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One thing that keeps many computer users and business owners awake at night is how they would recover from a data loss event or security breach.
Hard drives are wonderful devices for storing more information now than ever before. But even with the advent of more solid-state (moving parts) storage components, hard drives are still prone to occasional failure, damage, intrusion, or accidental erasure.
Tuesday, January 19th
Backblaze provides unlimited storage for a low price. Combined with an easy setup process and an array of options and integration points, Backblaze proves hard to beat when it comes to online backups.
2 backup plans to choose from
Backblaze offers two online backup plans - Personal Backup and Business Backup. B2 Cloud Storage is available for both plans.
For servers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) on the Business Backup plan, Backblaze uses Cloudberry for server backup and integrations from Synology, QNAP, TrueNAS, and dozens of other vendors.
B2 Cloud Storage is $5/month/terabyte, which is about a fourth of the price of Amazon S3. It lets you backup and archive, move legacy tape archives to B2, manage and store large amounts of media files, and build apps storage for your custom desktop and mobile applications.
Excellent customer reviews
Reviews of Backblaze are very positive. Users like its low cost for unlimited storage and the easy setup. Strong security settings and the mailed backup drive are also well received. It seems to resonate with novices and experts alike. In fact, its only flaw seems to be a lack of support for Linux systems.
Due to its strong security, low cost, unlimited storage, and easy setup, as well as options for NAS and integration with so many vendors, we give Backblaze the highest rating.
The Acronis online file backup system offers a fully-enabled file backup and recovery ecosystem. Their backups are mirror-image recreations of your files, cloning of entire disks, and recovery through all-in-one drives.
Easy access to backed up files
You can access your files from Acronis from a cloud backup from any location on any device that has Internet access. You can also log in and change backup settings remotely, sync your files, and share them with others.
Acronis uses artificial intelligence to monitor and stop cryptojacking and ransomware attacks. It verifies that your data is secure and backed up completely using blockchain verification and notarization technologies - the same blockchain technology used by cryptocurrency firms to validate high-value financial transactions.
With their automated dual protection system, your files exist on your computer and in the cloud, resulting in an off-site copy for recovery in case your local files get damaged or erased.
Given that laptop batteries can quickly drain during backup operations, Acronis manages the intensity of its resource usage based on minimum power level settings you designate. In the taskbar tray of your computer's operating system, you can watch the status of your backups in real-time. And, you can choose which specific WiFi connections you trust for the backup to be secure and reliable.
The backup software is simple and elegant with just the visually-represented information you need to get a good impression of how the backup and restore process is going.
During independent testing, Acronis was measured against Carbonite, IDrive, and Backblaze. It came out on top as the fastest online backup solution of the four. The reason it performs so quickly is, in part, due to its use of versioning, only updating the data that changed since the prior backup. Full backups, given their very nature, still take a while to complete and are on par with other services when accounting for one's connection speed and size of the backup.
Reviewers trust Acronis as a "warhorse" that gets the job done with lots of data in a reliable and resilient way. They like the recent changes to the software which updated the user interface and added new features. Many customers say they've used Acronis for more than ten years and are happy with the features and reliability for such a low price. All of the negative reviews seemed to be some type of user error or basic misunderstanding that was easily resolved by reading the directions or with a call or chat with technical support. Acronis attends to its more negative online reviews by answering them directly where they are posted.
Acronis earns high marks for its speed, high security, resilience, and reliability as well as the loyalty of its customers who recognize it as a leader in online backup. This is a great option among online backup providers.
Carbonite shares a name with the fictional preservation technology mentioned in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back". It was used to keep Han Solo in a "frozen" state before he was shipped to Jabba the Hutt. Similarly, Carbonite preserves your data so that you can recover it should your hard drive take a turn for the worse, whether that be ransomware, coffee spills, computer crashes or theft, or accidental file deletion or overwriting.
3 levels of backup
There are three levels of Carbonite usage: personal cloud backup, cloud backup for small business, and data protection solutions.
Data protection needs
Small, medium, and large businesses may have additional requirements that personal computing customers may not have. For example, a doctor's office may need to protect patient records from being viewed by anyone other than the doctor or patient. That includes not allowing third-party software vendors, like Carbonite, to see the data. Additionally, an accounting firm may have data retention requirements to keep data for a certain amount of time, or delete data after a date has passed.
24/7 support is included with every Carbonite plan.
Features good, pricing concerns
Carbonite reviewers liked the ease of use and file backup / restoration features. The price was a bit too steep for some reviewers, though. And, as with many of the services we researched, there is a certain amount of pain with customer support inquiries that went unresolved or weren't resolved to the users' satisfaction.
Carbonite has a good, solid reputation in the online backup industry, but the higher cost than its competitors resulted in a slightly lower rating than our first-place choice.
If you need every device, including tablets and smartphones, backed up to the cloud, SOS Online Backup can do that for you. They back up files to a secured, multi-layer encrypted cloud location where they'll never be deleted if you don't want them to. Other services only keep archives of your files for up to 30 days. You'll also have access to unlimited versions of documents from the past and present.
2 backup plans available
SOS Online Backup offers 2 backup plans to choose from.
Cloud-to-cloud backup options
With SOS Business, rather than having your storage location thousands of miles from you, which leads to longer restore times, you can choose a data center that suits you geographically. Backups can be scheduled hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. With add-on packages, you can perform cloud-to-cloud backups of all of your Office 365, Office 365 Groups, G Suite, Dropbox, SharePoint, OneDrive, Box, and Salesforce data.
There is a free trial option. Customer support is available via phone, email, chat, and FAQ.
One of the most expensive
Some downsides do exist for SOS Online Backup. For one, the price is one of the most expensive per GB compared to other services in its class. The desktop and mobile interfaces, though functional, seem outdated and the continuous protection aspect is limited to individual files. There is no Windows File Explorer compatibility or integration. And, unlike some other services, SOS Online Backup doesn't offer free storage in any of its plans.
The greater majority of end-user reviews were in positive territory. People like the speed and expanded feature set that SOS Online Backup offers. They also like the sense of comfort that comes from the encryption and peace of mind of knowing their files are stored safely. Some complained of mishandled customer support issues, but all of the reviews we saw had some kind of helpful response from SOS Online Backup's support representatives.
If you don't mind an outdated interface, have a higher budget per GB for backup storage, and you want the ability to back up cloud-to-cloud and have unlimited versions and unlimited longevity for your files, SOS Online Backup is a decent option.
Small businesses that require a low-cost entry into the world of data backups have CrashPlan as an option. For $10 per month per computer, you'll get continuous backups that run in the background automatically, with no file size restrictions, customized file retention, ransomware recovery, and external drive protection.
Protection of files begins first with what you're working on. You can easily go back to previous versions of your files. To restore your files, you can use the desktop app or a browser and there is no fee to restore them. All of your files are protected by the highest available encryption standards and HIPAA compliance is also supported.
Scheduled and continuous backups
For IT directors and managers, CrashPlan is built in a way that you can logically implement continuous and multiple backup sets on a schedule that works for you. All files get verified to ensure that they'll be whole when restored. And, you can prioritize file backups and restorations by their source, target, and frequency. Gone are the days when files that are open and being worked on cannot be backed up - because CrashPlan has those covered as well.
CrashPlan offers dedicated support by phone, chat, or email as well as through documentation if you feel like you want to try to solve any problems on your own.
Mixed customer reviews
Reviews of CrashPlan tend to be somewhat positive, with people liking the intuitive and simple user interface, continuous backup, and unlimited storage amounts.
Negative reviews included complaints about the amount of memory the software uses and how it cannot back up files larger than 1 terabyte, business suite software, and virtual machines. Support complaints exist as well, with users not liking the generalized responses to specific questions and numbers of unsolved tickets over long periods of time.
The complaints we read were concerning in that it appears CrashPlan has a ways to go to earn a higher rating. We suggest you choose a different online backup vendor if you want to be sure of a better experience all around.
IDrive's pricing plans were confusing to understand at first. One page listed a Personal plan and a Business plan separately in addition to a Free plan. Another pricing and signup page seemed to omit the free plan and combined Personal and Business plans. After a bit of re-reading it was easier to distinguish between all three.
Business backup is their strength
If you're looking for a backup system for home computing purposes, IDrive is probably overkill. There are several other easier systems to choose from.
Where IDrive shines is with small business and enterprise computing environments that have a strong need for sophisticated backup scheduling and automation. There is the ability to create groups, sub-accounts, and single sign-on to meet the needs of departmental organizations with intranets and other integrated systems.
Manage backups remotely
Compressed backups can be executed on "thin client" and web consoles in the background and incrementally so that productivity is not negatively affected. You can manage computers remotely to do backups and restores.
For quick jobs and to reduce bandwidth usage, use IDrive Express to get a quick backup and retrieval via physically shipped hard drives. All data is secured with military-grade AES encryption.
IDrive can back up all databases and servers, including Linux, Office 365, System State, Oracle, MS SharePoint, Hyper-V, VMware, MS Exchange, and MS SQL Server.
Sophisticated features means a higher price
All the same, and adjusting for the varying composition of features and pricing tiers across all services, the overall cost of IDrive over the long term seemed to be higher than other plans with other services. But, with the sophisticated set of features that IDrive has, it may be worth the price for some customers.
High marks from techies, less so from home users
Technology media reviews of IDrive are quite positive. Consumer reviews were overwhelmingly negative with regards to service and support, inadvertently canceled billing with no guarantee of data recovery once reinstated, a slow and difficult interface, and chronically unsuccessful backups. The disconnect between media reviews and consumer reviews seems to reveal a gap in technical ability between IDrive's professional and casual users.
The rating for IDrive was dropped a little to account for the initial confusion about the types of customers they're stronger at serving (personal vs. business). Plus, they don't have an unlimited storage option or a continuous backup option. Also, the disparity between tech media and individual user reviews was a concern. But as a business/enterprise solution for professionals who fully understand backups and restores at that level, it seems very solid.
SugarSync offers a choice of 3 online backup plans for both personal and business use.
1 Personal, 2 Business plans
Both business backup plans provide pooled storage for your users, the ability to set storage limits per user, change and disable user roles, enable or disable user accounts, watch user activity, and delegate access and permissions.
Features, 30-day free trial
Other features include folders and file sharing, syncing folders across teams, support for MS Outlook, sharing of public links, and synchronization of files across multiple devices.
SugarSync gives you a free 30-day, 5GB trial to let you determine for yourself whether it will be a good fit for your personal or business needs.
Mainly good experiences
Reviews seemed to be fairly positive, with people liking SugarSync's capabilities, flexibility across devices, user interface, and reliability. Middle-of-the-road reviews pointed out the relatively high cost compared to other online backup services, the limit of being able to recover only up to five previous versions, and some general glitchy-ness. The negative reviews were few and had to do mainly with customer support issues that went unresolved or were not resolved satisfactorily. This was a common thread among all online backup services to varying degrees.
Light but serviceable
Compared to other vendors, SugarSync seems a bit light on features, so we're not granting it as high of a rating as those competitor services. Still, it seems like it will do the job for most casual and small business users with a minimum of fuss.
SugarSync is a recommended service for light-touch backups and device file synchronization. But if you want less expensive storage per GB, have a look at the higher-ranked services in our review.
LiveDrive poffers a variety of both personal and business backup plans to choose from.
3 personal online backup plans
The LiveDrive personal backup plans are split into three pricing tiers: Backup, Briefcase, and Pro Suite.
Apparently, the idea is to combine Backup, Pro, and Briefcase in ways that are advantageous to individual users' needs. But it just feels confusing in that you have to sit down and analyze what you'll be missing if you get the combination wrong.
Also, the storage space in the marketing copy is expressed in thousands of gigabytes vs a more simple and understandable terabyte unit. Possibly this is an international unit expression distinction, but one that felt unnecessary in a standardizing, global computing environment.
After digging a bit into the links on the product pages, we were able to find tables and frequently asked questions to help clarify the combinations.
2 business online backup plans
On the business plan side there are two online backup plans to choose from: Business Express and Business Standard.
Lack of positive reviews
We were not able to find any screenshots of the software to determine how easy or hard the backup software is to use. Reviews about LiveDrive were not positive enough to merit a better rating. Negative reviews said that the service is too expensive for what it offers and that Briefcase for Business is slow and difficult to use when syncing multiple devices. This results in a problem where updates on one device aren't available on other devices as immediately as some teams might need. Some noted that you can't use encryption keys and that there is no continuous backup feature. Other complaints were about customer service.
Unless you like to live dangerously, avoid LiveDrive and choose an alternative file backup service for better protection of your valuable data.
IBackup began as a software consulting company in the late 1990s and provided services to Fortune 500 clients. Once the popularity of the Internet took hold, they altered their focus to become a web-based online backup service company.
Wide range of services and tools
IBackup advertises a number of services and tools on its website that seem to be very useful on the surface. Their suite includes support for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS/Android operating systems, hybrid backups to local and remote storage, a single web-based admin console, and "active" filesystem backups (MySQL and Oracle databases, MS Exchange and MS SharePoint servers, Office suites, and VMware).
Limited storage, high cost
However, a review of their pricing model shows an astonishingly small range and size of storage compared to other services we've reviewed. Storage space starts at 10GB and only goes to 200GB. A promotional offer in place at the time of our most recent visit increased that range from 500GB up to 10TB. But other services offer unlimited storage for much less cost than IBackup.
Too many negative reviews
The few reviews found about IBackup are nearly all negative, mostly customer service and software complaints, followed by pricing and billing issues.
It is best to avoid IBackup altogether and choose another file backup service.
Even worse, a disgruntled employee or a criminal who likes to hack into computers and steal data could bring your business or home computing to a grinding halt. Ransomware hackers could hold your data for ransom by encrypting it and only offering to give you the "key" to unscramble it if you pay them a large sum of money. Even if you pay, there is no guarantee that they'll give you access to your data again.
Fortunately, there are several companies that have made it their mission to help you back up, secure, and restore your irreplaceable files and protect your information. They provide the storage hardware and the software to migrate copies of your files continuously and securely to their "cloud" storage facilities.
When looking for a backup service, some important things to consider include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online backup services to help you attain peace of mind. We hope this information helps you find the right online backup service for your home or business!
It used to be that fire or flood could destroy an entire lifetime's worth of paper files and other personal items like photos, music, home movies, business records, and so on. This is still true. But now more and more valuable family and business documents exist primarily on hard drives in our computers, or as digital versions in smart phones or tablets. So in addition to fire, flood, or other environmental threat we can add hardware failure and computer theft to the list of threats that could remove these important items from us.
In the early days of personal computers, all PC files were recorded on floppy disks; hard drives were large, expensive devices only found in the clean, secure, and climate-controlled computer rooms of large companies or governments. This allowed the storage of personal files in cases on a shelf. Hardly more secure than paper files, but at least not susceptible to hardware failure. Now, if the hard drive in a computer fails, chances are that all the information stored there will be lost forever. This could include:
Individuals, families, small businesses, and even larger enterprises sometimes have no backup copies of these valuable and often irreplaceable files. Or they might occasionally copy them to a DVD. Or they might have an external hard drive attached to the computer. Any copy is better than no copy. But copies that are kept at the same location as the computer are subject to the same environmental threats as the computer. And an external hard drive is just as subject to failure as the one inside the desktop or laptop system. Copies on optical disks, like DVDs, are likely outdated in as short a time as a week or two. So files must be manually backed up again and again, in an ever-increasing stack of disks.
What are the characteristics of a solution to this dilemma? Consider a solution that would provide:
These statements all describe online computer backup systems.
Select any 2 Online Backup Services to compare them head to head
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