Let’s begin with an important statistic. 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. Scary isn’t it? Furthermore, the same article goes on to list that every week 140,000 hard disks crash in the United States. Given the risk loss of data poses, it is a no-brainer that every business should have a reliable backup solution.
For small businesses, the cloud has become an increasingly viable backup solution owing to its reasonable cost and ease of use. In our previous blog, How To Build A Data Backup Strategy For Your Growing Business, we have answered questions that crop up immediately when talking about backup and recovery. Alright, so we have talked about cloud backup services that send your data to the cloud. But your data isn’t exactly on “the cloud”. It is in fact stored in secure, high-storage-capacity remote servers with high speed connections to the internet. Once stored on these servers, your data can be accessed from anywhere and in case a file is mistakenly deleted or your hard drive crashes, it can be restored from anywhere.
You may feel safe knowing that you have your folders synced with Google Drive or Dropbox. However, it is important to understand that cloud syncing services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. are not cloud backup services. These services are designed for syncing dedicated folders and for online collaboration. They do not automatically protect all your data, let alone your system files. As a business owner, you need to have the security of a service that provides full-scale backup functionality that can get your business back up on its feet in case of loss of data, system, or application, etc.
Here is a look at 5 Cloud Backup Solutions for Small Businesses:
1. Carbonite (our choice)
Carbonite is one of the most popular cloud backup services and for good reasons too. It is arguably the easiest to use cloud backup service and for that reason alone it is worth taking a look at. This trait makes it popular among small business owners. You can set it up and forget it, while all the work is done in the background.
Carbonite offers unlimited storage, which is great for any growing business. Not having to worry about when you are going to hit the limit and what happens when you do hit the limit, if your files are backed up or not, is a huge load off your mind. You have the option to back up everything automatically or manually select what you want to back up. Next, you need to select when the backup occurs. Carbonite offers a continuous option that as the name suggests backups your data continuously, however, only file changes and new files are uploaded so it will not strain your internet connection too much.
Before the data is sent to the servers, Carbonite encrypts it. The encryption key is managed by Carbonite by default but it does offer you the option to set a private encryption key that gives you full control of your data. A clean and easy to use desktop interface makes the restoring process simple - you can restore files with just one click. Further, Carbonite also saves multiple versions of your files as you edit and save them. The version period is 90 days.
Carbonite is an excellent choice for any business owner who needs security against the possibility of an occasional disaster. What makes it our top choice is that you can simply set it and forget it, offers unlimited storage and backs up your files continuously. And to top it all off, Carbonite offers all this is at a very reasonable price.
BackBlaze is quite similar to Carbonite in its offerings and, in fact, these two are close competitors. Backblaze also offers unlimited storage and has a simple and easy to use interface. Once set up, Backblaze automatically scans your hard drive for all files that need backup. However, it does not automatically backup operating system files, applications, and temporary files. When the scan is complete you can click okay to get the backup underway. You can exclude folders and files from backup through the settings menu, which is a slight roundabout way of doing things. Backblaze also offers a continuous backup option that we like.
Backblaze also encrypts your data before sending it to the cloud and offers private encryption key option. However, this feature comes across as flawed. When you need to recover your data you are required to send your passphrase to Backblaze so that they can decrypt the data before sending it to you. This is a bit of a security flaw. Apart from that its versioning capability also falls short as it provides only 30 day version retention period.
Backblaze is another “set it and forget it” cloud backup service that offers excellent features at very competitive prices. The only flaw that takes away from this otherwise great backup service is its halfway implementation of private encryption.
OpenDrive’s custom plan comes at a very reasonable price but has a 500GB cap on storage and also has bandwidth limitations. Business plans are available with the unlimited storage option but these come with a much higher price tag. OpenDrive uses a desktop UI for managing sync and backup processes. Although the interface is not very appealing, it is easy enough to use. The backup process is painstaking as each folder and file needs to be added one at a time. This makes it much bothersome to use as compared to the previous two cloud backup services listed above. However, it does have the continuous backup facility, which is a saving grace.
Both managed as well as private encryption options are available giving you complete control of your data. OpenDrive does have the option to let you automatically choose which files are to be included and which excluded based on size, date, or file type. One impressive feature of this cloud backup service that we like is that you can store upto 99 versions of each file for an unlimited period. Even deleted files are kept in recycle bin for up to 90 days.
If you have limited data that needs backup and can overlook the user interface, then OpenDrive can be a viable option for you.
SpiderOak doesn’t offer unlimited online backup. The most online storage you can get is 5 TB, which can be sufficient in most cases. File backup is location-based, i.e. the folders and files need to be manually tagged if you want to add them to your backup plan. The backup plans can be created via the desktop client. This is quite a painful process and can be annoying. Again backup is done continuously while the option for scheduled backups is also available. Similar to Carbonite backup service, SpiderOak also uploads only file changes instead of the entire file. This is a useful feature as it saves both bandwidth and time. Prior to transfer to the data centers, your files are encrypted.
SpiderOak’s end-to-end encryption is client side, i.e. only you will know the encryption key. This keeps your files secure even if there is a breach in the data center. SpiderOak’s client interface is basic and utilitarian that isn’t entirely a bad thing. However, it can take some getting used to, especially the feature of being able to only sync folders that have been added to your backup plan. Whenever you edit a file, versions of the file are automatically stored. There is no restriction on the number of versions stored. This can be a pain since there is a cap on the storage capacity. Therefore, in order to save space, you will need to delete previous versions.
This is not a traditional cloud backup service. Although it does a great job offering a secure and reliable backup service, the lack of unlimited storage option is a real damper.
Acronis also doesn’t offer unlimited online storage. The largest amount of storage available is 5TB and it comes at a hefty price tag. Although it comes with a number of added features, if you are a value buyer, the price may still not be justified. Acronis gives you the options to either add folders and files to your backup plan or simply backup everything. The latter option is much easier but you need to be careful about the storage limit down the line. There is, however, the option to exclude based on file-type that comes in handy when using the backup everything option.
Yet again, this cloud backup service also offers continuous backup and incremental backup features that we like. Acronis also offers you private, end-to-end encryption that is a very important security feature in this day and age. It also boasts of an impressive 6 months versioning period. While it may not be as easy to set up and use as Carbonite or Backblaze, Acronis isn’t difficult to set up and use.
Acronis is a modern, quality cloud backup service that will likely be a favorite of technophiles. It has a number of uncommon features such as blockchain checks and ransomware monitoring. The storage cap and hefty price tag are the only drawbacks.
So these were our impressions of some of the cloud backup services for small business owners. As we said in our previous blog, a comprehensive backup and recovery plan will help minimize downtime and help to keep your business functioning seamlessly even in the case of a disaster such as a ransomware, virus attack, or a natural disaster. The choice of the right backup service should be based on your overall plan and your business requirements. Let us know what has been your experience with cloud backup services in the comments section below.
If you found this useful, you should also check out our 6 FAQs To Build A Data Backup Strategy For You Growing Business for even more IT tips for your business. Also if you'd like to learn more about backups, call or email Jones IT today!