A remote, online, or managed backup service, sometimes marketed as cloud backup or backup-as-a-service, is a service that provides users with a system for the backup, storage, and recovery of computer files. Online backup providers are companies that provide this type of service to end users (or clients). Such backup services are considered a form of cloud computing.
Online backup systems are typically built for a client software program that runs on a given schedule. Some systems run once a day, usually at night while computers aren’t in use. Other newer cloud backup services run continuously to capture changes to user systems nearly in real-time. The online backup system typically collects, compresses, encrypts, and transfers the data to the remote backup service provider’s servers or off-site hardware.
There are many products on the market – all offering different feature sets, service levels, and types of encryption. Providers of this type of service frequently target specific market segments. High-end LAN-based backup systems may offer services such as Active Directory, client remote control, or open file backups. Consumer online backup companies frequently have beta software offerings and/or free-trial backup services with fewer live support options.