The 8 Best Cloud Backup Services of 2019
Keep your data safe in the event of hard drive failure
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Whether it's your work computer or personal computer, backups are incredibly important. Depending on the steps you take to secure your devices, you can still be at risk of data loss from hard drive failure, power surges, ransomware, and any other number of threats that can destroy, delete, or remove your access to your data.
A cloud backup service saves your computer data to an offsite location so it isn't only on your hard drive. Looking past its abstract name, "the cloud" refers to physical data centers around the world, filled with rows of Internet-connected computer servers. Backups that are saved to the cloud are accessible to you but safe from any damage that may come to your computer's hard drive. If you accidentally leave your computer in a cab or spill coffee on the keyboard, having a cloud backup can prevent you from losing all that data.
When choosing a service, be sure to read the company's website and familiarize yourself with its privacy and data security policies. Read on for our picks of the best cloud backup services available today.
Backblaze is our pick for the best overall cloud backup service thanks to a combination of robust features and reasonable costs. Backblaze backs up your computer and attached external hard drives starting for $5 per month, $50 per year, or $95 for two years at the time of this writing. This price-per-computer includes unlimited data, so you never have to worry about upgrading or running out of space.
The software is simple to use: just install the program on your Windows or Mac computer, enter your account information, and Backblaze takes care of the rest. All files are automatically updated each time they are added or edited. You can view or restore files with a free .zip download, a $99 USB flash drive sent to your home with up to 128GB of data (mail it back within 30 days for a refund), or a hard drive with up to 4TB of data for $189.
Data is secured with SSL, a personal security key, and a native app that doesn’t require external software. You can even use Backblaze to help locate a lost or stolen computer. All things considered, this service is a great choice for secure cloud backups.
Carbonite is one of the most well-known cloud backup services, and it's also one of the best. It costs a bit more, starting at $6 per month for one computer and $24 per month for multiple computers. The basic package only includes unlimited backup for your main hard drive — adding external and video backups costs $9.34 per month. But you can save 20% when you pay for two years or 30% when you pay for three years up front.
The all-in pricing and package is a little more expensive than Backblaze for the same thing. However, some higher-tiered plans at Carbonite do offer more secure 256-bit encryption instead of the 128-bit you get from the basic plans.
Carbonite is full-featured and offers some of the most cutting-edge services out there for business and personal backups. If you are willing to pay for the premium service, you may find Carbonite to be a good choice for your backups.
SOS Online Backup is one of the cheapest cloud backup services available. Plans start at $3.75 per month when you pay for a year in advance or $4.99 paid monthly. SOS Online Backup for Home includes backups for up to five computers and unlimited smartphones. This backup comes with high-end 256-bit security, optional private encryption keys, and unlimited backup and version histories.
Pricing is based on storage, and as your needs grow so does the cost. The lowest-cost plan includes 50GB of storage. Plans go up to 10TB for $299.99 per month. One benefit is that you just pay for what you use, but as your needs pass 100GB, you may be able to find cheaper options with other services.
If you live and breathe all things Apple when it comes to tech, you would probably do best with the iCloud cloud storage and backup service from Apple. It comes with native integration and support for Mac and iOS computers and devices. While it isn’t a full-computer backup, you can easily use it to back up your most important files.
Because of the deep integration with Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices, backups are automatic across selected areas of your computer or phone. That includes photos and videos, documents, the desktop, and other selected folders. The iCloud Drive works similarly to Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Pricing scales up with your needs. Prices are very reasonable, and you start out with 5GB for free. From there, pay $0.99 per month for 50GB, $2.99 per month for 200GB, or $9.99 for 2TB. These plans are shareable across your family, which is a useful way to manage your costs as your data needs change across members of your household.
IDrive is another secure backup option in the cloud. The basic plan gives you 5GB of cloud backup and storage for free. The personal plan includes 2TB for $52.12 per year or 5TB for $74.62 per year. One big benefit that sets this service apart: the personal plans include unlimited computers.
IDrive includes continuous backups for multiple computers and devices, the ability to view and open files, backups for external hard drives and network attached storage (NAS), and a free annual backup with a physical media shipment each year.
IDrive even works on Linux and includes compliance for HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), and SEC/FINRA requirements. Even if your computer stores sensitive data, IDrive is a solid option.
"Ransomware" refers to a type of computer virus that locks you out of your data unless you pay a fee to a cybercriminal (which may or may not work out). Acronis personal computer backup includes an artificial intelligence designed to automatically detect, stop, and remove this type of malware. For many, this advanced layer of security can go a long way towards peace of mind.
Acronis offers the regular backup features you would expect as well, including automatic backups via its own application. Acronis is one of the most security-centric cloud backup providers, with additional blockchain-based security as well.
Acronis personal products are on sale as of this writing, charging $34.99 for the basic standard version, $24.99 for the advanced one-year subscription with cloud backups, and $49.99 for the premium version for one year. These include one computer and 250GB of storage for the advanced subscription and 1TB with premium. Additional computers and storage are available for an additional fee.
Over a billion people use Gmail, Google’s popular free email program. If you're one of them, you can use your existing Google account to access Google Drive and the add-on Google Backup and Sync app, which links to your Google Drive account for cloud backups.
While the software can be slow and a bit clunky to work with, it does the job and the price is right. With Google One, the name for the unified storage service including Google Drive, 100GB of storage runs $1.99 per month, 200GB costs $2.99, and 2TB costs $9.99 per month, with higher tiers available as well.
Backup and Sync works like a super-powered Dropbox. It gives you the option to backup and sync one Google Drive folder or multiple folders. It also links to Google Photos, so your backed up photos show up in that app automatically too.
While Dropbox is not made to back up your entire computer, you can get effectively the same protection if you use this cloud drive as a primary repository for all of your files and photos. Because Dropbox automatically keeps your Dropbox folder synced to the cloud, all files in your Dropbox are essentially protected with cloud backup.
One major benefit: Dropbox accounts are free to start. While it lacks the more advanced features of a designated backup service, a free Dropbox account gives you up to 2GB of cloud storage that you can access anywhere. The paid 1TB plan runs $8.25 per month and gives you access to some additional features. The Professional Plan runs $16.58 per month and includes 2TB of data and a wide range of features like smart sync, advanced sharing and collaboration tools, and remote device wipe.
All Dropbox plans can link a smartphone for automatic camera backups, which is another great feature for keeping your data safe. If you don’t have the full backup needs of some computer users, a Dropbox account may act as a good substitute.