Cloud backup is a valuable service offering a wide array of features to assist users in storing their files and data without constraints related to time and location. With the advancement of the Internet, storing data online has become a more convenient and efficient alternative to traditional storage on physical hard drives. The advantage of cloud backup is that its services and storage capabilities are easily accessed - users only have to be connected to the Internet, making data retrieval and management accessible and versatile.
Cloud backup storage advantages
Not only is cloud storage a useful service for individuals, but it can also be advantageous to various businesses (for backup, collaboration and in-cloud services), with the following advantages:
- Security – Cloud services typically employ advanced encryption to safeguard data both during transmission and while at rest. This level of security instills confidence in users, assuring them that their data is protected in the cloud.
- Ease of Access – Once data is stored in the cloud, it can be accessed easily and swiftly, provided the user's devices, such as phones, computers, or Macs, are connected to the network. This accessibility enhances convenience and flexibility in data retrieval.
- Large choice of services - There are many different types of cloud storage services, with different service level agreements.
- Cost Reduction – Storing data on physical hard drives, and buying and maintaining software locally can be costly, especially for businesses with large datasets. Cloud storage is often more cost-effective, making it a practical solution for data storage.
- Off-site - Cloud storage means the actual stored data is in some other location (s), providing security to the backup in case of local harm/attack to the data
Cloud backup storage criteria
Cloud storage as a service can be useful in the right circumstances. However, the cloud storage market as a whole is vast and varied, offering many different options to work with, perhaps making it difficult to choose a specific storage provider for yourself or your company. Here are a number of criteria that can be used to determine whether the cloud storage in question is the best choice:
- Ease of Use – The user interface should be intuitive and user-friendly. It should be easy to upload, manage, and retrieve files.
- Storage Capacity – Assess your storage needs and choose a service that provides an adequate amount of storage. Consider scalability for future growth.
- File Sharing and Collaboration – Consider if the service offers file sharing and collaboration features, especially if you need to work with others on shared documents.
- Redundancy and Reliability – Ensure the service has redundancy and backup systems in place to prevent data loss.
- Data Security – Ensure the service offers robust encryption for data both in transit and at rest. Look for compliance with data protection regulations and certifications.
- Speed and Performance – Check the speed of uploads and downloads, which can be crucial when dealing with large files.
- Backup and Restore Options – Look for flexible backup and restore options. Can you schedule backups, and is there a versioning system for file recovery?
Of course, this list is far from conclusive, and there are many other factors to be aware of. Additionally, there is one large factor that we did not mention before – the price. The overwhelming majority of cloud storage options have a price attached to them – for the obvious reason of support and maintenance costs for the storage in question.
Best free online cloud backup solutions
Cloud storage prices have the unfortunate tendency to scale upwards extremely fast when the amount of data grows, making it difficult for smaller companies to keep up with the price increase. For that exact reason, plenty of different cloud storage providers offer some form of a free storage offering in their service – a small fraction of the service’s capabilities that can serve as a good starting point for a small business with the possibility of said business upgrading their pricing plan to a paid one down the line.
In this context, we can try to show off a number of different solutions, showcasing what kind of free storage options they can offer to their users. The list below includes 15 best free online cloud backup software – because some cloud storage solutions can also perform backup and recovery functions alongside providing cloud storage space.
Filen is a cloud storage service that provides secure and efficient storage solutions for individuals and businesses. With a focus on data security, ease of use, and seamless collaboration, Filen offers a reliable platform for storing and sharing files in the cloud. It is suitable for a wide range of users, from individuals seeking personal storage to businesses looking to streamline file management and data access in a secure and user-friendly environment.
- A free offering of 10GB of storage with the ability to expand it via a referral system, and not just by paying money.
- Extensive link-sharing system with plenty of customization options.
- No segregation in terms of features between free and paid plans, the only difference is the amount of storage space available.
- Plenty of different applications for different platforms to choose from, but not all of them are at the same level of stability, and the desktop app has a number of problematic bugs.
- The solution itself is relatively new, so there may not be that many support resources of user-generated content to solve specific issues.
My personal opinion on Filen:
Filen is a rather interesting option here, offering a full set of its features for everyone with no price attached. Its pricing model is relatively simple and only changes the amount of storage space available from one tier to another. The overall number of capabilities is also impressive – file sharing, versioning, file sorting, encryption, and even a web version. Filen is also a relatively new solution on this market, so all of the usual concerns about new solutions apply here – potential feature cuts down the road, lower free storage offering (10GB right now), and higher prices. The solution itself is good right now, but it is also recommended to think a bit about the future, especially if you’re a business that plans to use one cloud storage solution for a while.
BestFile is a free online file storage and sharing software. It provides unlimited space for users to upload and store files like images, documents, music, and videos. Users can upload multiple files at once using drag-and-drop or manual selection. Sharing files is easy through links or social media. BestFile also offers a control panel for managing uploads and the option to password-protect shared files. It serves individuals, students, educators, and businesses looking for cloud storage, file sharing, and management capabilities.
- Capterra: BestFile holds a strong rating of 4.8/5 stars, as indicated by a substantial number of 128 user reviews on Capterra.
- The only option on this list with completely unlimited storage space capacity, and there are no paid plans whatsoever.
- Plenty of security-related options, be it password protection, 2FA support, automatic file deletion, and more.
- The solution even has a basic set of activity stats that each user can access at any time.
- No mobile apps available whatsoever, the only option is to use a desktop device.
- Cannot upload more than 5 files at a time, restrictive for large data uploads.
- The lack of any monetization whatsoever is a rather serious security concern.
My personal opinion on BestFile:
BestFile is a very unusual option for this list – it almost did not make the cut in the first place, and yet here it is. BestFile is a completely free cloud storage solution with no limitations on the storage space whatsoever, it can offer easy file sharing, a number of security options, automatic file deletion, and more. At the same time, it lacks any kind of folder-based organization, there is no trash folder for accidentally deleted files, and the entire pricing model of the solution is completely unknown – it is unclear how the software is making money to support its infrastructure in the first place, which is the biggest red flag of them all.
Yandex.Disk is a cloud storage service provided by Yandex, a prominent Russian tech company. It offers a secure platform for storing, accessing, and sharing files and data in the cloud. Yandex.Disk is known for its seamless integration with other Yandex services, such as Yandex Mail and Yandex Photos. This integration enhances data accessibility and synchronization across various devices. Yandex.Disk is suitable for individuals and businesses seeking user-friendly cloud storage solutions.
- Plenty of features that are near-absent in other solutions, such as folder-based file grouping and bulk download.
- Capable of uploading specific data types from a smartphone automatically (such as photos).
- Seamless integration with a wealth of other Yandex apps and offers.
- Most of Yandex’s services have plenty of advertisements placed inside of them, creating a rather inconvenient experience for the end user.
- Some features are only available for the official desktop application of Yandex Disk – such as the ability to upload entire folders, this one is not available on the web app whatsoever.
My personal opinion on Yandex Disk:
Yandex Disk is a somewhat weird contender for the name of the best free online cloud storage solution. It is a rather impressive option as a whole, with plenty of features to choose from and a lot of room to grow for a business – including seamless integration with other Yandex offerings, as well as plenty of features that are not particularly present in other cloud storage solutions. At the same time, it only offers a rather small portion of the storage in the form of 5GB for free, and some of its more convenient features are closely tied to the full-fledged desktop application, creating an unusual combination of advantages and shortcomings.
OneDrive is a cloud storage service created by Microsoft. It provides a secure and flexible platform for storing, accessing, and sharing files and data in the cloud. OneDrive is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft 365, making it a preferred choice for both individuals and businesses. With features like file synchronization, real-time collaboration, and accessibility across multiple devices, OneDrive streamlines file management and enhances productivity. It is a popular solution for those looking for dependable cloud storage and collaboration tools within the Microsoft ecosystem.
- Capterra: It has a strong rating of 4.5/5 stars based on a significant number of user reviews (11,839 reviews) on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, OneDrive holds a favorable rating of 8.0/10 stars based on 919 user reviews.
- G2: The software also receives positive feedback on G2, with a rating of 4.3/5 stars based on 9,453 user reviews.
- Two different file upload options – be it via a desktop app or a mobile app.
- Easy file sharing that can be customized with just a few clicks.
- Access to the web versions of Microsoft Office products – such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
- The free storage option is very limited, offering 5GB at most – although it is possible to expand that limit by using specific features, such as mobile photo synchronization or the referral system.
- Since this is a solution from the same company that created Windows, OneDrive is much more integrated with this specific operating system than any other one – going as much as limiting functionality for other operating systems.
My personal opinion on OneDrive:
OneDrive represents a cloud backup solution from a massive technological company – Microsoft. It is a great option for a range of different businesses (when it comes to the paid version), but the overall experience with the free version is slightly different. Most of the software’s features are still there – including file management, file sharing, and even access to Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. However, the amount of free storage Microsoft is offering is minuscule (5GB with some expansions), and a tight Windows integration may be a problem down the line for non-Windows users.
Blomp is a cloud storage service that offers users a secure and efficient platform for storing, sharing, and managing their files and data in the cloud. It is designed with a user-friendly interface and provides flexible storage options. Blomp is suitable for individuals and businesses in need of reliable cloud storage and convenient access to their digital content across different devices. It is also one of the few cloud storage solutions without a limit in terms of how large a single file may be.
- A very user-friendly interface with little to no unnecessary clutter.
- No limitations in terms of how large a single file may be.
- The solution is available for all popular platforms so far – not just Windows and Mac, but also smartphones and Linux.
- The overall feature set is somewhat limited – it does work in the solution’s favor, to a certain degree, but most market competitors offer a wider array of features, as well.
- Complete lack of file sharing is probably one of the most significant issues of Blomp – in a world where practically every free cloud backup solution can offer a multitude of sharing capabilities at once.
- None of the uploaded files can be previewed – not just videos, but also music and images, as well.
My personal opinion on Blomp:
Blomp is a small but interesting cloud storage solution. It is extremely simple and convenient, it is almost impossible for a user to get confused in terms of how to access a specific feature. It also offers plenty of storage for a free cloud backup solution – 20GB. However, its simplicity does come at a price – it is not as feature-rich as most of its competition, there is no option to preview any kind of media that has been uploaded, and there is also no way to share uploaded files. Blomp may be a good solution for a very specific target audience, but the audience in question needs to know its limitations and shortcomings beforehand.
Dropbox is a well-known and widely used cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. It offers users the convenience of storing, accessing, and sharing files and data from almost anywhere with an internet connection. This service is known for its user-friendly approach, allowing individuals, businesses, and teams to easily collaborate, back up their data, and access their files across a range of devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Dropbox streamlines the process of file management and sharing, making it a popular choice for both personal and professional purposes.
- Capterra: Holds a strong rating of 4.5/5 stars based on a substantial number of 21,428 customer reviews.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, Dropbox maintains a favorable rating of 8.2/10 stars based on a significant number of 2,049 customer reviews.
- G2: The software also receives positive feedback on G2, with a rating of 4.4/5 stars based on a substantial number of 20,755 customer reviews.
- File sharing can be customized, offering access to a specific file for a specific audience.
- There is an option to back up files automatically from your workstation, but it is mostly suitable for personal use.
- Finding and sharing files is easy with Dropbox mostly because of its user-friendly interface.
- The Dropbox desktop app is not particularly optimized and can slow down legacy hardware by quite a lot.
- One of the lowest free space offerings on this list with just 2GB of free storage.
- The synchronization process works best with small file sizes, handling large files may slow down the process by a large margin.
My personal opinion on Dropbox:
Dropbox is a very well-known cloud storage service, one of the most known services in the world. It is used by both companies and regular individuals for data sharing, data storage, and plenty of other use cases. It is also one of the few options on this list that can perform automatic data backups when set up properly. It should also be noted that its free storage space is extremely small (just 2GB), and it also has issues when dealing with large files, just like any other cloud storage solution does. Dropbox is a good cloud solution, but it is nowhere near perfect, and its future users have to be aware of that.
Google Drive is a widely-used cloud storage and file-sharing platform by Google. It allows users to store files, documents, photos, and other data securely in the cloud. Google Drive seamlessly integrates with other Google services, like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, enabling real-time collaboration and productivity. With user-friendly accessibility from various devices, it's a versatile and widely adopted solution for personal, professional, and collaborative file management.
- Capterra: Google Drive has received a strong rating of 4.8/5 stars based on a substantial number of 27,280 user reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, Google Drive maintains a favorable rating of 8.8/10 stars based on a significant number of 6,104 user reviews.
- Being one of the most well-known technological companies on the planet, Google can offer an incredible level of security to Google Drive users to make sure that the customer data is secure and protected at all times.
- It is also a great option for users or companies that work with other Google apps on a regular basis since Google Drive easily integrates with Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Docs to ensure the best user experience possible.
- The amount of data Google Drive offers is rather large – 15GB – but this data pool is also shared with both Google Photos and Gmail, creating a rather inconvenient situation where a completely full storage of photos or mail could easily put a dent in the overall free storage capacity.
- Google Drive as a solution is well-known for its reliance on stable network connection and high bandwidth, the overall user experience can get worse quite a bit if the user in question is lacking either of those.
My personal opinion on Google Drive:
Google Drive is a rather popular option for business cloud storage, it is fast, relatively easy to work with, and has plenty of advantages. It can be integrated with other Google products such as Word or Docs, and there are also plenty of security-related options to ensure the highest possible level of security as a whole. However, Google Drive’s data shares the same storage pool as both Google Photos and Gmail – a significant disadvantage for a specific group of people that prefer to send files by mail on a regular basis (or the ones that take a lot of photos on a personal account). It is also rather resource-heavy when it comes to internet connection, so I can only recommend it for users who know of the solution’s potential issues before starting to use it.
Icedrive is a cloud storage service that offers secure and accessible storage solutions for individuals and businesses. With a strong focus on data privacy and user-friendly features, Icedrive provides a reliable platform for storing, sharing, and syncing files in the cloud. Its innovative approach to cloud storage, including client-side encryption, makes it a popular choice for users seeking a secure and easy-to-use solution for their digital content and data.
- Capterra: IceDrive holds a strong rating of 4.5/5 stars, as indicated by the limited number of 23 user reviews on Capterra.
- Offers preview capabilities for various media types, including documents, audio, and even video.
- Has a limited data redundancy capability in the form of a versioning feature – the ability to store previous file versions.
- There are both desktop and mobile applications available, as well as the web version of the solution.
- The solution limits all free accounts’ daily bandwidth to 3GB, which is a rather unconventional limitation.
- There are also some features that can only be used by paid users – including advanced link sharing and encryption, among several others.
My personal opinion on IceDrive:
IceDrive is another good example of a relatively small cloud backup solution with a fair share of both advantages and compromises. It is relatively user-friendly and offers a variety of different options when it comes to accessing itself. It can offer media previews for documents, music, and even video files, while also providing limited versioning for redundancy. At the same time, the solution’s bandwidth is limited to 3GB per day for free versions, and some of its features are straight-up unavailable for free users. Add that to the fact that IceDrive’s free storage offering is just 10GB – and you get a relatively normal free cloud backup solution with a few unusual quirks and specialties.
pCloud, while not a dedicated backup software, can serve as a valuable resource for data storage and collaboration. It provides limited cloud storage for free, making it an option for users who need to store and share files across multiple devices. Some of its features include file sharing, collaboration tools, data encryption, individual or group permissions, activity tracking, and digital asset management. However, it's worth noting that the storage limitations might not be suitable for large-scale backup operations with extensive data.
- Capterra: pCloud has received a rating of 4.5/5 stars based on 165 customer reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, pCloud has an impressive rating of 9.0/10 stars based on 28 customer reviews.
- G2: The software maintains a strong rating on G2 as well, with a score of 4.3/5 stars based on 151 customer reviews.
- Provides collaboration tools that enable easy file sharing among users, making it a practical solution for teams or individuals who need to work on documents, projects, or other files together.
- Users have reported good performance with data exporting and importing, making it efficient for transferring files to and from the cloud storage.
- Can function as an extension of physical storage, allowing users to offload and access files from the cloud, effectively expanding the overall storage capacity of a user or a company without the need for additional physical hardware.
- Users have found it challenging to locate duplicate files within the platform, which can be a concern for those looking to optimize storage usage.
- Some users, especially new ones, have reported that the user interface can be confusing. Clear navigation and ease of use are crucial for a positive user experience.
My personal opinion on pCloud:
pCloud is another example of a well-known cloud storage solution, although its popularity is nowhere near close to the likes of Dropbox. pCloud’s capabilities are not particularly vast, but it does its job extremely well – offering cloud storage for its users, protecting said data, offering plenty of sharing options, and more. There is even a form of a backup system in place – pCloud’s versioning system offers the ability to restore past versions of specific files, making it extremely convenient in a very specific set of use cases. There are a few things that pCloud has to work on, like the lack of 2FA, but the solution itself is still extremely useful for both individual and commercial use.
Degoo is a cloud storage service known for offering users a generous amount of both free and premium storage space for their files and data. It features a simple and intuitive interface, making it easy for individuals to securely store, back up, and share their digital content in the cloud. Degoo is a popular choice for users in search of ample storage capacity and a straightforward approach to cloud storage.
- Capterra: Degoo has a rating of 3.4/5 stars based on 41 user reviews on Capterra.
- G2: On G2, Degoo holds a slightly higher rating of 3.9/5 stars based on 53 user reviews.
- One of the bigger free storage offerings on the list with 20GB of free storage.
- The application is built around file sharing with other people – and it also increases the upper limit of storage available for you (5GB per one referral person).
- The navigation on the official website can be rather confusing to newcomers.
- There is a rather strict data deletion policy in place that erases all user accounts that were not active for the last 90 days.
- There are plenty of advertisements involved, as well, since the base of the solution is a mobile app for Android and iOS.
My personal opinion on Degoo:
Degoo is another unusual option for cloud storage, it is barely a cloud storage service to begin with. It is the only solution so far that only has mobile versions of the app (iOS, Android), and it is also rather bare-bones in general. It does offer 20GB of free storage, but its usage is rather limited in the first place – since there is no desktop version at all. It offers its users 5 extra GB of storage for every single user in the referral system, but the website of the solution is difficult to go around, and there are also some ads here and there in the app itself. It is a very polarizing solution as a whole, but it would also be extremely useful to a very narrow audience that favors smartphones over desktop apps.
MediaFire is a versatile cloud storage service that empowers users to store, share, and access their files and media effortlessly. With a generous free storage allocation and affordable premium plans, it caters to a broad spectrum of users, from individuals to businesses. Its user-friendly interface and cross-platform compatibility make it accessible from various devices, ensuring your files are within reach anytime, anywhere. MediaFire's straightforward sharing features allow you to collaborate and distribute files with ease, while its built-in media player simplifies content streaming. Additionally, the service boasts robust security features to safeguard your data, making it a reliable choice for cloud storage needs.
- Capterra: MediaFlare maintains a strong rating of 4.4/5 stars, as indicated by 44 user reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: MediaFire holds a rating of 7.5/10 stars based on 39 user reviews on TrustRadius.
- G2: On G2, MediaFire has a rating of 4.1/5 stars based on 42 user reviews.
- There is no pressure for any user to create an account – even guest users can upload files to the cloud if such a need arises.
- There are no bandwidth limitations whatsoever in this cloud backup solution.
- MediaFire also supports large files, to a certain degree – file size of up to 4GB is supported.
- Guest accounts are even more limited than free accounts – 1GB of free storage and file deletion after two weeks of inactivity period.
- The solution supports itself via online advertisements, so the ads are plenty and they can be found in practically any part of the MediaFire website.
My personal opinion on MediaFire:
MediaFire is a rather well-known cloud storage resource on the Internet as a whole, mostly because of its guest account support capabilities. It is a more interesting option for individual users rather than businesses, but there is still some use in it for those, as well. MediaFire works great with all file sizes and offers a rather mediocre free storage space – 10GB. It also has mobile applications, and can be used to quickly share files that are not particularly sensitive or important, since MediaFire’s security capabilities are rarely talked about – they are not likely to be up to standard with some of the more commercial-oriented solutions on this list.
Box is a cloud storage service designed for businesses and enterprises, offering a secure platform to store, share, and collaborate on documents and files. With a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and customization, Box serves as a versatile content management solution for organizations, facilitating seamless collaboration, workflow automation, and secure data storage. It's a popular choice for businesses looking to streamline document management and enhance productivity while prioritizing data protection and compliance. It is not, however, what most would call a fully-fledged backup solution - being extremely limited in its backup and recovery capabilities.
- Capterra: Box has received a rating of 4.4/5 stars based on 5,258 customer reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, Box maintains a rating of 8.4/10 stars based on 720 customer reviews.
- G2: Box also holds a positive rating on G2, with a score of 4.2/5 stars based on 4,897 customer reviews.
- Relatively simple collaborative platform that enables data sharing among users with little effort (but there is a catch).
- Box offers several layers of security for all of its data, making sure that important or sensitive information is never lost or damaged.
- Despite being promoted as a collaboration platform, Box cannot monitor and save file changes if the changes in question were performed by multiple users at the same time.
- Dealing with data in large chunks (large media files or project files) usually causes Box to slow down quite a lot when it comes to data export/import.
- The solution can be used for some basic backup and recovery functions, but is highly unlikely to be deployed as an enterprise class backup solution
My personal opinion on Box:
Box is not a complicated solution, although it is more of a collaboration-based cloud service rather than cloud storage or backup solution. It has a decent free package for all users, and its premium plans are not particularly expensive, either. It is fast, secure, and can be a great help to smaller companies when it comes to communication and collaboration. At the same time, Box has its shortcomings, including both the ones that are considered an industry standard (slower download/upload for larger files), as well as issues that are more specific to Box (the inability to work with the same document at once). It is a good solution within the limits of what it can do, but every potential customer has to be aware of its shortcomings before committing to a purchase.
Sync.com is a secure and privacy-focused cloud storage service designed to protect your data while providing convenient storage solutions. With end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge architecture, it ensures that only you have access to your files. Sync.com offers user-friendly apps for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, making it accessible from your preferred devices. It's an ideal choice for individuals and businesses who prioritize data security and compliance, especially in industries with strict privacy regulations. Sync.com's collaborative features and file-sharing capabilities further enhance its usability, providing a comprehensive cloud storage solution for those who value privacy and peace of mind.
- Capterra: Sync.com holds a strong rating of 4.4/5 stars based on 44 customer reviews on Capterra.
- G2: On G2, Sync.com maintains a positive rating of 4.0/5 stars based on 35 customer reviews.
- A wealth of different device types that the solution supports, including a web version, a desktop (Windows) version, a Mac version, and smartphone apps.
- Easy file synchronization across multiple devices with easy file sharing (on file-level and folder-level).
- A dedicated folder for files that are not meant to be shared with other devices.
- A relatively small free storage space offering just 5GB of space.
- Less than ideal environment for working with large files in general.
- The solution’s website is very minimalistic to the point it can be a bit confusing about how to activate specific features.
My personal opinion on Sync.com:
Sync.com is no newcomer to the industry, but is not a solution to rival Dropbox or Google Drive in terms of size or market penetration. It is a rather good solution for data sharing across multiple devices and multiple users. Its cross-device synchronization is easy to set up, and the same could be said for the creation of shared folders. Sharing can be password-protected, and data can be uploaded in entire folders at once. Its website is rather bare-bones, and the solution’s support for large files is less than ideal, but the cloud storage service as a whole deserves plenty of praise.
Internxt is a cloud storage service with a strong commitment to security, privacy, and sustainability. It offers users a reliable platform for storing, syncing, and sharing their files and data while utilizing end-to-end encryption to keep your information safe. Internxt values sustainability and operates with a zero-knowledge approach, meaning only you have access to your files. The service includes user-friendly apps for various platforms, making it accessible across multiple devices, and it's particularly appealing to users who want to minimize their digital carbon footprint. With a focus on security, privacy, and environmental responsibility, Internxt is a compelling choice for those looking for a secure and eco-friendly cloud storage solution.
- Capterra: Internxt has a strong rating of 4.3/5 stars based on 19 customer reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, Internxt maintains a rating of 7.7/10 stars based on a smaller number of 3 customer reviews.
- G2: Internxt holds a rating of 3.7/5 stars based on 13 customer reviews on G2.
- A significant focus on data security with zero-knowledge encryption, meaning that none of the solution’s staff can see user files.
- A relatively cheap solution for its first few pricing plans, cheaper than what most competitors start for.
- The data can be accessed using a web app, and there are also smartphone applications for both iOS and Android.
- Extremely basic file search capabilities, most competitors offer a much more detailed and extensive toolset for data searching.
- A very small free storage offering of 2GB, can be expanded up to 10GB via a referral system.
My personal opinion on Internxt:
Internxt takes a rather interesting approach to the topic of free cloud backup services as a whole – putting a heavy emphasis on data security and encryption. It claims to have implemented zero-knowledge encryption, and there are also plenty of other security-related options available, be it limited file sharing, password protection, and more. It does offer a very limited free storage capacity of 2GB, and its file search capabilities are extremely basic, but it is still a rather viable option for smaller businesses or individuals who are more concerned about the security of their data than an average person does.
MEGA is a cloud storage service recognized for its strong emphasis on security and privacy. It provides users with a secure platform for storing, sharing, and synchronizing files and data. One of its notable features is end-to-end encryption and a zero-knowledge architecture, which ensures that only users themselves have access to their data, enhancing privacy and data protection. MEGA is a versatile cloud solution suitable for individuals and businesses seeking secure and private storage and file-sharing options in an era where data privacy is a growing concern
- Capterra: It has a strong rating of 4.5/5 stars based on 133 customer reviews on Capterra.
- TrustRadius: On TrustRadius, MEGA maintains a favorable rating of 8.5/10 stars based on 31 customer reviews.
- Support for a variety of different device types, not just desktops, but also Android and iOS smartphones, and even Windows phones.
- One of the more generous free storage offerings on this list with 20GB of free storage available to all users.
- A high level of security is included for all MEGA users, with features such as advanced encryption for complete data protection of any customer.
- It is necessary to remember the encryption key for the user’s own data at all times to not risk losing said data, so it may be troublesome for some to keep track of it at all times.
- Most of the paid plans of MEGA are really expensive, even by this market’s standards.
- There are some times when downloading files from MEGA takes a surprisingly long time without any apparent reason for it.
My personal opinion on MEGA:
MEGA is a very security-focused cloud storage solution that also has one of the largest free storage pools on the list – 20GB before any potential extensions. It has plenty of encryption-related features and can be even used through a dedicated smartphone app for iOS or Android. It is also not particularly fast (especially with bigger files), and a lot of its pricing plans are extremely expensive. Both companies and individuals who may want to start using MEGA with plans to update to a paid plan in the future need to be aware of that.
Of course, this particular list is far from conclusive, there are plenty of other free options available on this market. However, we feel like this particular list shows a good selection of different options, with quite a few unusual mentions, as well.
The topic of cloud storage backups
There is a reason why we mentioned cloud storage solutions as targets for cloud backups multiple times in this article. There are plenty of solution options that can serve as cloud storage for a company’s backup purposes – or at least, the cloud based part of the backup, that is. However, most of these solutions are very basic in their backup and recovery capabilities, which is why plenty of dedicated backup storage offerings can integrate with cloud storage providers to achieve the aforementioned cloud backup.
We can showcase one specific example of that logic here – a free backup solution by the name of Bacula Community being set up to perform Amazon S3 backups. The main reason why S3 was not mentioned in the list above is that it does not have any kind of free cloud storage offering available at all – but it is still important in the context of cloud backups as a whole.
Cloud storage backup with Bacula Community and Amazon S3
Bacula Community is a comprehensive, enterprise -class open-source backup and recovery software solution that is well-regarded for its flexibility and great scalability. It is designed for businesses and organizations seeking a reliable and customizable backup system without the costs associated with proprietary solutions. Bacula Community offers a range of high-end backup features, including data deduplication, encryption, and the ability to back up various types of data, making it suitable for complex and demanding IT environments. With a strong community of users and developers, it provides a cost-effective and community-supported option for data backup and recovery needs.
Most of Bacula’s cloud-centric backups are performed using Bacula Cloud Driver – a feature within the Bacula backup and recovery software that allows users to integrate cloud storage services as a destination for their backups.
The Bacula Cloud Driver has been tested with several storage vendors, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Wasabi, Huawei Cloud, and Backblaze. However, it is important to note that most S3 or CEPH technologies are compatible with the Bacula Cloud Driver. Additionally, Oracle, Azure, Google Cloud, Swift, and many other cloud storage vendors have dedicated Bacula Enterprise drivers.
The Bacula Cloud plugin introduces a new storage device type that allows Bacula administrators to efficiently manage backups stored on cloud devices. This flexibility enables Bacula administrators to handle backups on disks, tapes, and cloud storage, regardless of their preferred architecture or distribution. This versatility is valuable for organizations with diverse backup needs and storage solutions.
Both the cloud plugin and the Bacula Storage Daemon need to be installed on the same machine. The code below offers a way to do so at the same time by adding new repositories for CentOS/RedHat distributions, but @customer string@ is replaced with your own customer code, and @version@ is where the preferred Bacula version is mentioned.
name=Bacula Enterprise Edition
name=BEE Cloud Plugin
The Debian version needs a slightly different code for the same action:
deb https://www.baculasystems.com/dl/@customer-string@/debs/bin/@version@/jessie-64/ jessie main
deb https://www.baculasystems.com/dl/@customer-string@/debs/cloud/@version@/jessie-64/ jessie cloud
The package manager is used to both install and update the plugin once it has been added:
yum install bacula-enterprise-cloud-storage
apt-get update && apt-get install bacula-enterprise-cloud-storage
A new SD connection to the cloud can be created with either BWeb or via a command-line interface. The example above shows the latter for both CEPH and AWS cloud services:
Name = CEPH_S3
Driver = "S3"
HostName = ceph.mydomain.lan
BucketName = "CEPHBucket"
AccessKey = "xxxXXXxxxx"
SecretKey = "xxheeg7iTe0Gaexee7aedie4aWohfuewohxx0"
Protocol = HTTPS
Upload = EachPart
Truncate Cache = AfterUpload
UriStyle = Path # Must be set for CEPH
Name = AWS
Driver = "S3"
HostName = "s3.amazonaws.com"
BucketName = "your_bucket"
AccessKey = "xyz"
SecretKey = "abc"
Protocol = HTTPS
UriStyle = VirtualHost
Truncate Cache = AfterUpload
Upload = EachPart
Region = "us-east-1"
# MaximumUploadBandwidth = 5MB/s # Optional
Once that part is done, the next step is to add Bacula SD to write to the specific bucket. You would need to set the same cloud configuration and the same cloud device type as the one above. The ArchiveDevice is a local disk path for cache, the MediaType is a unique name for the Daemon, and the MaximumPartSize determines how big can one part of the backup be before being sent to the bucket:
Name = MyCloudAWS
Device Type = Cloud
Cloud = AWS
Archive Device = /mnt/backups # local volume cache
Maximum Part Size = 500 MB # important: it is the object upload granularity
Media Type = Cloud01
LabelMedia = yes
Random Access = Yes;
AutomaticMount = yes
RemovableMedia = no
AlwaysOpen = no
The last step here is to attach the aforementioned Daemon to the Bacula Director using BWeb – by creating a new Director Storage and using the same credentials as you used in different steps above.
Creating one or more new Bacula pools to accommodate the cloud backups is recommended. These pools should be configured to utilize the recently established storage settings. Additionally, it's important to set a CacheRetention directive time value (in days, months, etc.) to govern the duration for which cached volumes are preserved. Lastly, adjustments should be made to Bacula jobs and schedules to incorporate the new cloud pools. After implementing these changes, it is advisable to conduct a backup job test to ensure proper functionality.
The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) can be employed to verify connections to Amazon S3 and other cloud storage services. Installation can be accomplished using the pip package manager with the following command:
yum -y install python-pip
pip install awscli
The bucket connection can be set with the “aws configure” command, and the bucket is created using the following:
aws s3api --endpoint-url='https://s3.amazonaws.com'
create-bucket --bucket bsyssdsync
aws s3 ls
The official Bacula Community expands upon this topic quite a lot, offering more information about Bacula’s integration with S3 and how its secure cloud backup and recovery solution and its tasks work.
Cloud storage as a whole is an incredibly convenient - and often vitally important - way to complement the capabilities of physical storage. However, it does come with its own share of nuances and shortcomings, which is why knowing them beforehand is highly recommended for any user attempting to implement cloud backup software in the first place.
Additionally, the topic of cloud backup comes up here quite often, since regular backup rules do not really work for cloud storage for a number of reasons – which is why another approach is necessary. It can be either the cloud storage’s backup capabilities or the company’s capability to connect to cloud storage for backup purposes. In this article we managed to showcase both of these examples in what one would call a sufficient amount of detail.