What is Online Backup?

Online backup (also known as “cloud backup”) services let you backup your files to remote servers, to protect against data loss.  Files can be recovered by downloading them to your computer.  Some services can ship your files on an external hard drive, if download speeds are a concern.

Examples of Online Backup Services

Similarities to Cloud Storage

They are similar to cloud storage services, although cloud storage services typically focus on file access and sharing.  Online backup services have features tailored specifically for backup and recovery purposes.

Many services could fall into both categories, however.  For instance, Dropbox lets users share files and recover previous file versions, so it could technically be considered an online backup service.  Likewise, online backup provider IDrive has a sync service that makes it similar to a cloud storage service.

In either case, it’s best to choose a cloud service based on the intended use, rather than the label used to describe it.  Look for features that are important to you, and don’t get too caught up in whether something is for “backup” or “cloud storage.”