrieve it from the service.

The service offers continuous backup as well as daily and weekly backups. Data is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption. As well as Windows and Mac version, apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Best online cloud backup – Backblaze


Price: $50 per year per computer (Backblaze for Business)

Cheaper than Crashplan Pro, Backblaze also offers unlimited online storage for one PC or Mac, including backups of external drives.

The service backs up all data files and then only backs up new or changed files as you work. Instead of selecting which files are stored, Backblaze backs up all data regardless of where it is stored or its file size. Files can be restored via the service's web interface and backup is continuous.

The business service offers centralised administration for billing, reports, licencing and set up. It encrypts files using a 128-bit AES key and data is transferred via SSL to its datacentres. Companies can have additional security by choosing a passphrase that can be used to encrypt a private key. It also promises that the data centre is security and constantly monitored.

Best online cloud backup – iDrive


Price: Business 250GB backup plus 250GB Sync Space - $74.62 for first year.

This service does not offer unlimited storage but does promise incremental and compressed backup of your files for high performance.

Backed up computers can be remotely managed and admins can carry out backups, restores, and more via a web console.

The service also offers backup via physical storage shipments. Servers can be backed up to the cloud. These include MS SQL Server, MS Exchange Server, VMware, Hyper-V, MS SharePoint Server, Oracle Server and Linux servers.

There is also a hybrid solution called iDrive Vault that performs a local backup using the Vault appliance for faster backups and restores. Users can choose data from their Vault appliance to be backed up to the iDrive cloud, for access in the event of a disaster.

Data is encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption during transfer and storage. Users can choose a private encryption key for an additional layer of security.

Best online cloud backup – LiveDrive


Price: from £30 per month (Business Express)

LiveDrive is pretty cheap for a business online backup service and offers a host of other features that you may not find with other providers.

The Express service offers 2TB of cloud storage space and will back up all computers in an office. Backups can be monitored from the web and users can restore files from the cloud of using LiveDrive’s restore software.

Each user (three in the Express version, 10 plus in the Standard version) gets their own private storage space. Organisations can also set up team folders for group working and collaboration. This means that files can be synced between Macs and Windows PCs in an office.

The service uses 256-bit military-grade encryption and data is stored only in UK datacentres.

Best online cloud backup – Acronis True Image Online Unlimited


Price: From £45 per year (Standard)

This service offers a full system image backup rather than selected files and folders. While Acronis offers normal backup software that you can use to backup data to an external drive, the Cloud Storage offering for business offers backups for not only desktop and laptop computers, but also VMware vSphere virtual machines as well as other physical and virtual servers (physical Windows / Linux or virtual VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, KVM, RHEV or Oracle VM Server hosts).

For the backing up of an entire infrastructure, the service also offers seeding where full system backups are made to an external hard drive and posted to the vendor where it seeds this in the Acronis cloud. Smaller incremental backups are made via the cloud. Large scale restorations can also be made via a physical hard drive shipped back to your organisation to avoid network bottlenecks.

The service uses AES-256 encryption to protect data and the data within the cloud is secured by around the clock security personnel and video surveillance. The data centres are SSAE-16 certified. For UK customers, data is stored in a datacentre in France.

Best online cloud backup – SugarSync


Price: From $55 a month (Business plan)

SugarSync allows users to backup any folder they have on their computer with the basic business account giving each account 1TB of capacity to be shared between users. Customer plans are available for organisations with more the ten staff.

The service offers a main administration account but other users can also have admin rights if needs be. The admin options allow the management of devices. Selected computers can be removed from the account with removing data from synced folders. These can also be wiped for security purposes.

Files synced to the cloud can be accessed via SugarSync’s web and mobile apps for easy access. Apps are available for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. File backup is continuous and offers file version control and recovery.

Data is secured in transit by TLS and encrypted using 256-bit AES.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.