The Top Three Cloud Server Backup Solutions

The Top Three Cloud Server Backup Solutions

By Emmanuel Paige

It is important to backup data on a computer for safe keeping on portable storage or on the cloud, and keep it protected if catastrophe strikes. Unprepared computer users can keep important files and documents stored on their computer for years, and without warning, eventually a system failure will strike that results in a great loss of data that will be irreversible, and it may be impossible to recover files. That is why backing up data on regular intervals is a priority and extremely important. Saving to a backup system like portable disks, USB memory sticks and flash drives, or hard copies in printed form on sight is a good idea, and is always advisable, however, this does not guard against the possibilities of natural disaster, theft, fire, electrical circuit and hardware malfunctions, and the possibility of losing access to files and devices where critical information may be stored for backup. It can happen, and that is why it is a good idea to backup data to the cloud for safe keeping.

Today there are server backup solutions available that can prevent a complete loss of important files and data when a disaster strikes. There are numerous free and paid options to choose from, and consequently the number of features and storage space is almost, but not always, limited directly and proportionate to the cost of the backup services. There are good deals to be found, but with these services the cost usually dictates the quality of the backup services, and if a free server backup solution is chosen it will only come with a minimal amount of storage space and features, but there will be an option for paid upgrades.

Data and software backup servers are offered by leading companies and today there are many to review, but the top three companies are easy to find, that offer paid and free services that will help back up data to redundant servers on the cloud and preserve files for safe keeping, should disaster strike without warning. At the click of a mouse everything can be restored back to its normal condition and activities can be resumed as though nothing ever happened in the first place.

The best server backup companies include: Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox. Although there are many others to choose from, such as Carbonite, there is little doubt that the three previously mentioned companies are the best choice because they have been established for many years, are ahead of the curve as far as research and development are concerned, and they have a proven track record that attests to their ability to deliver reliable backup solutions and service; not to mention their outstanding customer support, which equals satisfaction for the consumer. Carbonite has been around for a while, and although they offer a premium and professional service, they are only rated as “good” in PCMag.com and this recalls the phrase caveat emptor (Moore).

Google is ubiquitous in the Internet and technology game. They offer the best search engine technology as well as a suite of applications that private individuals and companies alike can use to share all kinds of data including documents, pictures, sketches and more across the World Wide Web. Not in the least of these is their cloud-based storage and retrieval service called, simply, Google Drive. All that is required is a Google account, username and password, and you can login to take full advantage of the software that they offer. Most of these services are free, including Google Drive. If you are using the server backup option for personal use, you will only get a meager 15 Gigabytes of storage space. However, if you are with a company and require more space, which you undoubtedly will, then you will be able to purchase upgrades for team members beginning at $8 per user per month. Because Google is leading at the forefront of Internet, search engine, cloud server, and device technology, it is safe to say that they will be around for a long time and will continue to be a leading pioneer with innovative technology. Google Drive has won the editor’s choice at PCMag.com and they say that “Google Drive is one of the slickest, fullest-featured, and most generous cloud storage and syncing services, with excellent productivity suite collaboration capabilities” (Muchmore).

Microsoft offers different cloud-base backup features with their Azure backup solutions, and this is a great feature for enterprise and corporations who need massive amounts of power and space and have an unlimited budget; however, there is another, smaller, cloud backup platform that is offered by the software giant known as OneDrive. This comes standard with Windows 10 and allows for a limited storage space of 5 gigabytes to start with. Users can purchase more space, as necessary. Recently Microsoft increased its security measures for OneDrive, and implemented a new feature called Personal Vault. Since “security and trust is key . . . Personal Vault is an area of storage that can only be accessed with a second step of identification, be that a fingerprint, face, PIN, or code. It’s also limited access, meaning if you unlock it and become inactive for a short period of time it re-locks itself.” (Humphries). This goes to show that Microsoft takes security seriously and they aim to please their customers. OneDrive is a good choice for cloud storage and backup and users will be pleased with this service.

Dropbox is another great choice for cloud backup and storage. They have been around for over a decade and have been consistent and reliable. They start you out with a small amount of space, 2 gigabytes, and can earn more space, up to 16 gigabytes, by referring users and earning small portions of extra space for each lead referral. Also, they give away promotional allotments in semi-annual and annual allotments as a bonus plan for retailers and online marketing and it can be as high as 30-50 gigabyte for a year. The caveat is that after the year expires, the user will be reverted back to the previous amount of space they had before the bonus. Extra space can be purchased in monthly or yearly increments for business or private users, and the amounts for a basic account are $15 and $12.50 respectively. This allows for three users and 3 terabytes of storage space. Dropbox wants to be a more than just an online backup repository, and they are keeping their promise by including interfaces with Google Docs and Microsoft Office (Kan).

Critics have argued that online cloud storage is not secure, as in the opinion stated by Steve Wozniak a few years back when he “said he’s worried about the ‘horrendous’ problems cloud computing could cause as users yield control of their data to service providers” (Butler). These naysayers believe cloud storage may not be safe from hackers and other prying eyes that might want to snoop and see what is online. There is always a risk of data being intercepted or hacked and exposed to unwanted inspection or theft when using the Internet or WiFi connections. Any online activity is susceptible to interception and Internet service providers and mobile phone carriers can easily harvest data and invade privacy, if they so desire. Hackers can troll wireless networks with scanners and gain access without much effort if a security breech is available, and once logged in they can reap havoc and cause all kinds of issues, including stealing identities and invading privacy. This is a risk for any network, cabled or wireless, and has nothing to do with online cloud storage, necessarily. The data that is stored online with these services is encrypted and there is little risk of a casual interception or invasion of privacy, as data is highly secure and safe. Another complaint is that the files are hosted on servers in less than desirable places and the data could end up in the wrong hands, or the building could be destroyed, and the information completely lost. What these critics fail to understand about cloud backup services is that they are redundant array of servers that have the data backed up in several different locations and the network will never lose a file if any one server gets disconnected. The problem with physical tampering at the server location is always a risk, as with any type of Internet or network activity, and this is a minimal risk to take when considering the bigger picture. “It comes down to using common security sense, and providers eliminating human and process errors that allow hackers to exploit users” (Butler). Another argument is that free or freemium products are unreliable, and one gets what one pays for, however, these three companies are big names in the business and have a lot at stake for making sure that their products are dependable and reliable, even in the free versions. If a user wishes to upgrade to the paid version there is nothing stopping them from doing so, but for the casual user, free products from these companies are safe and reliable. Ultimately, it is simply a good idea these days to back up your data to the cloud.

The advantage to cloud servers is that they keep the data safe from local damage, deletion, loss, and failure due to theft, electrical issues, hardware issues, physical damage to property, and keep the data safe for a long period of time. When a user buys a new computer all they must do is install the software for the cloud servers and the computer will instantly back everything up and restore all the information and files back to their original location. Losing data to broken systems, accidental deletion, and theft is a thing of the past with online cloud storage, and it is the wave of the future as most big software companies are featuring their flagship products with full featured online products that do not require installation on the local system to be executed. This means that a user can go anywhere in the world and access their data and use the same applications to edit and review them as if they were at home or in their office.

The question at hand is which of these three services is the best? The answer varies, but the clear winner is Google Drive. They offer a generous amount of free space to start out, 15 gigabytes, and all the software they offer online such as word processing, photo editing, spreadsheets, and the like link together with everything on their platform and it works well together. Many companies around the world are utilizing the features Google offers and it is becoming a standard. Microsoft is a monster of a company, and OneDrive is thrust into every Windows software package in the same manner that they have always applied to their marketing strategies and this is the program that most users will use by default, simply because it is there. Microsoft can easily overpower a smaller company like Dropbox, with their larger Azure enterprise platform, however, for the private individual and mom and pop companies, Dropbox may be a better solution since it is affordable and is strictly a cloud server backup company. That is all they do, and they do it well. In the end, Google stands out as the clear winner.

Works Cited

Butler, Brandon. “Recent Cloud Critics, Including Wozniak, Intensify Debate.” Network World, 9 Aug. 2012, www.networkworld.com/article/2190427/recent-cloud-critics–including-wozniak–intensify-debate.html. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.

Humphries, Matthew. “Microsoft’s OneDrive Personal Vault Now Available Worldwide.” PCMAG, PCMag, Oct. 2019, www.pcmag.com/news/371069/microsofts-onedrive-personal-vault-now-available-worldwide. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.

Kan, Michael. “Dropbox Gets a Makeover, Adds Google Docs, Slack Integration.” PCMAG, PCMag, 11 June 2019, www.pcmag.com/news/368931/dropbox-gets-a-makeover-adds-google-docs-slack-integration. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.

Moore, Ben, and Michael Muchmore. “Carbonite.” PCMAG, PCMag, 8 Mar. 2019, www.pcmag.com/review/255706/carbonite. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.

Muchmore, Michael, and Ben Moore. “Google Drive.” PCMAG, PCMag, 29 Aug. 2018, www.pcmag.com/review/297091/google-drive. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.


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