Cloud Storage vs. Online Backup Services


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What is the difference between cloud storage and online backup services? They sound very similar so how do they differ? Well, an online backup is just as the name suggests. You simply backup your data like documents and images. A cloud storage solution is a lot more flexible as not only does it allow you to store your data but it allows you access to it at any time.

Online backup has been around a lot longer than the more modern cloud storage. It was much easier to back up data that wasn’t needed at the touch of a button. In simple terms, it’s like an external hard drive. Imagine plugging in an external hard drive to your laptop or PC and transferring all your data. Well, online backup is exactly like this except without the hard drive.

So, if online backup allows you to store your data and cloud storage allows you to back it up and work with the folders constantly backing them up why would you use an online backup at all?

When would a company use an online backup solution?

One reason that companies use an online backup service as opposed to cloud storage is that online backup storage tends to be cheaper per GB. Some businesses may not need the facility to access the documents, they may just need a backup in case anything happens to their servers and systems. Data protection laws require companies to keep records of employees, patients, clients etc. for a certain period of time. Physically keeping this records in hard format would require boxes and boxes of files stored in an enormous room, even a warehouse. Imagine this in digital format. All of these records that have to be kept being kept on your computer or network present you with a number of potential problems. With many companies now having a paper free policy, modern records all tend to be in a digital format.

Firstly you may find that the sheer volume of data affects the speed of your network and you need to remove some of the information but make sure it is stored somewhere safe. Another potential issue is that your system or server may go down and without a backup, you will lose the data that you have a legal requirement to keep.

Another scenario, where you may need an online backup, is for personal storage of photos or music. If you have a large music library or lots of videos and images you may want to choose an online backup storage provider rather than a cloud storage solution.

When might one use a cloud storage solution?

If you need access to the files on your computer or network for ongoing work then an online backup is not an ideal solution. You would find yourself deleting previous versions and replacing them with updated versions and this would be time-consuming, to say the least. If you need to work on live documents and to save each version a cloud storage solution will enable you to save each version of the document so if you ever needed to go back to the previous version it would be available in the cloud.

If multiple people are working on the same project then everyone having access to the files would enable each person to make their changes, add their notes and work on the document as necessary. Cloud storage is an ideal way for multiple parties to collaborate on a project.

If you are using an online storage solution for backing up videos, images and music you may favour an online backup solution over a cloud storage solution however if you want access to your videos and images to make slideshows, edit videos etc. then a cloud storage solution gives you this option.

The choice is a personal preference

Only you know what you need from a data storage solution and whilst we can paint scenarios and recommend solutions it is important that you know what you need from a provider before you choose one. Investigate the various possibilities, shop around for the best solution and make sure you choose the one that best meets your needs.