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Free and low-cost online backup services for your business

3-minute read

Based on the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model, these services are an easy and affordable way to back up and store data on a remote server. You can rapidly retrieve data in case of a disaster.

How do online backup services help?

The consequences of losing important data files can be disastrous from both a financial and a legal standpoint. Online backup services offer the following key benefits:

  • protection from theft, natural disasters and human errors
  • no upfront investment in backup hardware or software
  • access from anywhere in the world with Internet service
  • scalability
  • cost predictability and
  • peace of mind.

Depending on the service provider, these services may also offer:

  • file versioning, allowing you to restore previous versions of documents
  • access from your mobile phone and
  • automatic backup.

How do online backup services work?

Generally, you either upload files directly from your computer or install software that will automatically collect, compress, encrypt and upload your files. Service providers typically offer different service plans, depending on the amount of storage space and level of security required. Also, keep in mind that even if your data are stored on Canadian soil, if the service provider is not a Canadian company, your data may still be subject to foreign privacy laws.

There is often some confusion between cloud backup and cloud storage, although there are some noticeable differences. Cloud storage, as its name indicates, is a way of storing data in the cloud. As a result, you need to manually select the files you want to keep in the cloud. Cloud backups, on the other hand, allow you to back up all your data, except your operating system, and therefore require significant storage space. So, should the unforeseeable happen, cloud backups would fully protect you against data loss. Whereas with cloud storage, you would only be able to recover part of your data—specifically the files you had selected to store in the cloud.

With the arrival on the market of storage solutions that provide huge amounts of storage space at an affordable price, this distinction has become even more difficult. But, regardless of the storage space you need, your data is only protected if it is saved in a folder that is synced and backed up in the cloud.

Free and low-cost online backup services

There are many options, but few are available in both English and French. If you are looking for a low-cost or free solution, you may want to consider the following selected vendors. All of them back up your data directly to the cloud, but some also offer hybrid options that allow you to perform additional backups.

Revised December 2023

This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.

Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications that are not available either in English or in French, or that are neither low cost nor free. When assessing service providers, you will probably consider many other factors.

BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you provide online backup solutions and would like us to consider adding yours, please contact us.

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