Moore’s Law — the idea that computing processing power doubles roughly every two years — may be dying. But another, similarly-named concept will be true forever: Murphy’s Law. And because anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, it’s a good idea to invest in some kind of data backup service for your most important documents, photos and other files.
These seven cloud-based backup options will keep you covered in case of an emergency, large or small, ensuring your most vital data is ready to be downloaded whenever and wherever you need it.
Acronis True Image
Making a “full-image” backup of your computer’s hard drive is the most comprehensive way to ensure none of your files go missing. Acronis True Image will clone your disk and host it in the cloud for prices starting at $39 per year.
It’s a good insurance policy that also includes a physical backup to store on an external hard drive, as well as downloads of precious files from your Facebook account and mobile devices. Prices increase if you want to use True Image on more than one computer or require larger amounts of space. Acronis also offers a premium service starting at $99 per year that will protect your data from ransomware, an increasing problem online.
Without looking at your computer, ask yourself how many files you want to back up. Or, if that’s impossible to answer, guess how much storage you need. If you don’t know the answer, Backblaze might be the perfect solution.
Offering storage for an unlimited amount of files, no matter their size, and at whatever speed you want to up- or download them, this easy-to-use backup service is great for setting it and forgetting it. And if downloading your files is cumbersome (or just plain impossible, for whatever reason), your data can be shipped to you on a flash drive or USB hard drive. Encrypting your files and requiring two-factor authentication, the service does its best to keep both Mac and Windows-based customers secure. Backblaze costs $5 per month, with discounted rates for users who pay in advance for a year or two of service.=
One of the first (and therefore more popular) cloud backup programs, Carbonite offers three tiers of data-syncing options, all of which come with unlimited storage space.
The $59-per-year basic Carbonite plan provides automatic backups, remote access, and free support, should you ever have a problem retrieving your files. For $99-per-year, Carbonite Plus provides everything on the basic plan, plus the ability to connect to external hard drives, so you can sync the data that’s too big to fit on your PC or Mac. The highest tier service, the $149-per-year Carbonite Prime, offers all that plus the ability to have your files physically couriered to your location if you have a problem downloading them. Unfortunately, these prices only apply to one computer, and only PC users can mirror their hard drives using this service, so Carbonite might not be a great fit for everyone.
For as little as $59-per-year for one computer or as much as $149-per-year for 10 Linux, Mac, or Windows machines, Crashplan can ensure that your data remains safe in the cloud.
Boasting unlimited online storage under both plans, the company’s software packs some clever, unique offerings, like the ability to pause backups when your computer’s battery is low or when you’re on certain Wi-Fi networks. Crashplan transmits and stores your data in encrypted form, keeping your personal information safe, even when it’s off your system. Crashplan also offers to keep your deleted files forever, making it perfect for digital pack rats and worrywarts alike.
Offering one terabyte of online storage for $69-per-year, iDrive is a feature-packed backup option for Mac, PC, iOS and Android users alike.
With the ability to save data from an unlimited amount of machines online, the service performs real-time backups and file syncing, which means files and even parts of files are refreshed across devices. A mobile-friendly backup solution, you can access files backed up on your PCs from your iOS and Android devices. iDrive also has a Smart Docs feature which recognizes details of documents after users take a photo of them and upload them online.
Though not technically a full backup service for your computer, Apple iCloud offers Mac and iPhone users many protections that are worth the nominal investment. Designed as an online repository for all the photos, music, videos, and documents you use across Apple’s ecosystem, the free (for 5 gigabytes of online storage) service can help you restore everything from bookmarks to emails if something happens to your device.
While you can pay up to $20 per month for as much as 2 terabytes of storage, the service will not automatically clone your computer’s hard drive. But curiously, you can turn on “iCloud Backup” on your iOS devices to store copies of your mobile devices online. And it’s just that easy to do, making a bigger investment in iCloud storage a worthwhile move for many Apple fans.
More similar to Apple’s iCloud storage service than to the drive-cloning backup solutions offered in this list, Google Drive offers users 15 gigabytes of online space for free, which quickly adds up once subscribers elect for the 100 gigabyte option for $1.99-per-month, one terabyte for $9.99-per-month, or 10 terabytes for $99 monthly. That’s a lot of storage, and through Google’s software smarts, it’s easy to use and share those files online. You can even copy entire sections of your computer’s hard drive and upload them to your Google Drive if you want, but you’ll need the company’s Google Drive application for that.