File Backup vs. Archiving: Why Your Company Needs Both

File backup vs. archiving.  They are not the same and your company needs both. Why? Because you don’t want to be like Mike.

“Our servers have been hacked.  Please tell me you can help get our data back!”

These were the first words Mike said one afternoon when he called our office in a panic.  Someone in Mike’s firm fell victim to a phishing email and their servers and data were being held for ransom. (If you read my last email, you know this is almost impossible for every employee to avoid all the time.)

Thankfully, Mike’s firm has all their servers backed up and archived to our Data Center.  We were able to recover his data in about 15 minutes and he didn’t have to pay the ransom.   The phishing didn’t cause Mike’s firm too much harm because they had a secure system in place for backing up as well as archiving their files.

So, what’s the difference between file backups and file archives?

File Backup vs. File Archive

The terms File Backup and File Archiving, while are used synonymously to mean the same thing, are actually very different.

A file backup is when you make an exact copy of the files you have on a device.  There are many reasons for wanting to backup the data, but the main reasons for creating a file backup is in case you need to recover your files or even an entire hard drive after a data loss event.

A data loss event can be caused by something as simple as accidently deleting a file you didn’t mean to the hard drive failing and becoming unusable or even, in some cases, the entire computer having a system failure.  By having a file backup, you are now able to recover not only the lost file(s), but you could also, in some instances, restore an entire hard drive after a data loss event.  Backups are based around performance where the storage needs to perform well enough to restore data quickly and are created using replication or mirroring and are updated as files change.

A file archive is slightly different from a file backup.  While a backup is a tool used in order to recover data in the case of a data loss event, a file archive is something that isn’t truly used in order to recover data for data loss purposes.  A file archive is a collection of data moved to a repository for long-term retention, to be kept separate for compliance reasons or for moving off primary storage media.   This data is commonly used to create space on devices by off-loading older data while also complying with company policies as well as possible legal reasons and compliances. Unlike a file backup, a file archive is not based around performance and the data is rarely accessed.

File Backup vs. Archiving:  Why you need both

While both processes are very similar and have the same basic principle, they are used during two very different scenarios as well as for two different reasons.  Just as a best practice, a backup should always be taken of your data periodically so that an up-to-date copy of the data is always available in case of a data loss event.  A backup provides you with a quick option to restore the data back to the most recent state (as recent as when the backup was taken).  This way, if there is any data loss, the amount of data loss will be significantly reduced depending on the frequency of the backups.

An archive on the other hand, would normally be done under circumstance where disk space is limited, or business policy dictates long term retention.  By default, an archive is not focused on performance like a backup.  It is meant to be a collection of data that is not going to need to be accessed frequently and needs to be retained based on legal or policy guidelines.  Doing both secures your data in the moment and over time.

File Backup vs. Archiving: Where to store your data

Archives tend to be stored using either cloud-based storage options in today’s age of technology.  However, physical storage media such as external hard drives are also used for both backups and archiving. Using physical media opens the door for mishaps: the device gets lost, someone copies over it, it goes down in a power outage or is lost in a fire.   Cloud-based storage is better, but the larger cloud storage companies such as Amazon or Microsoft have these large servers often based outside the U.S.  If you are going to spend the money to use a cloud based data center, why not keep your money and your business local.

Our advanced disaster recovery and backup hardware stationed at our local and secure data centers are designed to protect your bottom line. EMCO never allows you to suffer a lack of productivity due to the failure of vital tech and systems.

We “backup your backup” in a second physical location and environment so that your business is never in danger of data loss. In the event of a disastrous incident, our expert BDR technicians are trained to prevent you from suffering days of lost profits and rebuilding.


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