To many people the Cloud (as discussed here) is something many people don’t understand and aren’t fully utilizing. Certain systems and apps are backed-up to the cloud, like an iPhone backed-up in the iCloud, it is used as temporary storage or a shared storage system that many people use, like a photo album stored in Dropbox. There is another way that the cloud can be utilized; full system back-up.

In today’s market there are entire services that specialize in storing a user’s entire system in the cloud as though it were a hard disk drive (HDD) in your office, and some even offer an array of features that any simple plug-and-store HDD doesn’t have. But before any decisions are made it is worth considering why someone would use the cloud, how to determine the cloud needed, and a few popular services that are available.

There are a few reasons why someone should consider cloud storage for their entire system. First, the general rule that you should ALWAYS have a back-up. If a user is not backing-up their data somewhere they are opening themselves up to the dangers of losing it all. Everyone should have a back-up. Furthermore, even if someone has a traditional HDD or solid-state drive (SSD) acting as their primary back-up, a cloud-based system means that the data is free from common issues like water damage or fall damage, and it is always secured away from user error too. By having the data stored off-site there is greater out-of-sight-out-of-mind comfort. Lastly if a user is regularly traveling great distances it can be useful to be able to access and back-up their entire set of files anywhere at any time, as opposed to lugging around a lot of extra equipment. Many of these services now provide mobile support meaning it is rather easy to streamline what someone is carrying and how they’ll be able to ensure their back-up is up to date. If the cloud is something a user feels they need then the next critical stage is deciding the cloud service that works best for them.

The basis of deciding the best cloud storage systems is by examining the user’s requirements and making an educated choice from there. Begin with the simple question of whether or not it is necessary at all. Are there already HDD back-ups in multiple locations? Is the computer or the back-up at high risk of environmental damage, like floods? If it determined to be a need, from there it is all about features. If a user is not even topping out that 2tb hard drive in their computer, then they should be looking at relatively small data storage from their cloud. Look at needs like data amount, user mobility, and really question whether you need something simple, or something that will essentially act as both storage and app with all the bells and whistles associated (like face recognition in photos or unlimited numbers of devices associated with the account). From there, it is worth looking at a few different services available on the market for a baseline of what services and storage amounts are being offered and, at what cost.

With all the service providers come a lot of features that will determine the final selection. If someone is looking for a simple, entire back-up that is affordable then Backblaze is likely a contender. It has unlimited storage for one system (and its external drives) for $5 a month or $50 a year. They will even send hard drives with a user’s data uploaded via FedEx to the user, for a specified fee. Acronis, though limited to only 5tb at most, allows for multiple devices (up to five), and comes with various extras like blockchain certification and mobile support. It is a pricier option than services like Backblaze but is a more robust user experience overall. Finally, is the very popular IDrive. IDrive is considered a good all-around service, with a free 5gb version, two paid Personal options that extend up to 5gb with unlimited machines, and even Business plans that allow not only for unlimited devices but also unlimited users associated with the account.

All of these have their costs, their positives, and their negatives, but cloud back-ups can ultimately be a useful tool to all kinds of users. Begin by asking what is needed, look at the service providers and their features, and make the best call on the available data. Remember though…
Always have a back-up!


If that computer back-up is a hard disk drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD), or even a complex RAID or NAS system it is open to failure. If that happens, come and see us at Carolina Data Recovery.


You have enough to worry about. Let us handle your precious data.