In our previous blog about Cloud Storage Options for Small Business, we did not address the other type of cloud computing that is important to small businesses – back-ups. While it is easy to use a cloud storage and synchronization service for a small amount of files, it is not as easy to use them to back-up large amounts of data. This is the data that may not be used on a regular basis, but data that is still important to your business – typically files such as databases, product development records, historical data, old and archived files, and other files that are kept on your computer or server.

So instead of doing our typical research, we asked some of our office space Toronto tenants what back-up services they use. While some claimed they still used back-up drives and portable hard drives to back up their essential files, some used online services that we had not heard of before. Here are some of the back-up services that our office space tenants and virtual office clients use, as well as a few that our webmaster likes.

• Dropbox for business offers simple, secure and fast online back-up for all your team members. You can sync all of your important work across all your devices and share securely with your team, but you can also back-up all of your data on your 1TB Dropbox . You can additionally access older versions of your documents, and even restore deleted files. Dropbox for business is only $15 per user per month (based on 5 users).

• Backblaze is the favourite online back-up service of one of our office space tenants, mostly because everything about it is so simple. But more importantly, it is also popular because of the pricing and the easy-to-use software. With Backblaze, there are no file size limits. This means you can back up entire 100 GB hard drive files or 10 hours of HD video. Our office tenant tells us that Backblaze for business costs only $50 (US) per year per computer and allows for an unlimited amount of storage.

• MozyPro can automatically back up your critical files that reside on desktops, laptops or servers. MozyPro lets you schedule back-ups to run daily, weekly or monthly. The company’s software is compatible with both Windows and Mac (including Mac-based servers), and it can also back up data from your Windows server applications Exchange and even your SQL files. While Mozy only charges a flat rate according to the amount of storage you consume ($40 per month for 100 GB) instead of  a per-computer charge, it does have a $12.99 per month surcharge for backing up servers.

• Carbonite is probably the most largely used server by small business mainly because it is the most widely used by home computers. In fact, a few of our office space clients told us that Carbonite for business is an easy transition for home users. It will back up files and folders on Windows and Mac PCs just like the home version. With a “Business Premier” upgrade it also can add support for Windows servers. Carbonite Business costs less than $1 per GB per year and the free “Valet Install” option software can be remotely installed and set up for you. For $59 per year you can back up to two computers. For $229 per year you get back-up storage on four or more computers – but it does not support servers. If you want more back-up storage space and have your server included in your backup, you will have to sign up for their $999-per-year plan.

A favourite online cloud back-up service that some of our virtual office clients who work from home suggested is called CrashPlan. The reasons are its excellent software, low cost and a great features. They tell us that the web-based restore option and continuous back-ups means they don’t have to remember to perform the back-up on a regular basis. CrashPlan’s unlimited home account is $5.99 per month per computer. And yes, as the plan name suggests, you get an unlimited amount of online cloud storage space for your files. CrashPlan Pro is more intended for business use and doesn’t limit its support to Windows and Mac computers. It also works with Linux and Solaris systems as well. CrashPlan Pro will cost you $9.99 per user per month for unlimited storage, but also comes with more features that are suited to the needs of a business computer.

We are also told that Acronis (a company that our writer had not previously heard of, but is now interested in knowing about) provides a back-up and recovery online that provides total system care. Most online backup services mainly stick to backing up files and folders rather than entire computers. But what if a complete system failure occurs? Yes, your files are safe and secure, but you will have to re-install the operating system and all your applications before restoring your data. Acronis Backup and Recovery Online will create complete virtual images of individual PC’s, workstations, servers, or virtual machines which can get your business back up and running faster. Starting at $189 per year for a PC or workstation (500 GB), Acronis can also back up a 1TB server for $749 or $1,499 for a 2 TB Virtual Machine.

Now that you want to consider moving your computer back-ups to the clouds, why not consider an office in the clouds too? Telsec offers a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocolvirtual office solution that provides you with a prestigious business address to put on your business cards and other printed materials. We will receive your mail and packages, but we will also provide you with access to a professional receptionist who answers your calls and handles them as you instruct. You can tell the receptionist to transfer your calls to your mobile cellphone, your home-office phone or even to an optional VoIP handset that can be used anywhere in the world that includes our international mail service.