Cloud backup vs. Cloud storage – What’s the difference?

Cloud backup and Cloud storage are sometimes confused with one another or used interchangeable. They are in fact quite different services, used for different purposes.

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Backing up your data is a vital part of good IT housekeeping. A business’s data is often undervalued and implementing a detailed recovery process is overlooked. The importance of having such a procedure in place is only realised when data is lost with no way of recovering it. Backing up or storing your data in the cloud ensures it is safe from theft, fire and other local disasters. But should you use a backup or storage solution?

What is cloud backup?

Cloud backup allows you to backup and restore large amounts of data. Business cloud backup services offer high storage capacity for backing up PCs or servers. The frequency of backups can be scheduled at specific times and run automatically.

Data is compressed, encrypted and transferred to servers in a secure data centre. If any data is lost the backup can be used to quickly restore it. Many of the same functions of cloud storage are available with cloud backup, including access to your files online.

Pros – Cloud backup provide full protection from data loss and entire systems can be quickly recovered. Transfers are fully encrypted so your data is secure at all times.

Cons – Sharing and co-working features are not available. Backups are computer specific and decrypted using a unique key.

Cost – Backup solutions generally cost less than cloud storage as they provide less functionality and don’t offer real time access.

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage allows you to synchronize part of your hard drive with an online storage repository. Any changes made locally are quickly replicated to the online storage, so files are mirrored on the backup. Storage capacity is often limited so it’s not an ideal solution for businesses.

There are two main types of cloud storage. Files are either, stored and accessed via a host website, or via a local client installed on your PC where you can edit files directly from the cloud. Files can be modified, shared or transferred online to other users.

Pros – Cloud storage facilitates sharing, co-working and access to you files from any computing via the provider’s website.

Cons – Limited storage capacity means only part of your PC is backed up so a full recovery is not possible. Encryption is only server side so data transfers are vulnerable to threats.

Cost – A cloud storage solutions is more expensive per gigabyte but offers more features like the ability to share files.

So in conclusion…

Cloud storage is ideal for a small number of files that change regularly and need to be shared or accessed from multiple locations. A cloud backup solution is ideal for securely backing up large amounts of data that can be used to recover an entire system. For most businesses a cloud backup solution is the most useful but some businesses may benefit from running both solutions. Whichever solution best suits your business backing up data is essential and should not be left until it’s too late!

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