The difference between data backup and archiving

This post is part of an ongoing series that will look to answer commonly asked customer questions.

Question: What is the difference when it comes to data storage backup vs archives?

Answer: It's easy to hear the terms storage, backup and archive and believe that they are just different ways to say the same thing. After all it does seem like they all perform the same functions. However, there are important differences between them that organizations need to be aware of to make sure their data is secured properly.

What separates them is their purpose. A Data backup is more of a short-term solution that is used for disaster recovery, while storage is a long-term option that records everything and is more of a discovery and research tool.

A backup is used if data is lost or corrupted. Imagine you accidentally delete a file or suffer a power outage in the middle of a work day. A backup solution can help you recover lost information. It can also be used to look up older versions of a file or document, like a longer report or ongoing project. This is done through snapshots of the information that is taken over a select time frame, like every hour or a few times a day.

An archive system is used to examine the history of files, where they started, when they existed and who made changes to them. Imagine you need to pull all documents related to a specific year-long project. You don't need to access every version of every file, just the finalized versions, along with every email, spreadsheet and brainstorming document. With a simple keyword search through the archives, it should all be ready in a matter of moments.

A cloud computing system can handle both of these options and an IT consulting firm that specializes in the cloud can help any organization install one.

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