Cloud Backup vs. Traditional Backup: Which is Better?

Creating safe and reliable backups has been a critical task in data centers since their inception — and for good reason. When you lose data, the ability to recover it quickly can mean the difference between inconvenience and disaster. And using cloud backup vs. traditional backup methods can help ensure you’re in the former category.

In this post, we’ll explore some standard backup methods in the past, some popular today, and the pros and cons of each.

Cloud vs. Local Backup Methods and Media

  • Magnetic Tapes: Tapes were the medium of choice for backups for a long time, starting with reel-to-reel and moving on to the cassette.
  • Magnetic Disks: From floppy disks (if you’re under 25, think “Save” icon) to hard disk drives, they have been a mainstay of computing for decades.
  • Solid-State Drives (SSDs): Solid-state drives (SSDs) store data using static semiconductors instead of a spinning magnetic disk.
  • The Cloud: Cloud storage uses networked offsite protected servers (usually in a data center) to preserve data.

Cloud Backup vs. Traditional Backup: Pros and Cons

The data storage industry is undergoing significant changes as organizations accelerate the adoption of new technology. How do you know which backup technology makes the most sense for your organization? Let’s examine the pros and cons of each:

Magnetic Tapes

Pros: They’re relatively inexpensive upfront.

The cons: Magnetic tapes are fragile and vulnerable to various environmental conditions, which can lead to additional maintenance costs. Physical storage can also become an issue as more tapes are needed, and the backup process is time-consuming and inconvenient. In a disaster, magnetic tape backups could be destroyed entirely.

Magnetic Disks

Pros: Magnetic disks work a lot like tapes but are thinner, more durable, and tolerate repeated overwriting better. Their sealed cases make them more resistant to the elements than tapes, requiring little maintenance.

Cons: Older systems like floppies must be stored physically, so space is still a concern. Although newer versions can store large amounts of data in a small physical space, they are still susceptible to damage, user error, and security threats.

Solid-State Drives

Pros: Solid-state drives are quieter, faster, and less susceptible to vibration and shock forces than magnetic disks. Their capacity continues to grow as the technology develops — and it’s already pretty huge.

Cons: SSDs are as vulnerable to user error and security threats as their magnetic brethren. Despite their increased capacity compared to tapes and disks, they still need to be physically stored and are vulnerable to damage if storage facilities are compromised.

The Cloud

Pros: A Cloud backup solution means your information is distributed across multiple machines — so the risk of loss if a single memory store fails is drastically reduced. In its early days, Cloud was considered a niche (often expensive) solution. But since its inception, Cloud has revolutionized inexpensive offsite storage, making online backups affordable and easy to use. Security concerns always exist when placing your data in another party’s hands. Still, encryption technology has come a long way, and a carefully read contract should clarify if your provider has done their due diligence.

Cons: None if you’re carefully choosing the right Cloud provider.

On-Premise vs. Secured Third Party Off-Site Location

On-Premise vs. Secured Third-Party Off-Site Location

The question of location is even more important than the question of media for your backup. Is your data safer on-premise — somewhere in your offices — or at a remote location? The answer may seem counterintuitive at first.

Your data is much safer when stored offsite in a third-party data center than relying on an on-premise solution.

But if your backups are onsite, you can protect them. You can control who accesses them. Not exactly. Cloud service providers are entirely focused on protecting your data. It’s their entire job. So, while you’re still building your business and serving your clients, you assume your data is OK because it’s in your office. But you’re not checking.

When you choose a Cloud backup vs. a traditional backup, experts at the data center where your information is stored can:

  • Monitor your data 24/7 to protect against data breaches and network failures
  • Protect the physical data center against intrusion or disaster
  • Automate backups of your data in multiple locations so that even if one site is compromised, your data is still safe
  • Regularly update software and hardware to ensure the security of your data

Choosing the Right Backup Solution

According to a Dell Technologies study, the cost of data loss climbed well past $1 million last year. Organizations store a growing amount of data, and security measures aren’t always keeping up. Research firm Risk-Based Security called 2019 the “worst year on record” for corporate data breaches. Backing up business-critical data is of high importance.

Hard drives and internal servers can still be valuable infrastructure when considering Cloud backup vs. traditional backups. Still, the Cloud is a great way to ensure the safety of your essential data. The right provider can help ensure that your data and infrastructure are always protected.

AISN offers comprehensive support for your managed cloud backup. Contact our experts today to learn how to switch from traditional backups to the cloud.