It’s important to protect your business data because suffering a data loss might be catastrophic for your business. You can experience data loss due to a number of different reasons, including cyberattacks, hard drive failures, accidental deletions and even non-accidental, malicious actions by (ex)employees.
Let’s also not forget burglary, theft or natural disasters, such as floods or fires. Regardless of the cause, 93 percent of businesses that suffer data loss end up filing for bankruptcy within a year.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this, and the best one is to backup your business data to the cloud. That’s better than relying on even the best data recovery software, because it’s not certain it will be able to do so. You can’t rely on SSDs either, because they experience more data errors than HDDs.
By moving your data to the cloud and, more specifically, to large-scale data centers, your data will enjoy RAID-like redundancy, as well as hardened security measures, such as surveillance, fences, alarms, uninterruptible power supply, raised floors, fire suppression systems and various other means of securing your data. Data security features are available, too.
That said, relying only on the cloud is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Even with all those security measures in place, the worst could happen. A better strategy for preventing data loss is to backup to a local device. That’s part of the 3-2-1 backup rule.
To make it easy to implement that rule, some backup services enable you to perform hybrid backup, which lets you create local backups in addition to the cloud. If you want to learn more about it, consult our guide on how to set up hybrid backup for SMBs. For services that offer this feature, read our article about the best hybrid backup for business.
Now that we’ve defined why having a backup for your business is important, we’re going to make it clear how we rate business backup services.
How We Rate
Business backup services give you data protection with administrative capabilities, which lets you monitor all your backed up computer and users. However, these services vary in the number and quality of features they offer, as well as with the settings you can tweak when creating and restoring your backup.
Because of that, we use categories such as features, file backup and restoration, pricing and speed to rate and rank services. We’re going to talk about these categories below.
This category describes all the standard and not-so-standard features of a business backup service. Some services might have only bare-bones features, while others might have a multitude of features and backup-and-restore settings you can tweak.
Most services, though, offer scheduling, server backup, continuous backup, versioning, hybrid backup, speed throttling, reports and user management. That said, there are services, such as Acronis Backup and BigMIND Business, that have additional features, including various settings for backup and restore, as well as advanced photo management.
Services such as Backblaze and CrashPlan offer unlimited backup, which lets you backup entire computers without worrying about the amount of backup space you have. If you want this option, read our article about the best unlimited online backup, which discusses both of those services.
One of the most important factors when deciding on a service is how much green you’ll have to part with. There’s no point in subscribing to a service that’s going to put a huge dent into your small business finances.
It’s best if a service has plans with great value, which is determined by how much backup you get for the price. Ideally, the service would have many plans you could choose from so you would be able to find the one that best fits your needs.
It’s also helpful if the service offers a free trial, so you don’t have to subscribe on blind faith alone. Most services are value-based and offer a free trial. A good example is IDrive for Business, which provides inexpensive plans with a lot of backup space.
Its cheapest plan gets you 250GB of backup space for only $74.62 per year. Another good deal is its 1.25TB plan for $374.62 per year. You can find out more about IDrive’s pricing in our IDrive for Business review. Backblaze for Business is also a good choice, because it offers unlimited backup for only $6 per month. Read more about it in our Backblaze for Business review.
Ease of Use
Having the necessary features and paying a fair price is important, but how easy it is to use the service is equally important. A streamlined and straightforward user experience will make it simple to use the backup service. It’s best if you can easily create a backup plan and forget about the service until you need to restore files.
File Backup and Restoration
File backup and restoration are the most important features of any backup service. How they operate will determine what kind of a backup plan you can create and the ways you can restore files. We rate services on what kind of backup and restore features they offer, as well as how they work.
Some services require you to select specific files and folders for backup, while others let you backup files by type. Meanwhile, another group scans your hard drive and selects everything for backup. That’s how Backblaze works, and we like how simple it is.
You can run your backup manually, but we recommend that you turn on continuous backup, if it’s available. Continuous backup is a very useful feature because it means the desktop client will automatically backup new or changed files in the locations that you’ve selected.
You can also create a backup schedule, which usually lets you set a specific time or day for your backup.
Most services also let you backup your external hard drives and NAS devices. For services that do this, read our articles about the best online backup for external drives and the best online backup for NAS. If you’re unfamiliar with NAS, read our article about what is NAS. If you want a complete backup of your system, you can do that by creating a disk image of it.
File restoration usually involves using a desktop or web client. You can choose to restore everything that’s backed up or pick specific files. Plus, you have the option to restore files to their original location or to a new one.
Initial backups can take a while. How long depends on many factors, including your internet service provider, how close you are to the service’s data center and how much data you have to backup.
It’s best if a service lets you tweak transfer settings to improve your connection and uses a block-level transfer algorithm. Services that let you put a cap on your bandwidth get a plus, too.
It’s also great if a service provides block-level file copying, which speeds up uploads after the initial sync.
We rate services by performing several upload and download tests using a 1GB zipped folder and measuring how long they take.
There’s no point in migrating your business data to the cloud if it isn’t secure. Without strong security, you might become a victim of cybercrime.
Often, that involves someone stealing your credentials, reading your secret information or getting that information encrypted by ransomware. To avoid that, having good security is a must, so we also check how services protect your data.
Online backup services use many methods to secure your data against potential threats. That includes two-factor authentication, private encryption and protocols such as TLS. Some even have specific ransomware protection.
CrashPlan is one of the most secure business backup services, thanks to its comprehensive security arsenal. It uses every method we’ve described to protect your files, but if you want more details, read our CrashPlan review.
Strong security is important, but services should also have a solid approach to your privacy. That will help you avoid government spy programs, such as the PRISM surveillance program in the U.S. Other major countries in the surveillance market are Russia, the UK and Australia.
We give bonus points to services that adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU’s law about users’ online privacy.
It’s all fine while everything is working, but you’re going to need good technical support when things start to go south. Business services usually have email and chat support, as well as , sometimes, phone support. Before you contact the support team, though, you can often consult the knowledgebase or user forums.
We consider what types of support these backup services offer and how long they take to respond to our questions.
The Best Online Backup Providers
We created this ranking by comparing the overall performance of business backup services across the factors we defined in the previous section. In this section, we will give you a quick rundown of the top five services on the list, starting with Acronis Backup.
Acronis Backup has an extensive set of features that you can tweak to your liking, but it doesn’t come cheap.
For example, its most inexpensive plan lets you backup 250GB of data, but to use it you will need to buy both a license and backup space in the Acronis cloud. The license is $69 for the standard version or $99 for the advanced version, plus the 250GB of space is $299.
Acronis has AES 256-bit encryption and lets you manage your key, which means private encryption is available. On top of that, it uses the SSL protocol to protect files in transit. There’s also a novel feature called “acronis active protection,” which monitors your files for signs of ransomware. There’s no two-factor authentication, though.
You use Acronis’ web client to create your backup plan and initiate file restoration. It’s not a one-click solution, but it’s easy to use and doesn’t overwhelm you with the various setting options. You can learn more about Acronis in our Acronis Backup review.
Zoolz Cloud Backup gives you seven plans to choose from, all of which provide cold storage. Cold storage is usually cheaper but means your restores won’t start instantly. However, for a fee, you can add instant storage, which immediately restores your data.
The cheapest plan gets you 2TB of cold storage for $79.90 per year and the cheapest instant-storage increment is 1TB for $400 per year. That’s not among the cheapest offers, but it still beats the more expensive business backup providers.
Zoolz Cloud Backup has solid security because it uses AES 256-bit encryption, and lets you manage your encryption key. On top of private encryption, Zoolz protects your files in transit using the SSL protocol. There’s no two-factor authentication, though.
Zoolz’s desktop client presents all backup information in a clear manner and is available for Windows and macOS. The web client is also straightforward, and it provides you with all you need to manage your backup while not overwhelming you with options. If you want to know more about Zoolz’s user experience, read our Zoolz Cloud Backup for Business review.
IDrive has capable backup features and provides a great value. It’s cheapest plan gets you 250GB of backup space for only $74.62 per year. If you need more, you can get 1.25TB for $374.62 per year. In addition, each plan gets you the same amount of sync space on top of the backup space.
IDrive’s security arsenal includes AES 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication and the TLS/SSL protocol, which protects your files in transit. Plus, you can remotely disable sync for the devices on your account.
IDrive’s desktop client doesn’t feel modern or attractive, but it’s clear and easy to use. It also automatically selects common folders for backup. The web client is more attractive and enables you to easily manage your backup. It lets you preview your backup, access your sync space, share files and folders and manage users and workgroups.
Plus, IDrive has smartphone apps for Android and iOS, which can backup your mobile data. Thanks to that, we’ve placed IDrive at the top of our best online backup for mobile roundup.
CrashPlan is an unlimited backup service with a single pricing plan. It’s $10 per month per computer. Before deciding to subscribe, you can use CrashPlan’s 30-day free trial to test what the service offers.
CrashPlan uses AES 256-bit encryption, and you can opt-in to manage the encryption key yourself. On top of that, CrashPlan gives you the option of using two-factor authentication to protect your credentials.
You can use CrashPlan’s desktop client on Windows, Mac and Linux. If you’re away from your computer, your only option is to use the web client because CrashPlan no longer provides smartphone apps.
The desktop client isn’t hard to use, but the backup operation requires you to manually select files and folders for backup. The web client is functional but feels dated and unattractive.
Like the previous entry, Backblaze provides unlimited backup, but it’s even cheaper at $6 per computer per month. If you sign up for an entire year in advance, the price drops to $60 per year. If that doesn’t have you convinced, you can use its 15-day trial to make sure it’s what you need.
The pricing might be good, but its security could be better because Backblaze doesn’t offer true private encryption. That said, Backblaze uses SSL to secure your files in transit and provides two-factor authentication. It also encrypts your files at rest on its servers using AES-128 bit encryption.
Backblaze’s desktop client is available for Windows and macOS. It’s easy to use, in fact, once you finish the installation, the backup process will start automatically. The only thing you might want to tweak is file exclusion. Backblaze also offers a web client, which is straightforward, and lets you restore files and manage user groups.
The mobile app also follows this “simple” design principle. You can use it to browse backed up files, see downloaded ones and access settings. The features are bare-bones, and there’s no way to backup your files, share them or initiate restores from the app.