Pros and cons of the two backup methods

Natural disasters, theft, hardware failures, employee mistakes, hacking…These are only few of the many causes than can lead to data loss. Nowadays all of our private data are stored in our computers, hard disks, CDs, DVDs, etc. By now we don’t use paper anymore. Of course there are many advantages, environmental and of comfort, but it’s undeniable that doing so, the problems linked to the security of our data have considerably increased. This is the reason why we should (yes, WE, you too!) periodically backup our precious data.

We would like to show you the differences between the two main backup methods, the online backup and the offline (or local) backup, so you can get an idea about the pros and the cons of each of them.

Online Backup

Online backup refers to all of those services that allow your data backup in the cloud, in servers located externally from your company.

PROS
  • Encryption. The best online backup services provide a high level encryption grade.

  • Accessible from anywhere. Wherever you are, if you have an available internet connection, you will be able to access your data.

  • Protection from disasters or thefts. Thieves or natural disasters will never be a problem for your data, as they are stored “somewhere in the cloud”.

CONS
  • No direct control on your data. Your data are not only in your computer, but also in some server managed by another company. If you don’t trust them, this is not the way to go for you.

  • Slowness. Your data backup depends on the speed of your internet connection. Even with a fast connection, if you have a huge amount of data, it could take ages!

  • This backup method relies on your internet connection. If your connection is not working, you cannot access your backup.

  • Guarantees. Now your data are in the servers of another company, which is susceptible to market laws. What happens to your data if this company cracks? Moreover, online backup is a young and very competitive industry. Many companies don’t have the finances and the infrastructures needed to protect your data. What happens if one of those company experiences an hacker attack?

Offline Backup

We call offline backup, or local backup, the backup done in local storage units, like external hard drives, USB sticks, CDs, DVDs, tapes, and so on.

What are the pros and the cons of Offline Backup?

PROS
  • Speed. It’s much faster to store data in a local drive than to upload them on the cloud. If the amount of data you have to store is big, then the difference is huge.

  • Easy to access. The backup drives are in your house or at your office.

  • Safety. You have control over your offline backup media.

  • Mobility. You can carry your backup units with you always.

  • Cost effectiveness. The initial purchase of tapes or hard drives for your backup might seem a big investment, but, in the long term, it could be more economical than an online solution.

CONS
  • Disasters. Your hardware can be destroyed by a natural disaster.

  • Thefts. It’s easy to steal them. If you keep them in your office, and a thief breaks in, you’ll loose your data.

  • Failures. Even the best hard drives can fail.

Conclusions

So what is better? The answer is not easy, as you saw each system has some pros and some cons.The main points in favour of online backup, are that your data will be accessible from anywhere, and they will be more safe. Otherwise the advantages of the offline backup are the easiness of access and the faster backups.

Personally I don’t think there is a method better than the other, the best way to go is both systems!


this post first appeared on the Foresite USA Blog