If you’re running a company, you need to use one of the best online backup services for small business. It’s easy to lose your data: hard drives can malfunction and SSDs experience more data errors, even though their failure rate is less than one percent.
If you don’t experience hardware failures, natural disasters, such as floods, fires and earthquakes, might damage your computers. In addition, an employee might accidentally delete your data or a thief can steal your laptop.
You don’t want that, obviously, and you could rely on our selection of the best data recovery software to recover your files, but it isn’t a reliable method.
A more permanent solution is to move your data to the cloud. There, your data will enjoy specific security and other measures designed to make sure you never lose it. We’re going to talk about these measures more in the “security” section below. First, though, we’re going to start with the top picks for features.
The Best Online Backup for Business
Now that we’ve discussed why you should backup your files, we can start with our top picks for the best online backup for business.
We’re not going to give a list that includes every criteria we use to rate the best overall services. That’s because there’s not one backup service that perfectly fits everybody’s needs. Instead, we’re going to focus on the five most important criteria and recommend three services that do great in each of them.
In this category, we look at the features a service offers. We usually divide this category into two segments: standard backup features and special features. IDrive for Business is the best in this category because it has all the necessary standard features and some special ones. Before we get to the list, though, let’s talk about backup features.
Standard features are those features that are present with most of the business backup services that we review. The first and foremost of them is continuous backup.
Continuous backup is an important feature because it enables you to create your backup plan and not worry about forgetting to tag new or modified files for backup. Of course, that’s only true if you’re adding or modifying files in locations selected for backup.
Incremental backup is a feature that complements continuous backup because it lets the process backup only the parts of files that are added or modified, thus saving time and bandwidth. To accomplish that, services use a block-level file copying algorithm.
Besides continuous backup, you can use a backup scheduler to set up hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly backup (depending on the service).
If you don’t want to pick and choose what you want to backup, you can create a disk image, which represents an exact copy of your hard drive. This is known as image-based backup, and you can use it to restore your entire computer in case of hardware failure. Some services let you restore your system to machines with different hardware.
If this is what you need, read our best disk-imaging software guide for more information about backup services that can perform it.
Another useful feature is external drive backup. Using it, you can backup data from your external drives to the cloud. Closely related to it is the ability to backup network-attached storage, or NAS, devices. For more information about NAS, read our article that explains what is NAS.
Instead of backing up your data to only the cloud, an external drive or NAS device, you can do both at the same time using hybrid backup. That way, hybrid backup adds another layer of protection and speeds up your restore process (it’s faster to restore from a local device than via the internet). We list these services in our best hybrid backup for business roundup.
You can read more about the benefits of hybrid backup and how to set it up in our hybrid backup for SMBs guide. Hybrid backup also makes it easier to implement the 3-2-1 backup rule, and we advise you to do so.
If you’re a business, you probably have a server. In fact, chances are you have multiple, so it’s best if a service can backup a variety of servers. That can include physical and virtual servers, such as Windows Server, Mac servers, Linux servers, VMware ESXi, Hyper-V, SQL, MySQL, Citrix XenServer and more.
Protecting your mobile phone, which probably has business data on it, is important, too. You can easily lose it or someone might steal it, so it’s best if the service lets you backup your mobile data in addition to backing up your photos and videos (what most services backup). We list the services that can do both in our article about the best online backup for mobile.
Services also differ on whether they provide unlimited backup or unlimited devices. They don’t do both. Unlimited backup makes it easy to quickly backup a lot of files, which means you don’t have to spend your precious time hassling with the backup service. You can find these services on our best unlimited online backup 2019.
You can learn more about the upsides of unlimited backup in our article about the benefits of unlimited cloud backup for SMBs. That said, your costs can quickly add up if you use an unlimited backup service to protect many computers. If you need to protect just some files spread out on many devices, you’re better off using services that can backup unlimited devices.
On a similar note, if you delete files from your backup, that doesn’t have to mean your files are deleted from the cloud, too. Most backup services keep your files until you hit the retention limit defined in your deleted-file retention policy. Some even let you keep deleted files indefinitely.
Last, it’s useful if a service has the option to enable multi-threaded backup, which performs several backups at once.
“Special” features are all those that that don’t fit in with the “standard” ones. One example is Acronis Active Protection from Acronis, which actively scans your backups for signs of ransomware.
Another example is sharing files and folders, which is more of a cloud storage thing. If you’re not clear on the difference, read our online storage vs. backup comparison article. Some services also let you connect and backup files from cloud storage providers. There are also those that let you preview your backed up photos in a variety of ways.
If you need a service that has all the standard features — and some of the not-so-standard ones — IDrive for Business is the way to go. It can backup an unlimited number of devices, which includes various servers, external drives, NAS devices, computers and smartphones. IDrive can also backup your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
In addition to cloud backup space, IDrive provides cloud sync space, which you can use to store your files. Another feature, taken from the cloud storage handbook, is sharing. You can share your files and folders with others via email and give users one of several permissions.
You could even use IDrive to archive your files in the cloud and save storage space because IDrive provides true archiving. Thanks to that, IDrive won’t delete your files in the cloud even if you delete them from your device.
If you find that it takes a while to backup or restore your files, you can use IDrive Express to speed it up. IDrive Express is a courier backup and recovery service. You can send or receive a drive with your data via mail. Express backup is free three times per year. You can learn more about Express and other features in our IDrive for Business review.
Acronis Backup can help you backup and recover data from more than 20 platforms. Those include physical servers, virtual servers (VMware, Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer), applications, mobile devices and various SQL servers, as well as Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
Acronis Backup also supports external devices, which means NAS devices and external drives. Backup from a storage area network is available, too. You can also use Acronis Backup to protect files you keep stored with cloud services, such as Amazon EC2, Azure, OneDrive for Business and more.
If you want to perform a restore to machines with different hardware, Acronis can do that, too. Acronis also lets you restore to a device without any application or operating system software. That’s known as bare-metal restore. Interestingly, Acronis also lets you initiate remote bare-metal restore and use it with ESXi and Hyper-V hosts.
Also of note is Acronis Instant Restore, which enables you to run your Windows or Linux backup from storage as a VMware virtual machine without moving the data anywhere. Acronis also includes Acronis Notary, which helps you ensure the integrity of your backups. For more information about Acronis, read our Acronis Backup review.
CrashPlan provides true, unlimited backup without any caps or file-size limits. The only limitations are several files in certain system folders that CrashPlan won’t protect. Having unlimited backup means that you will have to purchase a license for every computer you want to backup, though.
That said, CrashPlan’s subscription lets you backup as many external drives as you want, and that includes NAS backup, at least if you’re using macOS or Linux. CrashPlan can backup your servers, but it can’t do image-based backups of your computers.
There’s no mobile backup because CrashPlan doesn’t have smartphone apps, but other basic online backup features are present. They include continuous backup, incremental backup, scheduled backup, backup to local drives, speed throttling, email notifications and block-level file copying.
CrashPlan also provides file versioning, which you can set to retain file versions based on 15-minute increments. Plus, CrashPlan also provides you with the option to indefinitely keep deleted files. If CrashPlan seems like the right fit for your business, be sure to read more about it in our CrashPlan review.
We often translate “value” as getting more for less, and that’s exactly what we look for when we analyze the subscription plans that services offer. Having more plans to choose from is important, too, because it gives you a better chance of finding a plan that fits your use case the most. Plus, having a free plan or a trial lets you test the service before subscribing.
Some services require you to pay per year, while others also give you the option to pay per month. It’s not uncommon for a service to offer both pricing models. Services often give a discount if you decide to subscribe for a year or more in advance.
How much you have to pay is often the deciding factor, so it’s no wonder that the list of the best value services is different than the one for features. Thanks to its cheap unlimited plan, Backblaze for Business is our top pick. However, the best choice for you largely depends on your storage and feature needs.
Backblaze for Business is only $6 per month for unlimited backup for one computer. That’s a great deal for a single computer, and it undercuts CrashPlan. If you pay in advance for one year of backup, the price drops to $60 per year. If you go for two years, the price is $110, which means you’ll pay less than $60 per computer per year.
1-year plan $ 5.00/ month
$60.00 billed every year
Save 17 %
2-year plan $ 4.58/ month
$110.00 billed every 2 years
Save 24 %
If you have many computers to protect, going for a limited backup solution will probably save you money. Otherwise, Backblaze is going to be the better deal. Before subscribing to it, though, you can use its 15-day free trial to test the service. If Backblaze’s price has you intrigued, read our Backblaze for Business review for more information on the service.
CrashPlan for Small Business has a single unlimited pricing plan, which is $10 per month per computer. It’s more expensive than Backblaze, and it doesn’t give a discount if you pay for a year in advance.
|CrashPlan for Business|
Plus, keep in mind that you pay for the number of computers that CrashPlan sees as active in your administration console, no matter if they have backed up any data or not. If you don’t want to pay for a device anymore, you can deactivate it in the CrashPlan administration console. That will also delete any existing backup data for that device.
Because of this, CrashPlan charges per month, so there’s no annual subscription option. The advantage is that you can cancel at any time. Before you subscribe, though, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial to test the service.
IDrive Business has great cost flexibility and scaling, thanks to its several plans, which are currently on a 25-percent discount. The two cheapest plans require you to pay for a year or more in advance, while the rest also give an option to pay per month.
1-year plan $ 6.22/ month
$74.62 billed every year
1-year plan $ 12.47/ month
$149.62 billed every year
The first plan gets you 250GB of backup space for $74.62 per year. The second provides 500GB for $149.62 per year. If you need more, you can get 1.25TB for $374.62 per year or $49.95 per month. The most you can get with a single IDrive for Business subscription is 12.5TB.
Keep in mind that IDrive provides an equal amount of sync space in addition to your backup space. This means that when you sign up, for example, to the 250GB plan, you’re actually getting 500GB of total cloud space.
Ease of Use
Using online backup services shouldn’t be restricted to IT experts — and it isn’t — but we look at how convenient the service is to use.
The service should be straightforward for mainstream and power users alike. To help with that, the interfaces of the clients should be clear and intuitive to use. The backup and restore operations, specifically, shouldn’t be difficult to complete.
Plus, services should work on various devices across many operating systems. That includes clients for the web, Windows, macOS, Linux and smartphones. Among the services, Backblaze is the one that fits this description the best.
Backblaze analyzes your hard drive during installation for files that should be backed up. Once you complete the installation, the backup process will start. New files will be automatically added to your backup plan.
The desktop client works on Windows and MacOS, but not on Linux. Still, it’s simple and easy to use because it’s main window isn’t bogged down with settings. Rather, they’re hidden behind the “settings” button.
From the settings, you can exclude file types and folders that you don’t need to backup. This might be the only input from you that the desktop client needs. Besides excluding files, though, you can improve backup performance, tweak the backup schedule and see files scheduled for backup, as well as review your reports and issues.
The web client lets you manage your backup and business groups. That means you can access employee accounts to reset their passwords and even access their files. However, your employees must agree to that access when joining the group.
You can invite users to join your group via email or you can copy and paste an invitation link. If you have remote managing and monitoring privileges, you can do a mass silent installation for your members. Overall, the group system is easy to use and in line with Backblaze’s clear design.
The mobile app is straightforward, too. It lets you browse your backed up files, see those that you’ve downloaded and access settings. The features are basic, and there’s no way to share files or initiate restores from the app.
Acronis Backup doesn’t have a true desktop client, but an Acronis agent connects you to the web client, which you use to manage your backup. There are separate web clients for workstations and the administrator, but they’re similar. This setup works on Windows, macOS and Linux.
Overall, the clients have a modern design and are easy to use. The workstation client lets you use the menu on the left to navigate between the overview, connected devices, backup plans, backup locations and settings. The right pane will show the contents of each section.
Acronis administrator web client’s default view is the user manager. It lets you create users, administrators or units, which is a set of users with an administrator and connected devices.
If you’re not at your computer, you can use Acronis’ mobile application to access your computer backups. It also provides continuous backup to protect your mobile data, including contacts, photos, videos, calendars and messages.
It also has large buttons at the bottom that let you select data for backup, tweak the settings and initiate the restore process. The client is, overall, a breeze to use.
The main view of the web client is the dashboard, which, like the desktop client, shows all the necessary information you need to get an overview of your business backup.
The web client also enables you to invite users via email, register them yourself or invite bulk numbers of users using a CSV file. You can also add servers and create policies, which let you remotely select data for backup, manage settings and set privileges for your users.
Plus, you can select which types of files you want to backup, enable hybrid backup, define privileges, set up a schedule and more. Overall, the web client is attractive and straightforward.
The mobile app isn’t as straightforward as the previous clients, but it lets you backup your call logs, contacts, photos, messages, videos and other file types. Plus, the mobile app can connect and backup your data from Facebook and Instagram. It can also connect to cloud storage services.
There’s more to BigMIND Business, and if you’d like to know what that is, read our BigMIND Business review.
File Backup and Restoration
File backup and restoration is what these services are for. How they accomplish their core purpose is important, to say the least. The biggest difference here is whether services provide continuous backup, as well as which backup and recovery options they offer. Those include what you can select for backup and what kind of setting options you can tweak.
It’s best if you can select your entire computer or server, specific partitions, external devices, files and folders or other cloud services. It’s also important when the client will start the backup process. You can choose to run it yourself, but the backup usually starts on a schedule. The more options for scheduling you get, the better.
There isn’t a service that ticks all backup and restoration boxes, but the one that hits the most is IDrive for Business.
IDrive for Business isn’t a “one-click” backup solution because the desktop client requires you to manually select files and folders for backup. That said, IDrive helps you by automatically selecting photos, documents, music, desktop and videos folders for backup. You can also exclude certain files and folders from the settings menu.
IDrive provides continuous backup, but it only applies to changed or added files that are less than 500MB. Considering that many other business solutions don’t provide continuous backup, that’s not a huge lack.
You can also start the backup manually or schedule it. The scheduler lets you run backups on specific days at a set time or switch to an hourly schedule. If you do that, the backup process will run every hour, and you can specify the time the backup should stop. Plus, there’s an option to enable email and desktop notifications.
The scheduler has enough options, but we’d like to be able to set specific hours for backup, as well as weekly and monthly options.
Similar to the backup operation, restoring files requires you to select files and folders from your directory structure. After you do, you can choose to restore them to their original or new location.
If you have a lot of files to backup and restore, you can use IDrive’s courier service, which lets you backup or restore files via drives sent by mail.
If you don’t need continuous backup and you’re not impressed with other options IDrive provides, Acronis Backup will probably be a good fit for your needs.
It takes a bit of work to set up everything needed for backup and restore, but Acronis makes up for it with plenty of backup and restore options.
You can choose to backup your entire machine, specific drives or files and folders. If you choose files and folders you will have to browse your directory structure and select what you want to protect. The destination for your backup can be either Acronis cloud or a local folder.
There’s no continuous backup, which means you either have to set a schedule or run your backup manually. The scheduler lets you run backups hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. The most often you can run your backup is every 10 minutes throughout the day.
The scheduler also lets you set both start times and cut-off times for running the backup. Other options include starting a backup when the system starts or shuts down, when a user logs on to the system and more.
Besides setting a schedule, you can also define how long Acronis should retain previous file backups. When you define a rule, you can choose to keep backups indefinitely, by number of backups or by age. On top of that, you can replicate backed up files to another location.
Once the backup plan is complete, you can tweak additional settings, which include the ability to set file-type exclusions, alerts, pre- and post-backup commands, error handling and more.
The restore process is simple. It requires you to choose a device associated with your backups and select the files and folders you want to restore. You can choose to recover them to either their original location or a new one.
Like the backup process, the restore process has some advanced options, such as backup validation, performance modifying, file exclusions and file security.
If the approach of Acronis Backup seems overwhelming, you might find Zoolz Cloud Backup more palatable when it comes to backing up and restoring your files.
The desktop client lets you select specific folders in your file system for backup or allows you to backup files based on categories, such as mail, documents, music, videos, office files, financial files and more.
If you want specific folders and files, a tree structure helps you quickly select them for backup. The backup settings you can tweak include backup scheduling, bandwidth throttling, and enabling hybrid backup.
The scheduler lets you run backup as often as every five minutes or as seldom as 24 hours. You also set the backup to run and end on certain times during specific days.
The restore process lets you retrieve your files to their original or new location, restore files from only a specific data range and choose what happens to existing files when restoring them to their original location.
You don’t have to rely on the desktop client to initiate a restore because the web client lets you initiate a remote restore for the desired machine. Overall, the backup and restore processes are straightforward to set up.
Zoolz also offers a courier backup and recovery service. It’s only available in the North American and European regions, though, and it’s not as cheap as the one from IDrive. See our Zoolz Cloud Backup for Business review for the pricing details.
One of the biggest concerns when migrating your business data to the cloud is whether it’ll be safe. That depends on how good the cloud security of a service is. If it isn’t strong, it’s likely that you will become a victim of cybercrime.
That means that someone might steal your credentials or read your secret business plan, or the government might browse through your financial reports. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that having good security is a must.
There are many methods to secure your data against online threats. Encryption is a key method because it’s the last line of defense. Even if someone manages to steal your files, they won’t be able to read them. That doesn’t mean your online backup service can’t do it. It usually manages your decryption key, which can, well, decrypt your files.
However, that’s not true for services that offer private encryption, which prevents anyone other than you from reading your files. That’s because only you manage your decryption key.
A close ally to encryption are the SSL and TLS protocols that prevent tampering with files during transit to servers in a data center. Data center security is also important because it’s all for naught if an accident or a data center breach compromises your files.
For that reason, data centers keep your files in multiple locations and are hardened against natural disasters, fires and floods. Other security methods include surveillance, fences, key card access, patrols and more. If data center security measures interest you, read our data center security article.
All the previous security methods won’t help you if someone manages to steal your credentials, but two-factor authentication will.
The services we’ve considered for this list have strong security, but we’ve placed IDrive for Business first thanks to its ability to remotely sever a connection from a backed up device, as well as its richer set of data center security features.
IDrive scrambles your files using 256-bit AES encryption to protect your files at-rest on servers. Before reaching a server, though, data is also encrypted in transit using the TLS and SSL protocols.
By default, IDrive will hold on to your encryption password, but you can avoid that if you enable private encryption when you first set up IDrive.
You can also set up two-factor authentication from the web client. Plus, IDrive’s data centers use fire-suppression systems, temperature-control systems with separate cooling zones, raised floors and racks built to withstand earthquakes.
They also have secured access, 24/7 surveillance, motion sensors and breach alarms in place.
Another useful feature is the ability to remotely disconnect sync for the devices on your account. That way, even if a laptop is lost or stolen, you can ensure that nobody can use the device to access any synced content.
CrashPlan uses AES 256-bit encryption to scramble your data and lets you opt in to manage your private key. Plus, CrashPlan uses the TLS protocol to secure your files during transfer to its data centers.
The data centers utilize constant surveillance of its facilities in addition to other safeguards against intrusion. The facilities are also equipped to resist failures due to malfunctions, power outages, fires, earthquakes and more.
Additionally, CrashPlan enables you to turn on two-factor authentication to protect your login information. You should also know that Code42, CrashPlan’s parent company, is an ISO 27001-certified organization, and CrashPlan’s data centers undergo annual SOC 2 Type 2 authentication. Code42 is HIPAA compliant, too.
BackupVault also protects your data using 256-bit AES encryption before it leaves your devices, but makes it private by default. Plus, it uses the SSL protocol to secure the connection between your devices and BackupVault’s servers. There’s no two-factor authentication, but the feature is in the works.
BackupVault’s data centers have various physical security and safety features. Those include surveillance, biometric access, alarms and secure access, as well as redundant batteries, power backup and air conditioning.
The data centers are ISO 9001 compliant, which means BackupVault meets customer and regulatory requirements. Plus, they also have ISO 27001 certification.
We’ve gone through our most important categories and proclaimed the winners for each one. Now, it’s time to declare who’s the overall winner. That’s IDrive for Business, thanks to its rich set of features, which includes continuous backup, plans with great value that let you backup an unlimited number of devices, true archiving, courier express service and more.
While we don’t have speed as the most important criteria in this article because initial backups often take a long time, IDrive for Business isn’t among the faster services. If you need fast transfers and don’t mind paying top dollar for top features, you should consider Acronis Backup.
With that in mind, services other than these two might fit your specific use case better so you should consult the categories above and our business backup reviews for alternative ideas. If you want to learn more about backup in general, consult our business backup library.
What are your thoughts about the best online backup for small business? Which service is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.