It’s incredibly important to backup all your important files as at any time there can be a physical disaster that makes your data irretrievable. Hard drive crashes, user error, ransomware, and natural disasters are all risks that can cause you to permanently lose valuable files.
Cloud backup is the most secure way to back up your files so, in the case of any issues, you have peace of mind knowing that there are other copies located off-site that can be retrieved at any time. You may find yourself in a situation where your hard drive gets stolen or becomes damaged in a natural disaster such as a flood or fire. If this happens, then any local and physical backups will probably also be unrecoverable. When your data is backed up online the copies are safe and out of harm’s way, meaning that you’re always able to retrieve your important files. Many online backup tools store their user’s data on multiple servers, so if one copy gets corrupted, other backups can still be retrieved. It’s wise to also backup your data on a hard drive. That way, if your cloud backup tool encounters any issues, you’ll still have local copies available.
Depending on the size and number of files you want to have backed up, and how regularly you alter the files on your hard drive, there’s a perfect cloud backup tool for you. We’ve set out a list of the best online backup tools, so you can decide which is best suited to your particular needs. So, here are the top best cloud backup tools in 2022.
The best cloud backup tools 2022 quick guide
- IDrive – Best overall choice
- Backblaze – Ideal for novice users
- NordLocker – Most secure
- Strato HiDrive – Great for businesses
- SpiderOak – Most customisable
What should I look for in cloud backup tools?
There can be an overwhelming choice of online backup tools, with each offering a unique set of features at different price points. Each user will have a provider that is best suited to their needs, however, there are a few key features that every backup tool should offer. We’ve laid out a list of criteria to consider when looking for a cloud backup tool.
- Storage – Depending on how much data you want to be backed up, different providers may be more suited to you. For example, if you only have a small selection of files that you want backing up, then you don’t need a tool that offers multiple terabytes of storage. Alternatively, if you have large video, photo, or music files, then you’ll probably make good use of a backup tool that provides unlimited storage.
- Device support – You need to make sure that your chosen backup tool supports your entire collection of devices that need to be backed up. Most cloud backup tools support the major operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) and some offer additional support on other iOS or Android devices.
- Recovery options – In case of a local disaster or ransomware attack, you want to be sure that your files can be recovered promptly. Some online backup tools give users the option to have their copied files sent to them on a physical hard drive or USB. Whatever the process, you want to be sure that in the event of your original files being unrecoverable, you’re able to quickly and easily access and restore the backups.
- Price – It’s important to check the prices of your plan as you don’t want to be paying a high price for a cloud backup tool if you aren’t using the majority of its features. Many cloud backup tools offer different plans for both personal and business use, with the latter providing more storage and sub-accounts. Prices widely vary between providers, so be sure to check which features are provided in your selected subscription plan so you get the best bang for your buck.
“We recommend organizations use backups as a way to help mitigate against a wide range of potentially catastrophic problems, such as fire, theft, flooding, and – naturally – ransomware.” – NCSC, on cloud backups
Our top recommended cloud backup tools in 2022
Since there are so many options to choose from, we’ve done all the hard work for you by researching and summarising the best cloud backup tools in the market. Here is our top five choices –
Key features – Snapshots, File syncing
IDrive is our top recommended cloud backup tool due to its speeds, security, and range of additional features. It’s the best all-around online backup tool that can securely keep copies of user data that can easily and swiftly be restored in the case of any unexpected disasters.
IDrive offers up to 5TB of storage for their personal plan, which tends to be plenty for standard users. If you think you’ll need more than this, then you can pay a higher price for a 10TB storage allowance instead. You’re also able to backup from multiple computers with just one plan, and you can even install the IDrive app on your phone to backup files from there too. There is also a free subscription plan that only offers 5GB of storage which is ideal if you want to try out IDrive before committing to a paid annual plan.
Snapshots let you restore any old versions of your files which is especially useful in the case of ransomware or malware attacks. With IDrive’s Snapshots, you can store up to 30 different versions of your files, allowing you to perform point-in-time recovery. So, if your files have been infected by ransomware, then you can find and select a timeline before the infection to restore your data.
Users have the choice between an IDrive-managed key or a private encryption key that encrypts your data so that not even IDrive can access it, even if compelled by law enforcement. Beware though, as if you forget your private key, IDrive cannot recover it. Additionally, IDrive uses 256-bit AES to secure user files whilst they’re backed up in the provider’s US-based data centers. IDrive also supports two-factor authentication (2FA), which is a feature that we’d like to see with every online backup tool.
IDrive’s upload speeds are both fast and consistent, which is fantastic to see. IDrive’s file sync is also a nice additional feature as it allows users to view, modify, and manage their files in real-time from anywhere. Another extra feature offered by IDrive that is fairly uncommon for backup tools is a disc-image backup. With this, users can create a complete bootable backup of their system which is especially useful for when they want to upgrade to a new PC hardware.
It would, of course, be nice to see IDrive offer unlimited storage. However, with the reasonable 5TB storage cap included in its cheapest plan, along with an impressive range of other features, IDrive is still the most worth it cloud backup tool of 2021.
Key features – Restore-by-mail, Unlimited Storage
Backblaze is another fine choice when it comes to backup tools. With a well-organized interface, unlimited storage, and fast backup speeds, this tool is well worth its reasonable price tag.
Simplicity is where Backblaze shines and stands out from its competitors. This online backup tool requires minimal input from users and will quietly perform regular scans in the background without impacting the device’s performance. When the software is first installed, it scans users’ computers and gives them an overview of all their files before automatically performing a backup. Users have the option to exclude any specific files, but other than that the tool needs no other user input whilst it’s backing up all files from a hard drive into cloud storage.
Security is not overlooked by Backblaze either. This tool supports Two-Factor Verification (2FV) which increases protection against unauthorized users accessing a Backblaze account. All data is encrypted with the standard AES 128-bit, which is virtually uncrackable, and users can opt for an additional private encryption key. Also, user data is duplicated and stored on multiple servers at BackBlaze’s data center, so if one copy is corrupted, then there are other backups available.
The unlimited storage is a generous feature provided by Backblaze. Users can save every file from their computer including photos, videos, documents, and music. Backblaze also gives users a prediction of how long a full hard drive backup should take, depending on the file sizes and the user’s network speed. If you’re looking to backup more than one device then you’ll have to buy additional licenses, which can soon add up to a costly annual bill.
If you’re in a situation where your computer is damaged beyond repair, don’t fret, as with Backblaze you can have all your files delivered to you on a physical USB hard drive or flash drive. This Restore-by-mail feature provides users with the option to have their files recovered and shipped directly to them for an extra cost if their physical hard drive is unsalvageable.
When it comes to additional features, Backblaze lacks slightly compared to IDrive, which is why it rests in second place. Advanced users may want more flexibility and control in a backup tool and would therefore go with an alternative. However, the software’s simple and easy-to-navigate interface makes it an ideal choice for beginners and novice users who don’t necessarily want to splash out for a fancier, more complicated backup tool.
Key features – Zero-knowledge encryption, Drag-and-drop
With one of the cleanest and most functional interfaces out of all cloud backup tools, NordLocker provides an excellent user experience at an affordable price. With plenty of additional features and just a few drawbacks, NordLocker is another fantastic choice for users looking for a secure and reliable cloud backup tool.
NordLocker uses a zero-knowledge encryption system, meaning that no one, not even employees, can decrypt user’s files. In fact, this provider is so confident in their security protocols that they have offered $10,000 to anyone who can hack into their servers through cracking a “locker” that is secured with their advanced zero-knowledge encryption technology.
NordLocker uses AES-256 encryption which is exceptionally strong and secure, and users need to enter their master password to access and decrypt any of their backed-up files. Sadly, NordLocker does not support two-factor authentication, which is a feature that we’d love to see implemented in the future.
NordLocker uses a specialized drag-and-drop interface that helps users to save time when managing their data and selecting files to back up. Users simply have to drag files into the app where NordLocker will instantly secure them. This form of interface makes uploading and organizing files enjoyable and hassle-free, whilst also leaving little room for user error and mistakes.
Cross-platform synchronization, another feature that’s provided by NordLocker, allows your settings, preferences, and files to be synced across all linked computers. This means that you can easily access and make changes to your files from any device that is logged into your NordLocker account. Unfortunately, this provider does not support Linux, Chrome OS, iOS or Android devices.
With its military-grade encryption and additional protocols, NordLocker stands out when it comes to security. This provider also offers plenty of other features that are easy to access and use through its clean and simple interface. There are a few drawbacks, such as the lack of mobile support and 2FA which puts this backup tool in third place. However, if you’re looking for an incredibly secure cloud backup tool, then look no further than NordLocker.
4. Strato HiDrive
Key features – File Sync, rsync
HiDrive is another reliable and reasonably priced cloud backup tool that gives users plenty of flexibility when it comes to subscription plans. You can choose between having 100 GB – 5000 GB of cloud storage and up to 250 user accounts. HiDrive is best used for small businesses who want to backup and share important files between many employees.
HiDrive’s upload and download speeds are reasonable and shouldn’t impact your device’s performance too much. This backup tool’s security is also adequate, with files only being encrypted with 256-bit encryption while they are being transferred between the user’s device and the cloud storage. We would like to see further attention paid to user’s security so that they don’t have to rely on third-party software such as the recommended Boxcryptor. As HiDrive’s data centers are based in Germany, they are protected under the German Data Protection Act.
HiDrive’s support is incredibly useful with well-written articles that are both easy-to-read and informative. If you happen to run into any issues with HiDrive, then you should be able to find a clear solution using the STRATO help center.
With the file sync feature, users can store files in a specialized HiDrive folder where they are kept on both the hard drive and in the cloud. These files can be accessed by other devices and any changes made to them will also be synchronized. This provider’s cloud storage is compatible with Mac, Linux, and Windows. There is also mobile access available on all iOS and Android devices.
HiDrive includes some useful sharing features such as the ability for users to set an expiry date or password protect specific links. However, HiDrive sadly doesn’t provide any permission control for shared links, whereas many cloud backup tools let users restrict others to ‘read-only’ or ‘edit’ permissions.
Overall, HiDrive is a great standard cloud backup tool that offers plenty of file syncing features. This tool is best used for businesses as it supports a large number of user accounts and offers plenty of cloud storage. Additionally, Linux and Unix admins will love the rsync support that can be added for a small fee.
5. SpiderOak One Backup
Key features – Point-in-Time, Backup customization
A well-designed interface, lots of customization options, and plenty of security protocols make SpiderOaks another great cloud backup tool contender. With this provider there are four subscription plans available; 150 GB, 400 GB, 2TB, 5TB, with each plan having no limit on the number of devices that can be synced.
SpiderOak will continuously watch your system to identify any changes to files. Users can also fully customize their backup schedule to specified times or days of the week where SpiderOak performs a backup. Additionally, you can include or exclude certain files depending on their age, size, or keywords in their filenames. SpiderOak can also store historical versions of user files and condenses them to maximize storage space.
SpiderOak takes special consideration when it comes to their user’s privacy and security. Their end-to-encryption means that your data is encrypted with 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES throughout its transit to their servers and stays encrypted when stored. Also, SpiderOak’s No Knowledge policy states that it has no way to access or view any user files. Unfortunately, SpiderOak doesn’t support 2FA, which is a feature that is provided by many other cloud backup tools.
The Point-in-Time recovery feature can restore a user’s data to the state that it was in before a ransomware or malware attack.
SpiderOak storage is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and data can be synced between various devices. However, if you’re looking to clone your entire system hard drive, then SpiderOak suggests that you use a third-party system clone tool such as Clonezilla.
SpiderOak was recommended by computer analyst and former computer intelligence consultant, Edward Snowden, as a secure alternative to Dropbox, and it’s clear to see why. All in all, this online backup tool is one of the best when it comes to security and privacy. Although it’s much more expensive than other options, SpiderOak delivers all that it promises and sets out to be an extremely trustworthy and dependable cloud backup tool.
Your important files are constantly at risk of being corrupted, stolen, or injected by ransomware. Cloud backup tools allow you to store copies of your files online so, in the case of any catastrophic event, you have duplicates that are securely located off-site.
If you’d prefer regular backup tools rather than cloud backup tools, then have a read of this article.
Due to its extensive range of features and impressive upload speeds, IDrive is our top recommended cloud backup tool. This provider offers you everything you could possibly need in an online backup tool and all of its helpful features are packed into a reasonably priced subscription plan.
If you’re new to backup tools then you may prefer Backblaze, which offers a simplified interface and unlimited storage. Alternatively, if security is your main concern, then you’ll be best suited to NordLocker, a cloud backup tool that provides the strongest encryption on top of various other security protocols.