There are a lot of online backup services on the internet and I think many consumers are going to be overwhelmed by the amount of options one can choose from. So was I. When I wanted to choose a online data backup service for my personal files I had to evaluate cautiously around 50 different providers. Believe me that was a whole lot of work. First of all you have to ask yourself if you really going to need online backups or if you’d rather backup you files locally. Many people think backing up files locally is a lot more secure.
But I can tell you this is not the case. Your home (believe it or not) is much more accident prone than a safe vault of an established internet company that offers data backup services. Most of the time they invested a lot of money to get their organisation up and running. Also, online backup service providers have not only invested in making their services more accessable but a lot more secure than any of us could ever do at home.
What do you need online backup services for?
That is basically the main question you have to ask yourself when reviewing data backup service providers on the internet. Do you need your backup for your personal photos? Do you have lots of delicate documents that need to be secured? Do you generelly have a lot of multimedia? Do you want to backup your whole computer with OS (operating system) and the like? So I would really recommend you doing a checklist of your needs prior to selecting your online backup service.
How much money do you want to spend on data backup?
This is also a very important question to answer. Fortunately, today it has gotten very cheap to store your data online. Even if you have huge storage needs. Amazon for example has a very interesting option with their S3 Servers: you pay as you go and have no flat fees. You just pay for the amount of data you upload online to their data storage center. However, those servers are not for everybody because they are not that easy to manage. Again, you gotta ask yourself: what do I personally need? And: How much effort I want to put into my online data storage?
Obviously, there is a wide range of online data backup solutions and also the price range is quite wide as well. It starts from free (mostly around 1 or 2 GB) up to $100 or even more depending on your needs. At the end of this article I tried to come up with a short list of one of my favorite online backup solutions. I can already tell that most of them are for personal, yet very important data. But the majority is also very trustworthy for business data storage.
Key factors for choosing your online backup service
Ok, so here comes the important part. I’ll provide you with my personal I made a while ago with the most important questions to ask when you think you want to store and backup your data online. This is not an extensive list. You can add things at your desire. Some of those I have already mentioned in this text but this shall serve as a little summary:
1. What kind of data do you want to store?
OK, as I already mentioned this is the key question number one. Really think about what is it you are going to store. Then decide on a possible service. Do you want to store Photos? Well, then probably you might want to choose moozy. Do you want to store and sync documents among your various computers? Hey, by all means, go check out the free version of dropbox. However, I would be careful backuping really sensitive data.
2. How much data do you want to store?
Wow. This is tricky and easy at the same time. If you have low storage requirements go for the free version of one of the below mentioned online backup service providers. Can’t do anything wrong with that in general. But keep in mind bullet number 1 of this list.
3. Online or offline backup solutions?
After having evaluated the first two factors then you can go and decide what kind of backup makes sense for your needs. Take your time and consider all the possible scenarios that come with either online and offline backup. Online backup gives you most of the time the flexiblity to access your data whenever and whereever you want. With offline backup solutions that is going to be more diffcult. Are really always going to take your hard drive with you?
4. Check your internet bandwidth
Oh dear, that’s very important, too. I have seen lots of my dear friends deciding on an online backup service but ignoring the fact that they have a meager 56K Modem (well, a little exaggerated but you get the idea). So, check your bandwidth! When you decide for a cloud backup solution you should have a solid DSL connection in UPSTREAM. Downstream is not that important because it it mostly going to be fast anyways. So be sure to have around 6 Mbit/s upstream.
5. Operation System compatibility
Most of the backup solutions are compatible with Mac and Windows. I use a Mac and never had any problems. Well if you use Linux then you might get in trouble but if you are a savvy Linux user you will be able to find a good solution anyway. If you are a Windows user you are always on the safe side because it is the most used OS out there.
6. Automated backup, my friend?
This is it. Set it and forget it. Well, it’s actually not that easy as advertised most of the time. But if you are interested in automated backups then look carefully which provider offers that fuctionality. For my offline backup I use my Timecapsule and set up TimeMachine and it does backups whenever it detects changes on my Mac.
7. Does the online backup service offer good support?
So, this is not easy to determine. Because you can’t figure it out for yourself before buying really. The only thing you can do is ask a question to the service provider and time the response. Of course this doesn’t tell you a lot, but at least you can know whether they value potential new customers.
8. Speed and Reliability
Also hard to measure if you are not yet a client. But that’s what I am here for. The recommendations below always take into account the speed and reliability of online backup services. What I would really recommned is signing up for the free option first. Make a few test backups and then decide where you actually going to upgrade for the paid version. Also it is very import to know if they offer serveral versions of your backup, e.g. that you can go back to a backup you did serveral weeks ago.
9. Pay-as-you-go or flat fee
Do you want to pay a flat fee or do you want to pay what you actually use? If you know your needs for online backups then go for the flat fee. If you have huge quantities of data to backup and probably you might want to look into Amazon Servers.
10. Do your homework well
Last but not least this one is very important. It is your data and it needs to be secured. Think carefully and study all your avaible options. Do your homework. Make an Excel chart or whatever suits you. Then decide.
We have seen that choosing an online backup service is really not that easy as it might seems at the beginning. But when you take into consideration all the things I lined out for you in this list and when you choose one provider from the list below you can’t go terribly wrong. One last word: Always do multiple backups. Never, ever just rely on one service provider, instead have one online backup in the cloud and one offline backup secured at your home or office.
My online backup reviews
I have cautiously crafted several online backup reviews in which I analyze the backup providers tested. I am sure you are going to find the perfect online backup service for your needs.
Like what you read?
If so, please join over 2,000 people who receive exclusive online backup and cloud storage tips & coupons. Also, get a FREE COPY of my eBook, Online Backup 101 (PDF, Kindle and MP3)! Just enter your name and email below: