How Can I Compete with $5 a Month Online Backup Services?

When companies consider offering Remote Backup services to their customers they do their research and they see ads offering remote backup services as cheaply as $50 a year. Some just give up, assuming prices are too low, there is no profit in the business, and competition is too fierce. Why would customers pay me $89/month for 20GB when they can pay $5/month for unlimited storage?

Rob Cosgrove, CEO Remote Backup Systems

But those are all incorrect assumptions. Business customers are willing to pay far more than $5 a month for an appropriate level of service – enough to give you an appropriate level of profit.

I have written on this subject a few times, and it is still one of the most common questions asked. “How do I compete with the cheap $5/month online backup services?” Links to some of my other articles are at the bottom of this one.

Also at the bottom of this article I have included a handy chart that you can edit and use as a marketing tool if your customers ask you to compare yourself to the cheap services.

Two Levels of Service

There are two levels of service provided by Remote Backup Services – Business Class and Consumer grade. The cheap $5/month services offer Consumer grade backup services. They almost always exclude computers used for business.

Small companies who want to start a Remote Backup service can become profitable far faster (amazingly fast) by offering a more expensive Business Class service than they can by starting a consumer grade service in competition with the cheap $5/month services.

In this article I am going to concentrate on the differences between the high-profit business class service you can offer with my RBackup Remote Backup Software solutions, and those cheap $5/month services you see all the ads for.

Business Class Service: RBackup offers Business Class service, with advanced features designed for businesses. Most of the cheap services will not allow installation on business computers, and are not capable of properly protecting business data. They say so in their Terms of Service.

Customizable Features: RBackup has many times the number of features the cheap services have. RBackup can be individually configured for the exact needs of each customer. The cheap services are a one-size-fits-all solution that works only for personal computers, not businesses.

Servers: RBackup backs up Windows servers. Cheap services cannot. You can make far more money backing up Windows servers at a minimum of $89/month for 20GB than you can backing up laptops at $5/month.

Regulatory Compliance: Many businesses are required by law to comply with data privacy and security regulations. RBackup complies with all data privacy regulations like HIPAA, GLB, SOX, and EU regulations. The cheap services do not.  

Open Files: RBackup backs up files that are open and locked by other applications, even while in heavy use. Cheap services often do not. As an example, RBackup will back up Outlook files while Outlook is open.

Service Level Agreement: The cheap services do not offer an SLA. At $5/month, they can’t. Many businesses will pay for an SLA that contains guarantees of bandwidth, uptime, recovery time, security, and other important assurances.

Professional Service: As a professional Remote Backup Service Provider working closely with your customers you can provide (and charge for) a much higher level of service than the cheap services can offer.

Local Support: Business owners are willing to pay for great support. They like to know there is someone local who they can call when they have problems. The cheap services use call centers staffed by drones who don’t know their customers, who can’t come out to fix a problem (at any price), and who need to move on to their next call within 5.5 minutes. While most of the companies are accustomed to use Let’s Fly Wisely drone buyers guide, not all are following this and thus it’s affecting those local support businesses. Drones have grown exponentially in terms of support and aid, but there are still some factors of it which people lack to utilize.

On-Site Installation and Setup: You can offer on-site installation and setup. The cheap services cannot.

Key Escrow Service: RBackup’s built-in key escrow service can be used in an emergency to recover data even if your customer forgets his encryption key. With the cheap services your customers have two choices – use a “standard” key and do without data privacy, or lose all their data if they forget their encryption key. Customers forget their encryption keys often.

File Retention Policy: RBackup allows setting different (and powerful) file retention policies for different groups of files. The cheap services do not. RBackup can be set to keep files from seven days to more than ten years, and has many controls for when and how files are rotated out of storage. The cheap services do not.

MS Exchange: RBackup backs up MS Exchange Server at the brick level. The cheap services will not back up MS Exchange.

SQL Server: RBackup backs up and restores MS SQL Server at the table level, differentially. The cheap services do not.

Outlook: RBackup’s built-in open files agent backs up Outlook while it is open. Many of the cheap services do not.

Sharepoint: RBackup backs up MS Sharepoint Server the recommended way using its built-in Sharepoint agent. The cheap services do not back up Sharepoint.

Active Directory: RBackup backs up Active Directory – a VERY important business database. The cheap services do not.

System State: RBackup backs up and restores System State. Many of the cheap services do not.

Scheduling: RBackup’s scheduling features are very robust – much more robust than those of the cheap services. RBackup can schedule backups by day of week, day of month, calendar day, daily, on demand, and several times a day.

Failsafe: RBackup’s built in failsafe features make sure that files are properly backed up and restored through multiple redundancy checks, digital signing, and many other features unavailable in the cheap services.

Data Center Redundancy: With RBackup you can offer your customers data center redundancy. The cheap services do not offer that level of data assurance, and have lost their customers’ data because of it.

Redundant Local Backups: With RBackup you can offer your customers added safety and VERY quick recovery times by maintaining a mirror of their online backups on a local hard drive. RBackup will automatically restore from the local drive if it is available, and the online backup if it is not. The cheap services have nothing close to this level of service.

Recovery Time Objectives: When businesses lose data they lose money. The faster they can get their data back and resume business, the better. With RBackup you can assure your customers quick recovery time objectives. The cheap services cannot.

Restore from Disk: RBackup allows you to offer your customers a very quick restore from a portable disk drive. You simply copy your customers’ encrypted data to a USB drive along with our exclusive Disk Restore Agent, and send it to your customer. Files on the hard drive are 100% encrypted, secure, and regulatory compliant.

Secure Web Restore: RBackup’s Web Restore function is just as secure and regulatory compliant as its backups and disk restore functions. The cheap services are not.

First Full Backup Onsite: Often the first backups are big – really big, because if done right, they back up all selected files. It can take weeks or months to do a first backup with the cheap services. With RBackup you can offer your customers the added service of performing a quick first full backup onsite using a portable hard drive. Subsequent backups are all incremental, online.

Security: RBackup is 100% secure and regulatory compliant. Files are encrypted with encryption keys known only to the customers, and are never sent to the Server. File names are encrypted. Folder structures are encrypted. The cheap services are not secure and are not private.

Your Remote Backup Service                                         $5/month Services

Personal, Local Service No
Standards-Based Business Backup No
Proactive, Live Monitoring of your Backups No
Local Full Bulk Backup Available No
Very Fast Recovery Time Objective No
HIPAA and Other Regulatory Compliance No
Advanced and Flexible Scheduling No
Integration with System Utilities and Events No
Flexible File Retention Policy No
Point In Time Restores No
Multiple Backup Sets No
100% Security and Privacy No
Active Directory Backup and Restore No
MS Exchange Backup and Restore No
MS SQL Server (table level) Backup and Restore No
MS Sharepoint Backup and Restore No
Live Remote Helpdesk Support No
Key Escrow (you lose your key, not your data) No
More than Two Decades of Business Experience No
Built-In Multiple Redundancies for Reliability No
Digitally Signed Backup Files No
Software Built Especially for Business Backups No
Personal Installation and Setup Available No
Experience in Your Specific Market No


Here are some links to similar articles:

 Can small Online Backup companies Compete with Larger $5/month Services?

 Is Unlimited Online Backup a Scam? 

 Cloud-based Storage as a Commodity – Do What I Say or Be Prepared to be Phased


Rob Cosgrove is the President of Remote Backup Systems, founder of the Online Backup Industry, and a vocal advocate for maintaining the highest standards in Online Backup software. His latest book, the Online Backup Guide for Service Providers: How to Start and Operate an Online Backup Service, is available online now, on, and at bookstores.

About The Author

Steve Roberts /

Steve Roberts is VP of Engineering at Remote Backup Systems (, developers of the RBackup Online Backup software platform, providing software powering more than 9,500 Service Providers in 65 countries since 1987.