Cloud backup continues to grow in popularity, offering an affordable, flexible, and convenient way to safeguard your data. But which cloud backup solution is right for you? Here are five reliable tools for you to consider.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: SpiderOak

SpiderOak (Figure A) has been one of my favorite cloud backup solutions for a long time. Why? Flexibility. Spider Oak is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and IOS. There’s a free account that offers 2 GB of data, and if you need more, you can get 100 GB for $10 USD/month.

Figure A

This isn’t nearly as cheap as, say, Google Drive, but it offers a few more features. With SpiderOak you get unlimited devices, easy file/folder sharing, and the ability to add files to your “Hive.” The Hive is a particularly nice feature that allows you to drag and drop files and folders to the Hive folder and automatically sync across all your devices — no need to configure anything. Another outstanding feature is Share Rooms. Here, you can create rooms with files and folders and share the room out to other users. Any time you add a folder or file to the room, those who have the key to the room can gain access (without your having to re-share).

2: Insync

Insync (Figure B) is probably the easiest way to sync your Google Drive with various desktops. This is especially important if you use a platform that doesn’t currently have a Drive client (such as Linux). But Insync is much more than just a simple replacement for a Google Drive client.

Figure B

Insync allows you to sync multiple Drive accounts to your desktop, and it can convert Google Docs to Microsoft Office format, use symlinks, share via browser, and use external drives and network shares. It also offers a recent changes feed, has a great Linux notification area client, and allows integration into the Nautilus file browser.

Insync isn’t free. Insync Plus for consumer will set you back a one-time fee of $15.00 (per Google account). Insync Pro is $15.00/year for three Google accounts, and it’s $5.00 per extra Google account per year. Insync Business is $15.00 per Google account per year. Each plan offers a different feature set. (See the full feature matrix here.)

3: Carbonite

Carbonite (Figure C) is one of the more popular cloud-based backups for both personal and business use. Although this service is not free (nor does it have a free account), its user base is fairly widespread, especially among small to midsize businesses. Carbonite can automatically back up desktops, laptops, and servers. You can even have the install utility handle all the choices for you (once you select the type of machine to be backed up).

Figure C

All Carbonite plans (Basic, Plus, and Prime) include unlimited cloud storage, support seven days a week, and automatic sync between devices. The plans start at $59.99/year. If you’re looking for one of the most trusted names in cloud storage, you can’t go wrong with Carbonite.

4: Backblaze

Backblaze (Figure D) is a Windows- and OSX-only “set it and forget it” solution that will be popular among those who don’t want to take the time to mess with configuring anything. This is very much a non-techy cloud backup solution, and it does a great job for those who would rather have everything done for them.

Figure D

You get little control over what is backed up with Backblaze, but you can configure exclusions, add an encryption key, and schedule your backup. For these ease-of-use cloud backups, you’ll pay $5.00/month for unlimited (both file-size and backup storage size) cloud backups. If you’re looking for one of the easiest cloud backup solutions for your desktop or laptop, Backblaze might be the one.

5: CrashPlan

CrashPlan (Figure E) is another outstanding entry in the cloud backup field. With clients available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, CrashPlan allows you to back up any folder on your computer (so you’re not limited to a single backup folder) or even an entire drive or networked drives.

Figure E

This is another set-it-and-forget-it tool, but it offers more options and is smart enough to do only differential and incremental backups. CrashPlan also makes restoring data incredibly simple. Just a few clicks and your data is back where it belongs. Pricing for CrashPlan is also simple: The Free plan backs up only locally (such as to an external drive). To get to the cloud you must purchase a cloud account for Individual ($4.00/month), Family ($9.00/month for two to 10 computers), or Business ($10.00/month per computer). The full feature/price matrix is here.

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What cloud backup tools would you add to this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.