What is Online Backup? The Ultimate Guide

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
for service providers

Every day we use a number of devices, like computers, mobile phones, and tablets, and on these devices, our data is being stored day by day. All of our everyday activities are related to some kind of data, whether it is our photos, videos, account details or any other type of personal information. Nowadays, this information is being digitalized and stored on different devices that are easy to use, but also very important for us. In the past photos, documents, and any type of data were in a physical format, which made storing it a very difficult and time-consuming process. Thankfully, we live in a digital age, where this is no longer necessary to use paper for our documents or letters, all the information we need can be stored on the modern devices we are currently using.

They help us find the information we need with a simple search, with only a few clicks, in the past, this could have been a very time-consuming process. We can browse through our documents, photos, videos, and accounts just with a device that fits in our hands. How awesome is that? It made our lives easier and more comfortable, and we got used to this process, which is one of the best benefits modern technology has delivered for us.

But there is a risk, too, related to these helpful devices because they tend to break, and stop working, we can lose them unintentionally, and then there is a chance we can lose our private and valuable information stored on these devices for many years. For every person, that would be like losing a piece of our lives. Data is like the lifeblood for every person, or business organization. From e-commerce companies to different successful businesses, data plays a crucial role in strategy formulation, decision-making and overall operations. This could be a catastrophic event for every single person and business, no matter if it a giant corporation, or a local e-shop. If you ask yourself, what is the best decision here to protect your data? We will tell you the secret weapon in such scenarios, and it is named online backup service. It is easy to set and priceless in any unexpected event you may face.

An online backup service will give you peace of mind that your important information will be able to access, no matter what happens. When using a backup services you won't be stressed about losing even a single file from your archive. If you find yourself in a situation of deleted files by mistake, don't worry your online backup service provider will cover you and restore all the deleted information in a matter of seconds. If you are being hacked and locked out of access to your data, no worries, you will be able to restore your data and won't need to pay any ransom for unlocking your files.

Sometimes devices, networks and PC's tend to stop working, and that is perfectly normal. In fact it can happen anytime. But if you are using a backup service, you don't need to stress yourself at all, it will all go back to normal and your data will be recovered. Does this sound's like a miracle? Yes,  it is! In this article, we will cover all the benefits of using backup solution provider and cloud storage services. By implementing these priceless services to your everyday life, you will stop worrying anymore about the possibility of data loss.

What is Online Backup?

Online backup is created by a Backup software that creates one or more copies of your data on a cloud in case your original data is lost or damaged. Different backup solutions protect different kinds of data and different combinations of devices. For example, some solutions back up only certain devices, such as your PC and Mac, but do not protect your mobile devices. Other backup solutions can protect all your devices. Some backup solutions for PCs and Macs only back up your files and folders, while other solutions back up everything by taking a snapshot of the entire hard disk. This is called a full-image backup.

Online Backup vs. Traditional Backup

The popularity of cloud based workloads has skyrocketed recently. Through the past few years we see that not only established vendors are expanding their cloud capabilities, but new vendors specializing in cloud storage and backup are appearing as well. The simplicity and scalability of cloud computing services offer organizations a backup solution for safeguarding their data.

Meanwhile, local backup providers are not idle either. Disk speeds continue to improve and tape storage capacities keep increasing. Moreover, transitioning from backup to the cloud can be a difficult task for organizations that have relied on local backups for an extended period. IT departments and executives must carefully consider factors before making such a move, including the financial feasibility and the possibility of opting for a partial migration while maintaining some local backup systems.

Many organizations and enterprises adopt an approach that combines both cloud and local backup solutions. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, local file backups tend to be faster when it comes to recovery scenarios. Leveraging the cloud backup ensures offsite data protection in case of a disaster at the primary data center. However, it's worth noting that managing local backups typically requires in house system resources and staff time.

If it is difficult for you to choose whether to use a traditional backup or a cloud-based storage backup, you will get more clear picture after we mention the advantages and disadvantages for both options. Cloud storage services deliver a lot of benefits, but also some disadvantages. Let's explore them and look at them closely, so you will be able to choose the better option for you.

Online backup - Advantages and Disadvantages.

In general, using backups offers an additional level of security without putting too much strain on your staff. While online backup is widely used and comes with a lot of benefits, it's important to be aware of the disadvantages to ensure that your organization is adequately protected.

Efficient disaster recovery

When you use cloud storage, data is at a reduced risk of system failure since all data is stored and backed up on an external device, often thousands of miles away from your own location. This means you avoid expensive data retrieval that follows all common issues with hard drives malfunctioning. The backup process is automated by the providers and happens in a matter of minutes, which is very important in case of disaster scenarios. Furthermore, there won't be any need to back up your data on an external device like an HDD.

Low entry costs

Cloud storage eliminates the need to pay for software licenses and updates per year, because this is included in your package. Cloud storage also avoids the necessity to invest in expensive server infrastructure, because the cloud company already provides this for you. A team of professionals will take care of your data, so you won't need to hire additional employees.

Easy and efficient scalability

You will pay for the storage that you actually need for your file syncing service, not more and not less. In case your business grows, the cloud provider can easily adjust to meet your increasing data storage needs. You have the flexibility to expand your storage capacity by adjusting your payment. Similarly, if your business size reduces, you can opt for a certain amount of storage at a cost.

You will be able to access your data from anywhere. Since your data is stored remotely, or known as offsite backup, you can access it from anywhere in the world, whether you're in Spain, USA, England, or any other country. This is particularly advantageous if your job involves traveling or if your team is spread across time zones.

Cloud storage also facilitates collaboration when your team members are scattered around the globe. With cloud storage, it becomes effortless for employees to log in and access their colleagues work regardless of their location or the distances that separate them. By utilizing cloud storage, you aren't limited by boundaries or mediums, allowing your employees to work from home or abroad as needed.

Better security features

Online backup products offer a range of features to keep data safe.

Easy management. Managing online backup software typically requires time and effort compared to local data backups depending on the specific needs and preferences of organizations. You just need to make sure that you feel comfortable leaving management of the storage hardware in the hands of a third party service provider.

As you see, online backup makes your life easier and more secure with the benefits it provides, but let's also see the disadvantages.


Cost accumulations. When you need and use a small amount of data, it can be a cheap option, but storing a lot of data over a long period of time steadily increases the bill per month. It's critical to keep a close eye on cloud backup solution expenses, so you can control the proper storage space that you need, not more.

Difficult to migrate

Once you sign the contract and start utilizing a one particular cloud storage provider, it becomes challenging to transfer your data to another cloud provider in the future.

This issue is commonly referred to as 'vendor lock-in." Vendor lock-in poses a challenge for medium- to large businesses that store quantities of data with a single cloud provider. If any issues arise with that provider, switching to another provider can be problematic due to the volume of data involved and the complexities associated with such a transition.


It really can be a concern in cloud environments, particularly when multiple users are accessing the data or when organizations need to retrieve a large amount of data. To address this, having a defined retention policy is crucial. As data backups continue to accumulate, managing them effectively becomes challenging, which in turn affects the time it takes for recovery.

Security issues

Cloud storage means handing over the control of confidential information to a third party company. You must have complete confidence in a cloud storage provider's ability to protect your data before you move any data there. In the past, issues with cloud storage providers have been reported. For instance, in 2014 Dropbox exposed the private information of its users due to a systemic security flaw. Tax returns and mortgage applications were among the data exposed. The National Security Agency, a governmental intelligence agency in the US, is known to eavesdrop on information stored by cloud storage providers. A prominent cloud data storage company called Codespace totally shut down in 2014 after a hacker erased all of its users' data. 'Celebgate' is another illustration.

Traditional (local) backup Advantages and Disadvantages.

Let's start with the positive side from this method of course with the advantages.

Speed of recovery. Recovering large amounts of data is significantly faster compared to a cloud backup, because it doesn't rely on an internet connection.

On-site accessibility. With a traditional backup, you know all the time where your data is stored and have direct control over backup data.

Security. Using a traditional backup gives you more control compared to a data that's in the hands of a cloud provider.

Traditional backup disadvantages.

High initial cost. When comparing the costs of using online backup vs. traditional backup, you will have higher expenses, because you will be using external drive hardware for the backup. External drives are quite expensive, so you will have higher bills to pay for storing your data compared to cloud backup, where you won't need these.

Expensive maintenance

Traditional backup requires professionals to service and maintain it. When using cloud backup services, it will allow you to keep your team focused on other important aspects of your business, rather than service the hardware used for traditional backup functions.

Disaster recovery

If a disaster occurs at the primary site relying on traditional backup will not be sufficient and effective. However, if your organization has taken the precaution of storing backups off site those copies will become valuable for disaster recovery purposes.

Cybersecurity issues

If a cyber attack hits the primary data center, an organization must use off-site backup, whether it be on tape or in the cloud, to make sure the restore is clean.

Nowadays, the majority of the companies tend to use cloud backup service, because they are more innovative, more secure, and more accessible in case of difficult situations. It has more advantages than the traditional backup could offer. Despite that fact a lot of businesses, which can afford the use of hybrid method involving cloud and a local backup, combining the advantages of the two types of backups offers a great symbiosis. Thus, you can use the most secure method of the 3-2-1 rule of backup, where you never want to rely on one set of backups for recovery.

It is a choice that everyone must make for themselves and their organization, depending on the current needs and budget. Our advice is to think about and take on mind the advantages and disadvantages of each method, so you can ensure the best backup service for your business.

Types of Online Backup Services

As it commonly happens in life, we have to make choices with the belief that these choices will be successful and important for our lives. Backup services make no difference, you have to select the one that fits the best for you and your organization. There are different online backup services, and we have to understand how they work, for being able to choose the proper one. You are lucky if you read this article, because we will explore them in particular. If you want always to take the best decisions keep reading this article, so in the end you will know what exactly do you need.

Let's start with the first one:

File-level backup

A file-level backup is a type of backup that allows you to upload files and folders to the backup storage and then recover them when you need, in any case of emergency or unpredicted situations. You can certainly back up databases and drive images with a file-level backup, since they are still files. However, this particular kind of backup does not offer the capability to create a full disk image backup or handle database operations. It is generally not recommended to use this method for backing up file structures that are actively being modified, especially databases.

File-level backups are incredibly useful when it comes to safeguarding your own or your clients spreadsheets, pictures, and other important data. This technology is both simple and efficient, offering a lot of flexibility if you're able to dedicate some time to configuring backup plans for different requirements. These backups are particularly beneficial when you need to recover files or folders that may have been accidentally deleted, for instance, or damaged by unexpected situations.

Compared to other types of backups, file-level backups tend to be smaller in size. As a result, you can run them frequently without having any issues. Additionally, this means that neither your corporate network, nor the specific system used for the backup will experience strain or prolonged periods of workload. We can confidently recommend this type of backup as one of the best cloud backup services on the market.

Image-based backup

Image-based backup refers to a method where it makes a complete copy of your system and then uploads it to the backup storage. You have the option to decide whether you want to back up the system with all its drives or specific partitions, files and folders.

This type of backup is particularly useful when you want to create a full disk image backup of your desktops, or if you need to preserve your systems or server in a healthy and functioning state that allows for recovery in case of emergency.

We can confirm that image-based backups are generally larger in size compared to file-level backups, but tend to be more useful, secure and detailed. 

Continuous data protection.

Continuous data protection (CDP), also referred to as backup, is a storage system for backup and recovery that captures every change made to enterprise data. Essentially, CDP creates a record of storage snapshots, capturing each moment when data is modified.

One significant benefit of CDP is its ability to preserve a transaction log for every activity within the enterprise. Furthermore, in the event of a virus or Trojan infection or if a file becomes corrupted without detection, it remains possible to restore the most recent clean version of the affected file.

Online Backup Solutions for Personal Use

As we discussed till now, life without online backup would be very hard and dangerous. Can you imagine having a successful business, where you only need business continuity and a healthy environment but you are constant target for the cybercriminals? Now, imagine you don't have this lifesaving solution named online backup. How would you survive a cyber attack? How you revive the normal function of your business when something unexpected happens? The answer is that you will need to do everything from the beginning. It would feel like starting a brand new business, where you don't know how would it go, and if it will be successful.

Does it sound unfair and hard to believe? Hopefully, there is this priceless solution to all your problems, and it is named online backup solutions. Because, let's face it, a cyber attack is not a question of whether it will happen? When will it happen? The law of the jungle will knock on your door, and you better be prepared good enough.

When using an online backup service, you are provided with the privilege to be one step ahead of the threats that exist and that everyone of us will face one day. For the past eight years, the percentage of people using online backup of services has increased by more than 120% and will keep rising. Millions of ordinary people choose to secure their valuable information, because they don't want to lose their valuable photos, videos, documents, and all the important files they have stored over the years. Our lives are stored on computers and digital devices, that are simple to use and make our lives easier. But the threat of losing our memories or important documents and presentations we have worked hard for is serious and real.

Because of that fact, the number of users choosing to secure their information keeps growing. The ability to backup your data when needed is becoming crucial. Another important aspect is that computers and phones we use no matter if they are Android and iOS tend to experience a hardware failures. Here, the online backup services cover our backs. There are different monthly plans to select from, some are with unlimited storage space, others have a limited one, but the common is that they are priceless when we have to face and go through difficult times.

Cloud storage service can be a lifesaving option for major operating systems failures, hardware failures, cyber attacks, and everything else that threatens our valuable data. According to a recent research, one of three persons has experienced a cyber attack, every second person has experienced a hardware failure and the common is that after the unexpected event happens, it is too late to think for a cloud storage solution. Because when you are prepared and already using such a cloud storage service you will be able to recover personal files with a simplified and automated process. As a conclusion we can definitely say that online backup service is a must for every person. Not because it is helpful, but because it is a real treasure to have the ability to recover from a scratch. Finding the best online backup provider matching your needs is super power, believe it or not.

How to Choose the Best Online Backup Service?

Choosing an online backup service provider could be a bit stressful for every person, because of the limitless questions that pop into our head. Don't get too much stressed about it when it is time to select, because we will discuss the most important aspects to look for from a third party provider, so you will feel confident when it is time to make your decision.

  • Scalability. Sometimes growth can occur rapidly. With preparation, you will always be able to stay one step ahead. It is important to select a backup provider that can adapt alongside your needs. Ideally, the data backup service you choose should have the ability to scale automatically when necessary, so you don't need to worry about it.
  • Storage costs. The size of your backups is very important, depending on how much data you’re backing up, and how long you need to store your backups, these are just some of the issues around backup storage. If you’re processing massive volumes of data and you are a power user, your storage needs will increase the cost of your backup service for sure. It is up to you to choose the best package that fits with your needs.
  • Monthly expenses. Online backup services are subscription-based, depending on SaaS, meaning you’ll pay a monthly amount for the provided service. But don’t just choose the cheapest option, as a lot of people do, instead consider the features you need.
  • Flexible and proper scheduling. Having flexibility is extremely important because the needs of your company can evolve as it grows. It's crucial for your data backup service to provide you with the ability to schedule backups according to your preferences and offer a lot of flexibility. For instance, industries that handle large amounts of data, such as institutions or e-commerce websites, will require ongoing backups. On the other hand, a consulting firm that doesn't handle large amounts of data may only need backups on a daily or weekly basis. Additionally, some businesses might prefer the option of manually initiating their backups.
  • User-friendly environment. Select a data backup solution that's user friendly, for the least tech-savvy individuals in your organization. In the event of a disaster, ensure that the restoration process is uncomplicated, swift, and direct enabling you to resume your business operations.
  • Cloud encryption. Cloud encryption is a service offered by cloud storage providers. It involves transforming a customer's data into ciphertext using file encryption algorithms and securely storing it in the cloud. While similar to on premises encryption, there is one difference when it comes to cloud encryption. Customers must familiarize themselves with their provider's policies and procedures for encryption and encryption management. It's essential that the level of sensitivity of the hosted data aligns, with the cloud service provider's encryption capabilities. Another huge advantage is knowing that only you own encryption key and nobody else can decrypt your data except you.
  • Customer support. Last, but not least, is the constant 24/7 customer support that you must have. It is very important aspect, because anything can happen at anytime. The best service providers will secure you with a 24/7 customer support.

Online Backup for Data Security

One of the benefits of utilizing online backups is the enhanced security they offer. While the on-site server security measures are highly effective, you can also rely on protection against threats and a strong emphasis on safeguarding your data privacy.

The majority of online backup services will provide you with an encryption key, which serves as a password that you personally choose. This private encryption key allows you to decrypt your backups if needed. It's important to note that the encryption key belongs to you, and even the backup service provider itself cannot assist in resetting or recovering it if it gets lost or forgotten. Encryption presents a solution that ensures a high level of privacy. Neither employees nor law enforcement authorities have access to your backups. Many individuals and businesses use password managers to keep their encryption keys organized. It is the ultimate form of security, and yes, if you lose or forget your encryption key, it means bad news for you.

For individuals seeking additional layers of security, certain service company providers offer security features, such as protection against ransomware and two-factor authentication. Thus, you will be able to take the best measures for your data security. Does it sound better than you expected? Yes, it does.

There is another very important aspect you should think about. This is why trust and transparency are important for service providers. You have to seek out the most reliable companies on the market, because trust can be your biggest benefit provided from the cloud service provider. It is your obligation to choose a reliable and trustworthy company for your most important asset, your data, because when it comes to the security of your data, there mustn't be any compromise.

The Future of Online Backup

Hybrid clouds, like cloud deployments, are gaining popularity among organizations due to the increased flexibility and control they offer. If you're considering a cloud approach or already have one in place, you can explore the option of using cloud backup solutions.

These solutions work by backing up your data on an appliance and then duplicating that backup on cloud resources. This duplication ensures that your data remains accessible without delay while also providing scalability for storage. Many of these solutions also offer the capability to synchronize on-premises resources with data generated in the cloud, allowing for backup.

By utilizing solutions, having on-site backups allows for recovery without relying solely on internet connectivity. Additionally, having cloud copies of your backups gives you the ability to store backups for periods of time and provides a safety net for disaster recovery or failover situations if your on-premises resources are compromised.

Apart from distributing backups across resources, hybrid cloud backups can help organizations reduce their capital expenses. With these solutions, you can offload backups to cloud resources and decrease the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure.

Another upcoming future trend in online backup is the use of AI. The adoption of AI is already revolutionizing online backup providers, and recovery procedures. This technology has the capability to automate tasks related to backup and recovery, including automated test recoveries, enhanced efficiency and speed in recovering data, and mitigating the potential for errors. In the next few years, we can anticipate the implementation of AI in backup solutions, resulting in quicker and more precise backups as well as data restoration processes.

All these key features will help the online backup as a service to be evaluated and become even more secure and helpful for all of us. And it is up to everyone to stay updated on the new trends and benefits that are up to come in the near future. Because our digital realm is rapidly evolving, and the threats we may face get stronger and meaner day by day. The only thing that can ensure peace of mind is staying updated to the most efficient features and approaches that a online backup service can provide you with. At the end of the day, we all want to close our eyes with a calm mind about our personal information and sensitive data.

Acronis True Image – 12 Critical Online Backup Features

Acronis True Image is the most advanced data protection software that you can purchase and it also includes these 12 critical online backup features to ensure your backup is fast, easy, and complete.

Protect All Family Devices

Most households have multiple devices — more than one computer — a combination of device types — a computer, laptop, iPhone, etc. — and a combination of different brands — a Mac and a PC, an iPhone and an Android. Acronis True Image protects and provides a mobile backup to all these device types and brands. You have also the privilege to backup unlimited devices within your plan.

Web Access from Any Device

Always have access to the files you back up to the cloud from any device. Never again will you need to return to your home or office to pick up a device to get access to your files, folders, photos, or other data.

Full-Image Backup and Recovery

Acronis True Image is the only backup and recovery software that offers full-image backup. This means that your operating system, applications, history, preferences, photos, files, videos, bookmarks, all settings and customizations including license keys and passwords — everything — is backed up. This makes it easy to recover if your computer fails, is stolen, or if you are a victim of malware or ransomware. Since everything is backed up, you can quickly and easily recover to bare metal and a fully bootable state.  


File and Folder Backup and Recovery

Even though Acronis True Image backs up your entire disk, you can still recover a single file or folder. Can’t remember where you stored a file? Acronis lets you search in local and cloud backups to quickly find and recover exactly what you need — no more and no less!


Wireless Mobile Device Backup to Windows

When your mobile devices are in the same Wi-Fi network as your PC, the backup of system files starts automatically. Just scan a QR code from Acronis True Image on a computer screen and you are all set.


Remote Backup Management

Configure backups and review status for any computer or mobile device from any location at any time.


Archiving to the Cloud

Acronis True Image makes your life easier because you can save space by securely archiving older files to the cloud (and to local drives too). Once archived, you can still easily access these files via Windows Explorer, Mac Finder, or a web browser.

No Interruption Backup

Acronis True Image performs backup operations in the background while your system is running. It does not affect performance so you can continue to work during continuous or scheduled backups.

Multiple Backup Plans

Schedule as many different backup plans as you need. Schedule full backups on a daily or weekly basis, while backing up certain folders more frequently — or even continuously. Configure backups to multiple destinations for better protection.

Encryptions and Passwords

It is important to encrypt your data on your computer before sending it to the secure cloud. This ensures maximum privacy for users and keeps your data safe.

Retention and Versioning

Acronis True Image provides the ability to select how many versions of files you want to keep and for how long you want to keep them. (The default is 6 months and 20 versions.) Other solutions limit your file versions or retention time.


After explaining the countless benefits of the online backup services, we can conclude that it plays a crucial role in our lives. No matter if you are using your PC or you manage a business organization, it is very important to know that your data remains protected under any circumstances. Nowadays, with the threats that exist, the only proper decision is to take care of that data by taking actions to ensure the ability to backup from scratch, thus will ensure peace of mind for our most important asset, your data.

Thankfully, it is neither expensive service nor hard to manage, and we are lucky enough to have the online backup service providers by our side. The easy task that remains for us is to choose the right one with optimal settings aligned to our needs. Because we live in a world where not everything is flowers and sunsets, often we can experience the destructive effects of a cyberattack, but when you are secured with a backup option it is not that dangerous for us. If you still hesitate about choosing to use or not to use this type of service, ask yourself, are you ready to lose all your valuable data? Or you are wise enough to take action by being prepared for the difficult times that anyone can face at any point. We all know the right answer, so give yourself the privilege of being secured by the most appropriate way, of course, using online backup services.

Interested in trying Acronis True Image yourself? Buy now or try it for free.

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About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.