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When it comes to backups and cybersecurity, you can never be too safe, especially when it comes to your files. When we use our computers, everything we save feels permanent, but that permanence is - quite frankly - an illusion. Everything saved is saved somewhere on a physical drive, which means that far from existing in some ethereal cloud, your files can be lost.
Your computer could just break one day from wear, have water spilled on it, be dropped, or even locked-in with a ransomware attack. This isn't even to mention the fact that hard drives decay. In fact, every single hard drive and SSD WILL fail at some point - it's just a matter of when. All of these issues explain why online backup services have exploded in popularity over the last several years.
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Specializing in most services regarding computers, Acronis is a Swiss-based technology company that has been providing security, support, and backup services since 2006. With responsive customer support, a good student discount, and a nice range of services - from basic to blockchain-secured - Acronis is by far the best online backup choice for those seeking extensive support, and offers an impressive range of options for securing your critical files.
With a wide range of plans encompassing most price points, iDrive is by far the best budget provider on our list. It feels unfair to call it "budget" , however: even as it offers by far the lowest price, it also outperforms many higher-cost online backup services across most metrics. Whether storage, security, or backups are what you're looking for, then you will find it with iDrive, and - more than likely - for less than you would've expected.
With its ease of use and network attached storage, Elephant Drive is an excellent choice for those wanting a fairly priced, simple online backup service. With network attached storage to easily sync files between devices, and automatic file versioning, Elephant Drive is convenient and simple. While not the most secure due to its lack of multi-factor authentication, it still very well could be a good choice if security isn't your main concern.
At first glance, Backblaze seems like one of the best online backup deals out there, offering unlimited data storage with their low-cost plan. However, Backblaze does not offer more comprehensive security or backup solutions - such as complete disk imaging - and their services are limited to one computer per subscription. As such, while a good choice for those seeking online backup services on a budget, Backblaze is ultimately not the best you can find.
Crashplan offers budget business backups at a slightly more than budget price. At $10 per computer per month, the price is certainly not bad. However, customer reviews of Crashplan tend to be overwhelmingly negative, and reveal an unhelpful customer service department for their non-enterprise customers, in addition to difficulty actually retrieving their backed-up data. In short, you get what you pay for, and keep that in mind as you review Crashplan for your small business.
Carbonite Safe is an online backup service that offers personal plans for single computers, and business solutions for up to 25 computers, in addition to server backups. We don't recommend Carbonite Safe for most clients, as services that are included in other companies' base plans - such as the physical mailing of backups - are simply not offered by Carbonite Safe without subscribing to their "Premium" plan. In addition, they were found to have engaged in fake-review posting in 2006, and artificially throttling customer upload speeds in 2012. In short, while there is nothing bad about Carbonite Safe's services themselves, the company has a history of shady practices, and you are likely to get a better value with a more highly-rated online backup provider.
SugarSync is a file syncing service that includes online backup options for the file sync/storage you've purchased. There is very little to recommend about SugarSync: whether security, storage space, or cost, other companies do everything SugarSync does - but better. In addition, SugarSync has a history of poor customer communication (as during a service outage in 2022) and as such, we think you'll likely find a better deal with a more highly-rated online backup service.
Under the ownership of J2 Global, LiveDrive seems to be an overpriced backup service bought up by a tech holding company to pad their investment portfolio. LiveDrive has no security features, and if you want to cancel your service, you have to do so by phone during UK business hours, or via a printed form mailed to the UK. As such, we think LiveDrive is very nearly a scam, and is best avoided. If you need an online backup service, there are much better providers on our list who offer more services at a much lower cost.
iBackup charges far too much for their limited services. Instead of simply preventing the user from backing up more data than is in their contract, iBackup charges an outrageous $2 per gigabyte per month fine for excess backup. When combined with their deceptive pricing and poor (though infrequent) customer reviews, there really is nothing to recommend about iBackup's services. While it seems budget-friendly, iBackup's lackluster service and expensive storage fines makes it likely you'll be better served by a different budget provider.
Online backup services are super convenient. Gone are the days when users had to manually transfer data to external hard drives or rely on physical backups that could be lost or damaged. Online backup services automate the process, running in the background and ensuring that data is continuously backed up. This automation makes it easy on users and eliminates the need for manual backups, saving both time and effort.
Another reason why online backup services are so popular is they are an efficient and cost-effective solution for data management. Traditional backup methods often required substantial investments in physical hardware, such as extra hard drives, discs, and cables. These would have to be upgraded as technology (and storage limits) increased. Then, to prevent against environmental damage (such as fire or rain), the backup data needed to be physically moved and stored at another location. Online backup services, on the other hand, offer scalable, pay-as-you-go pricing models, require no additional equipment, and enjoy built-in offsite storage.
Furthermore, online backup services offer continuing technology improvements at no additional cost. Many providers offer advanced features like versioning, which allows users to retrieve previous versions of files, and continuous backup, which ensures that even the smallest changes are saved throughout the day. This not only enhances data integrity but also offers peace of mind, knowing that the data is always up-to-date and recoverable.
There are a host of services out there to help you save critical data and protect your computer from damage or malicious actors. However it can be a bit confusing when it comes to finding the right online backup service that meets your particular needs.
Here are some features to look for when comparing the various online backup services:
While some things involving computers can feel overwhelming, and saved files are in no way as permanent as they seem, some simple and prudent steps taken today can save you a host of headaches (or the pain of lost photographs, memories, or critical work) down the line. To that end, we've collected the best services we could find and rated them based on their reliability, price, and technical merits. We here at Top Consumer Reviews hope that our curated list can help you make an informed choice as you take steps to secure your critical files.
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