cloud backup for small business

In today’s digital age, small businesses rely on data to run their operations and make critical business and operational decisions. But with so much data being stored on a company’s computers, servers, and other devices, it’s important to have a plan in place to protect that data from loss or damage. Too often, we think myopically about “protecting” data – as though the only threats come from hackers or cyberthreats. Other risks also threaten your company’s critical information too, like severe weather disasters and run-of-the-mill employee mistakes or bad luck. Protecting your data requires a solution tailored to your needs: a provider that specializes in cloud backup for small business.

You need to protect the data itself. Make sure that it’s kept physically apart from your digital and electronic infrastructure at your physical locations. That’s where cloud backup comes in.

Cloud backup is a type of data backup that stores a copy of your data in the cloud, or on remote servers accessed via the internet. This provides a secure, off-site backup of your data that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection.

Cloud Backup for Small Business needs to:

  • Provide enough storage space for all your company’s data to be saved, with enough space to account for occasional variations in the amount of data used;
  • Allow for backed-up data to be accessible to the right people in your organization, and nobody else (at the very least to restore systems, but also to access individual files);
  • Be compatible with all business systems and devices that contain data you need to retain;
  • Provide the ability to audit access, track changes, and provide protection against malware and other malicious activity;
  • Provide options for how the data is backed up, including administrative tools that are able to adjust the timing and bandwidth that backup activities require; and
  • Do it all quickly and efficiently.

Of course, you’ve got to include the price of the service in your analysis. But what other factors should you consider?


This is where you are looking to backup all your (critical/essential) information, so the very first thing you’ll need to know is whether the backup service you’re looking at will even provide you enough storage space to handle the data you want to store. Different services provide storage capacity in different ways, often based on the nature of their service. A service that is primarily a data backup/restoration service will probably offer more storage space, since they don’t have to be as concerned with the strain your operation would put on their resources, in the way that a service that specializes in syncing information across devices does.

Other factors need to be considered as well, such as versioning. If the service supports historical versions of files, do those versions count against your storage cap? Also, make sure to check the amount of time that multiple versions are maintained. If older versions are deleted after 30 days, but you go looking for draft #2 45 days later, you’ll be both pissed off and out of luck.

Supported Devices

Are you interested in backing up one computer? Two? Will you need to backup other devices? Do you rotate a lot? Do you maintain multiple systems? Each backup system supports a specified number of devices, usually divided up between paying tiers. Make sure you know what you’re paying for and that it aligns with what you need.

Supported Operating Systems

Most platforms have at least basic compatibility with all three major operating systems these days (Windows, MacOS, Linux), but not all of them. Some may not have full features for every major OS, some may not allow complete backups (a particular problem with MacOS, for example). Also, if you’re interested in backing up your mobile devices, you’d better check compatibility with those operating systems too. Speaking of…

External/Mobile Device Backups

It’s a mobile society, so most business owners have simply come to expect that employees are doing work-related tasks on their personal phones. If it’s just emails, you can likely keep everything you need on your email server. But what about anything else? Documents saved to specific places on a phone? Messaging apps used to communicate about company business (a topic that becomes increasingly important and potentially dangerous in the event the company is involved in litigation)?

If you want your backup system to capture mobile devices as well, you need to make sure that they’re supported. You’ll also want to determine whether they count as an entirely different device for purposes of the number of devices your service allows.

What about your removable hard drives? Network-attached storage drives? Servers? Cloud-based servers? Microsoft 365 email? There are a lot of places that your company keeps data that you’re going to want to back up.  Will your backup service capture that data? Are there any restrictions?

Privacy & Security Protection

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have a duty to meet certain requirements as to the security of your data (HIPAA for health care providers, for example). Whether you have to meet heightened standards or are just interested in providing more than the basic level of security to the data in your custody, you’ll want to make sure any cloud backup service you select meets those requirements. Depending on the specific security requirements, you might have to verify that the company holding your data has no access to your information (a “zero-knowledge” policy), and that data is kept in storage facilities that meet certain requirements of both digital and physical security, or that multi-factor authentication is available for all services.

You really need to know what the specific security requirements that you have in mind are before you go shopping for any vendor services, particularly a vendor that you’re giving custody and control of your company’s data. One of the stronger available protections (although not without its drawbacks) is the availability of private key (or asymmetric) encryption. The private key will remain in your possession, and your data will not be accessible by anyone else unless your key is easy to guess or they manage to break the encryption.

While the private key can also help security, another item you should look for is support for multi-factor authentication. As strange as it seems, there are still numerous data storage companies without MFA support in 2023. Ensure you’re getting all the security you want and expect from your cloud backup provider.

Backup vs. Syncing vs. Archiving

If you’re using a more traditional cloud backup service, then you need to know and understand how it will operate similarly to, and differently from, other types of online data storage. Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud are online syncing services, which operate differently than a backup service. A syncing service mirrors a specific set of files and folders on your device and pushes identical copies of them to your other linked devices, providing immediate access across multiple systems.

A traditional backup service, on the other hand, slowly and either continuously or periodically copies all the designated files on one computer to its servers. Your data remains there until it’s needed, constantly being replaced by newer versions as time goes by.

Finally, archiving is essentially a stripped-down version of a backup system. These services allow you to transfer files you don’t need to their servers, without maintaining a copy on your system. The drawback is that you often need to pay to access those files if you ever need them.

Special Features

Each service will offer its unique services to go along with the basics discussed above. (Also, while it’s quite essential, I include any particularly fast or unique ways of restoring your files in this category, because I expect any backup system to have a functional method of doing so.)

Other special features such as tools for sharing or collaboration with others, the number of versions you’re able to keep of each document, additional security features (such as built-in antivirus screening and ransomware protection), and the speed of uploading may all be important to you in your search. There are tons of special features available, but I strongly suggest you decide what your “must have” features are prior to your search, and don’t get bogged down by features that may seem interesting when you read about them, but are outside of what you’re really looking for.

So, where does that leave us?

The Best Cloud Backup for Small Business in 2023:

cloud backup for small business CrashPlan

Crashplan for Small Business

Editor’s Choice
Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux
Storage Limit: Unlimited
Number of Devices: 1 per license (up to 99 on Small Business plan, 100 or more requires Enterprise plan)
External Drives: Yes
Mobile Devices: No
Encryption: Yes (AES 256-bit in transit and storage); HIPAA Compliant
  • Easy setup, install, and deployment
  • Incremental backups are fast, with excellent versioning options
  • No data limit – you’re just limited to workstations
  • In our opinion, one of the two most effective, consistent, and reliable backup systems currently on the market for small businesses
  • Since certain application and OS files are not backed up, there is no image-based backup
  • Does not offer an option for backing up mobile devices (other than backing up the backups)
  • Limited customer support without upgrading to Enterprise level
  • Crashplan for Small Business – $9.99/computer/month
  • Crashplan for Enterprise – Custom

cloud backup for small business arcserve cloud direct

Arcserve UDP Cloud Direct

Operating Systems: Windows, MacOs, Linux
Storage Limit: Unlimited (See Pricing)
Number of Devices: Unlimited (See Pricing)
External Drives: Yes (including Microsoft 365, Exchange Server, SQL Server)
Mobile Devices: No
MFA: Unknown
Encryption: Yes (AES 256-bit in storage), HIPAA/ITAR/SOX Compliant
  • Extensive toolset and sophisticated features, well beyond most competitors’ products
  • Fast, intuitive backup and restore functionality
  • No mobile client
  • Custom pricing that is likely too expensive for many small businesses
  • Expansive toolset and features likely only usable if your business has dedicated IT personnel
  • Custom price quote required but lists starting rate at $125/TB data/month

cloud backup for small business acronis

Acronis Cyber Protect for Business

Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Storage Limit: 50GB Cloud Storage (unless Acronis Cloud Storage is added)
Number of Devices: 1 per license
External Drives: Yes, although certain options (such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace backups) only available on the Backup Advanced tier
Mobile Devices: Yes, but only on higher-priced tiers
Encryption: Yes (SSL in transit, AES 256-bit in storage)

Note: Acronis Cyber Protect is primarily a local backup solution with a small cloud-based storage component. Acronis Cloud Storage, which offers cloud-based storage with capacity determined by subscription level and unlimited users, can be purchased as well, but at least one license of Acronis Cyber Protect must be purchased. Acronis Cloud Storage is not a stand-alone cloud backup solution.

  • Fully integrated Small Business solution, combining backup, storage, and data protection in one service offering
  • System is designed for use by remote workers
  • Includes an option for a forensic backup, as well as ransomware protection and vulnerability analysis
  • Add-on features including Disaster Recovery options add significant value, if they are within your company’s financial means
  • Mobile app only available on higher-priced tiers
  • Some of the cybersecurity offerings are significantly complex that they should only be implemented if internal IT management available
  • Technically does not have a cloud-backup in its backup package, requires purchase of a cloud storage package
  • Acronis Cyber Protect Standard – from $85/month/user
  • Acronis Cyber Protect Advanced – from $129/month/user
  • Acronis Cyber Protect Backup Advanced – from $109/month/user
  • Disaster Recovery Add-on – from $549 (1 CPU, 750 running hours)
  • Cloud Storage Add-on – from $229/year (250 GB)

cloud backup for small business backblaze

Backblaze Business

Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS
Storage Limit: Unlimited
Number of Devices: 1 per license
External Drives: Yes (including network-attached storage, servers, and limited cloud-storage services)
Mobile Devices: No
MFA: Yes
Encryption: Yes (AES 128-bit transmission and storage; 2048-bit private key available upon request)
  • Easy to use, install, and operate due to its focus on being a centrally-managed, limited-frills backup option
  • Unlimited backup storage
  • Hard-drive-by-mail recovery option is a huge time and cost saver in the event you need to completely restore from a backup
  • Since Backblaze, like Crashplan, is focused primarily on workstation backups, there are no options for backing up mobile devices
  • Lacks the comprehensive security offerings of a product like Acronis
  • Standard encryption provided uses 128-bit encryption, which is less complex than most other offerings on this list, but additional security is available (and at no extra cost)
  • Workstations – $7/workstation/month ($70/workstation for 1 year; $130/workstation for two-years)
  • Servers/NAS – $5/TB/month

cloud backup for small business drive

IDrive Team

Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux (limited), iOS, Android
Storage Limit: 5TB – Unlimited
Number of Devices: 5 – Unlimited
External Drives: Yes (external drives and network-attached storage)
Mobile Devices: Yes
MFA: Yes (via email)
Encryption: Yes (SSL in transit, AES 256-bit in storage), HIPAA, GLBA, SOX, SEC/FINRA Compliant
  • Highly-intuitive and easy-to-use user interface on all platforms
  • Multiple IDrive “Team” subscription options below their “business” tier which gives small businesses more flexibility
  • Supports backups for computers, external hard drives, and network-attached storage
  • No free or trial option available for any version of IDrive Teams or Professional, so you need to pay just to try it out
  • Microsoft 365 email backup is only available on the Business plan, not any of the Team options – a huge drawback since the rest of the platform is so ideally suited for small business operations
  • Lacks some of the security features of higher-end offerings
  • Team – from $74.62/year (discounted price, becomes $99.50/year after 1st year)
  • Business – from $74.62/year (discounted price, becomes $99.50/year after 1st year)

cloud backup for small business pcloud


Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Storage Limit: 1TB/user – Unlimited
Number of Devices: 1 per license
External Drives: Yes
Mobile Devices: Yes
MFA: Unknown
Encryption: Yes (TLS/SSL in transit, unclear in storage); client-side encryption available
  • Extended file history options allow you to recover more distant versions than other backup services
  • Offers a lifetime subscription option, which is highly unusual in this era of Everything-As-A-Service subscription offerings, and could be a phenomenal value (note this is only for a personal-level offering)
  • Block-level syncing means that backups can run more quickly as only the elements of a block of data that have changed need to be uploaded
  • Backs up data from social media accounts
  • User Interface is less-than-intuitive, somewhat difficult to use
  • Lacks the collaboration features offered by many of the other entrants on this list
  • Overall storage size is quite limited, but still may be the best value due to the low overall cost of the service
  • Business – $9.99/user/month ($7.99/month billed yearly)
  • Business Pro – $19.98/user/month ($15.98/month billed yearly)

cloud backup for small business microsoft onedriveMicrosoft OneDrive

Editor’s Choice
Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS
Storage Limit: 1TB/user – Unlimited
Number of Devices: 1 per license
External Drives: No
Mobile Devices: No
MFA: Yes (biometric, PIN code, SMS/email)
Encryption: AES 256-bit (transmission and storage)
  • Excellent integration with Windows and, naturally, with Microsoft Office products
  • Intuitive, well-designed mobile apps
  • 100GB file-size limit
  • Weak and limited MacOS app
  • Only backs up files, not full drives – any restore requires reinstallation of operating systems, applications, and settings
  • Not much point if you use productivity software outside of the MS Office
  • Business – $5/user/month
  • Business “Plan 2” – $10/user/month (includes additional security and compliance tools)

cloud backup for small business dropbox businessDropbox Business

Operating Systems: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android
Storage Limit: 3TB – Unlimited
Number of Devices: See Pricing
External Drives: No*
Mobile Devices: No*
MFA: Yes
Encryption: Yes (AES 256-bit in storage – there is no end-to-end encryption on data in transit)

* – Since Drobox syncs and backs up data that is kept in your Dropbox folder, it technically doesn’t back up your devices or attached drives, unless those drives/devices have a Dropbox-enabled folder.


  • You’ll never really worry about running out of storage, as their options for storage space range from enormous to unlimited
  • 180-day data retention exceeds most of the versioning offered by other comparable services
  • Numerous useful tools and features, including watermarking, file-locking, on-the-go syncing of files, and tons of sharing and collaboration options, and even a built-in password manager
  • No full-device backups, so you will not be able to simply restore your system from your backup file
  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Lacks encryption on your data in transit, which is necessary to facilitate some of the sharing and collaboration features
  • Professional – $19.99/month/user, 3TB storage ($16.58/month billed yearly)
  • Teams Standard – $18/month/user, 5TB storage ($15/month billed yearly)
  • Teams Advanced – $30/month/user, Unlimited storage ($24/month billed yearly)

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