Data Backup Versus Data Storage: Yes, There Is a Difference

People tend to use the terms “data backup” and “data storage” interchangeably these days, so we thought we would take a moment and clear a few things up about that. There are clear differences between the two, and understanding that could mean saving yourself and your business a world of grief down the line.

Online Data Storage Solutions

An alarming number of companies are currently opting to rely on applications like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive to store sensitive and crucial data. While they are right to expect a certain degree of assurance that the data is safely stored, especially for premium services like Dropbox, there is never any guarantee against data loss when employing these services.

Applications like these are great for storing and sharing data, and most of them make it extremely easy to do so. One could successfully argue, however, that it is actually too easy and not nearly as secure as most people think. There are too few safeguards when it comes to security and permissions. While on some services, particularly Google Drive, data recovery is an option, if a user's permissions allow full access to a file it can be deleted and erased from the system with no means of recovery whatsoever. This can spell big trouble for your business if you don’t have an adequate backup.

Backing Up Versus Storing

One thing that all online data storage apps have in common is that the primary versions of your files reside on that service's network. If anything happens to the data on an end user level, or if the service housing the data somehow fails, there is no hope of recovery.

A backup system, on the other hand makes incremental backups of all your files so you can access different versions, review changes and even recover previous versions of your files should any become corrupt or are found to be missing information that was previously entered (this is especially helpful when dealing with rapidly changing databases and spreadsheets, among others). Some services like Google Drive offer similar options but you can only go back so far and the system automatically purges backups after a certain amount of time.

Individual Versus Enterprise

It is also important to note that solutions like OneDrive and Google Drive work well for individuals and small groups, but lack the versatility to create the kinds of permissions that are often required in larger organizations. Cloud backup solutions cater to companies and organizations that require more levels of control over who does what with company data, and provide that versatility through the use of Multi-Tenancy and advanced security.

If you are a small- to medium-sized business owner or manager running your business through Google Drive or a similar online storage solution, we urge you to consider how cloud backup can provide an additional and necessary layer of protection for your company's data that those services simply cannot.

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