Cloud Storage vs. Backups- Know The Difference 


Posted February 27, 2017 by Communications 

Learn the difference between cloud storage services, cloud backup software, and local storage: 

The issue isn’t whether or not you should back up your data but a question of 'how should you back it up? We all know the dangers of hackers, hardware/software failures, natural disasters, and human error.

There are 2 types of online storage:  Cloud storage services and cloud backup software. Both are cloud-based, but with differing purposes.

  • Cloud storage services. The primary purpose of cloud storage services is to synchronize data between devices - documents, videos, photos or music can be accessed and shared from anywhere. Examples are Google Drive, and iCloud. Great for sharing music and photos with friends but should you use cloud services for data back-up when they're not actually designed for this purpose?
  • Cloud backup software. Cloud backup software (online backup service) such as Carbonite or Moxy, acts as a data center storing and protecting data in the event of file loss, accidental deletion, hardware failures, and disasters.

    Simply put, cloud storage services only offer storage capabilities while cloud backup software continually saves and protects your data. For example, if you delete a document from your Dropbox storage, it is moved into a queue for permanent deletion.  For most Basic and Pro Dropbox users, files are recoverable for 30 days - after that, it is gone forever. With cloud backup software such as  Carbonite and Moxy, however, data is always recoverable - as long as your subscription is paid. Find out more about cloud solutions... 

What About a Local Backup Solution?

Local storage is a more traditional method and offers its own unique benefits. You can back up all data, applications, and file structure to local disks and drives. Restoration after a catastrophic failure can be accomplished in a matter of minutes from a local device - something that no public cloud storage service can do. You will also be able to access your data from anywhere. Multiple external backup drives can be encrypted and taken out of your building protecting you from theft, fire, and natural disasters.

Which Should I Choose? 

The cost of cloud backup is certainly higher than a local backup and could increase with the amount of storage required. It is an expense that never goes away unless you no longer need access to the data. Cloud storage protects your data against natural disasters, fire, and theft with the added benefit of being able to access your data from anywhere. Getting data back in the event of a failure could be very time-consuming.
Local back-ups to a storage device do have an initial upfront cost for the hardware, the backup software, and proper configuration. There are no recurring costs until you fill up your available storage. Recovery from a catastrophic event will be faster with data on a local drive so long as you keep that drive in a safe location!


Although each solution has its own merits there is another alternative that we feel is best... A hybrid choice, merging cloud and local storage methods, gives you the best of both worlds in that you have the freedom to access your data anywhere while also adding the ability to quickly recover your data in the event of a disaster.  At the end of the day, you should decide based on which solution better suits the needs of your business but if you need help deciding... Call Four Winds Network Services for help with this very important business decision!


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