Is it expensive to do a cloud backup?

Quick Answer

Cloud backups can range in cost from free to several hundred dollars per year depending on the amount of data you need to back up and the provider you choose. For individuals and small businesses with less than 1TB of data to back up, costs often start around $5-10 per month. Larger enterprises with 100s of TBs of data pay tens of thousands per year. Overall, cloud backups are very affordable compared to traditional on-premises backup solutions.

What is a cloud backup?

A cloud backup is a copy of your data stored in the cloud (on remote servers accessed over the internet) instead of locally on physical disks or other hardware. This protects your data from local failures like hardware malfunctions, fires, theft, etc.

With cloud backup services, your files are uploaded over the internet to remote servers owned and operated by the backup provider (like Amazon, Google, Backblaze). The provider manages everything including the servers, storage infrastructure, security, etc.

Some key advantages of cloud backup:

  • Offsite protection against local disasters
  • Encrypted security during transfers and storage
  • Easy scalability if your storage needs grow
  • Accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Some offer unlimited storage for a flat fee

What are the costs factors?

There are a few key factors that influence the cost of cloud backup solutions:

Amount of data

Costs increase with the total amount of data you need to backup. Prices are often tiered, meaning you pay more per GB as you pass set storage thresholds. Basic consumer plans may allow up to 1TB for a low base fee, while several TBs would cost much more on an enterprise plan.

Type of data

Many providers charge extra for backing up specific data types like video files, system images, or databases. This is because they require more storage space and infrastructure resources compared to generic documents and photos.


Advanced features like fast disaster recovery, separate cloud storage tiers, enhanced security, and sophisticated dashboards can add to the overall service costs. Individuals may not need these extra capabilities whereas businesses often require them.

Bandwidth usage

Your initial data upload to the cloud is often free or low cost. However, bandwidth fees can apply for moving large amounts of data on an ongoing basis during incremental backups. Downloading large amounts of restored data from the cloud also incurs bandwidth fees with some providers.

Support and managed services

Business-grade backup services often bundle in costs for expert support, configuration, monitoring and management. These value-added services provide additional convenience and optimize your backups but do add to the overall price.

How much do popular backup services cost?

To give an idea of real-world costs, here is an overview of pricing for some top consumer and business backup services:


Backblaze offers an affordable and straightforward backup solution for individuals and businesses.

For individuals, Backblaze Personal Backup costs just $6 per month for one computer with unlimited data. Additional computers are $2 per month each. This covers everything for peace of mind backups.

Backblaze Computer Backup for businesses starts at $6 per month total for up to 3 computers and grows from there. Add on B2 cloud storage if you have over 1TB of data. Unlimited data storage is just $5/TB per month.


Carbonite has three personal plans:

– Basic – $72/year for 1 computer with unlimited storage
– Plus – $108/year for 1 computer with some extra features
– Prime – $150/year for unlimited computers & external drives

For business plans, pricing starts at $600/year for up to 5 computers and 100 GB of storage. Enterprise quotes are customized for your specific needs.


IDrive offers low pricing for individuals as a backup solution. Personal plans start at:

– $52/year for 1 computer with 5TB of storage
– $74/year for unlimited computers with 5TB of storage

Business plans start at $99/year for 1 computer with 10TB of storage and offer unlimited computers and storage for enterprise needs. Custom quotes are available.


For personal use, Acronis True Image costs:

– $49.99 for 1 computer, or
– $99.99 for 5 computers

Backups are unlimited but you can purchase more storage if needed.

Acronis backup for business starts at $99 per year for 250GB of storage and ranges up to $499 for 5TB or more of backup data. Enterprise licensing options are also available with custom pricing.

Can you do cloud backup for free?

There are a few ways to get free or very low-cost cloud backups:

Use included storage allowances

Many online service providers like Google, Microsoft and Apple include free storage allowances with certain products:

– Google Drive – 15GB free with Gmail
– Microsoft OneDrive – 5GB free with Outlook/Hotmail
– Apple iCloud – 5GB free with Apple ID

While the storage is limited, it’s enough for basic document backups for many users.

Leverage promotional offers

Backup services and cloud storage companies regularly offer special promotions for free or discounted subscriptions for 1-2 years. For example, Backblaze occasionally offers their 1 year Personal Unlimited plan for 50% off.

Minimize backup data

Use storage optimization techniques to prune rarely accessed data and delete unnecessary files. Then select low-cost backup plans with 1-2TB allowances which are adequate for your lean storage needs.

Backup to alternative destinations

If you have very little data, you can periodically backup to cheap or free destinations like external hard drives, DVDs or NAS devices. Offsite storage of the media protects against local failures.

What are the top 5 most affordable services?

Based on the previous overviews, here are 5 recommended low-cost cloud backup solutions:

Service Starting Price
Backblaze Personal $6/month
IDrive Personal $52/year
Carbonite Basic $72/year
Acronis Personal $49.99 1-year
Google Drive Free 15GB

These providers offer unlimited or large amounts of backup space for individuals at affordable yearly or monthly rates. Business plans are also cost-effective and scale up as needed.

What are typical costs for business plans?

Small businesses typically spend between $100-$300 per year for clear backup solutions for a handful of computers and a few hundred GBs of data.

Mid-sized businesses may spend around $1,000-$5,000 per year for deployments protecting 10s of TBs across servers, desktops, cloud apps, etc.

Large enterprises often pay $10,000-$30,000+ per year for managed plans with 100s of TBs of data storage and rapid disaster recovery capabilities.

In general, expect to pay around $10/month per computer you want to backup, plus data storage costs. Offsite protection for critical business data is well worth the relatively low subscription costs.

How can I estimate costs for my needs?

Figuring out your potential backup costs is straightforward:

1. Document all data to be protected – file storage, databases, PCs, servers, cloud apps.

2. Tally up current and projected storage capacity needed.

3. Identify must-have features like speed, disaster recovery, security controls etc.

4. Research providers that meet your requirements at the capacity you need.

5. Compare plans and pricing across 2-3 providers. Most post prices online for easy reference.

6. Request free quotes if pricing is not publicly listed.

7. Choose the most suitable provider based on costs, features, and reviews.

Following this process will give you an accurate estimate and help secure budgeting approval if needed.

Is unlimited backup storage really unlimited?

Backup providers advertising “unlimited” storage do place some reasonable limits in their terms of service to ensure fair usage across customers. Common restrictions include:

  • Maximum daily/weekly/monthly inbound data transfer allowance
  • Exclusion of certain file types like system images or video files
  • No backing up of illegal or copyrighted content
  • Proactive screening for rarely accessed “cold” data that can be deleted

So unlimited is not completely without restrictions, however providers give you ample headroom to backup your mission critical data. Just be selective about what you backup and don’t abuse the service.

What are the long term costs?

A major benefit of cloud backup versus traditional on-prem solutions is the predictable TCO (total cost of ownership) over time. With cloud services:

  • No large upfront capital costs for hardware/software
  • No expensive periodic updates or migrations
  • No costs for electricity and datacenter space
  • No IT staff needed to manage infrastructure

After the initial setup, ongoing costs are just the simple monthly or yearly backup subscriptions. And subscriptions can scale up and down fluidly as your needs change.

The cloud model provides very reliable and convenient long term TCO. Costs are relatively small compared to the value of securely protecting your data.

Does backup cost increase over time?

Reputable backup providers maintain consistent transparent pricing over long periods. Most do not impose surprise price hikes on existing customers.

Your costs may increase gradually over several years in a few scenarios:

  • You outgrow your incremental backup storage allotments and need to upgrade your plan
  • You enable new advanced features that incur add-on fees
  • Your account service needs expand requiring more professional support

However, mature backup services make it easy to monitor and control your costs. With a little proactive management, major cost increases can be avoided while still meeting your evolving backup needs.

Can I deduct backup costs from my taxes?

If you use cloud backup services for a business, the costs are generally tax deductible as a routine business expense. Just save your invoices from your provider.

For personal backups, unfortunately costs are not directly deductible. However, if backup services allow you to work from home or enable self-employment income, you may be able to deduct home office expenses.

Consult a qualified tax advisor to understand current deductibility rules in your particular situation. Taxes should not be the primary driver when choosing a backup provider, but deductibility is an added benefit.

Should I backup to the cloud or buy a NAS device?

This is a common question – whether to use dedicated Network Attached Storage (NAS) for backups versus offloading them to the cloud. Here’s a quick comparison:

Cloud Backup NAS Backup
Upfront Costs Low, only service fees Medium-High, must purchase NAS hardware
Ongoing Costs Low monthly fees Some electricity and hardware maintenance costs
Scalability Easy to add storage Limited by NAS model purchased
Data Protection Offsite protection Vulnerable to local disasters
Convenience Fully managed offloading Self-maintained solution

In summary, cloud backups provide offsite protection, lower TCO, and increased convenience compared to NAS devices. The optimal solution depends on your budget, technical capabilities, and strategic priorities. Using both cloud and local NAS redundancy provides maximum data protection.


Overall, cloud backup provides extensive benefits at very reasonable costs. Leading services offer plans ranging from free to a few hundred dollars per year for robust protection of critical data for both individuals and businesses. Comparing options to choose an optimal provider can maximize value and minimize expenses over the long term. With prudent selection, cloud backup delivers outstanding data safety and resilience at affordable costs.