Cloud Backup vs. Traditional Backup: Which is Better?

Cloud Backup vs. Traditional Backup

Creating safe and reliable backups has been a key 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 backup methods commonly used in the past, some that are popular now, 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: Solid-state drives (or SSDs) use static semi-conductors to store data as opposed to 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.

Cons: Magnetic tapes are fragile and vulnerable to a range of environmental conditions. This can lead to additional maintenance costs. Physical storage can also become an issue as more and more tapes are needed, and the backup process is time-consuming and inconvenient. In the event of 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, and they require very little maintenance.

Cons: Older systems like floppies need to be stored physically, so space is still a concern. Newer versions can contain large amounts of data in a small physical space but 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. As the technology develops, their capacity continues to grow — 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 when 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 (and often expensive) solution. But since its inception, Cloud has brought about a revolution in inexpensive offsite storage, making online backups affordable and easy to use. There are always some concerns about security when placing your data in another party’s hands, but encryption technology has come a long way and a carefully-read contract should make it clear if your provider has done their due diligence.

Cons: None, if you’re careful about choosing the right Cloud provider.

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

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

Even more important than the question of media for your backup is the question of location. 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, much safer when stored offsite in a third-party data center than if you rely on an on-premise solution.

But, if your backups are onsite, you can protect them. You can control who accesses them. Right? Not exactly. Cloud service providers are completely focused on protecting your data. It’s literally their entire job. So while you’re still busy building your business and serving your clients, you’re assuming your data is fine because it’s in your office. But you’re not really 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

The cost of data loss climbed well past $1 million last year, according to a Dell Technologies study that also showed the amount of data organizations store continues to climb and security measures aren’t always keeping up. Research firm Risk-Based Security called 2019 the “worst year on record” for corporate data breaches. Obviously, backing up business-critical data is of high importance.

When considering Cloud backup vs. traditional backups, hard drives and internal servers can still be useful pieces of infrastructure — but Cloud is a great way to ensure the safety of your important data. And the right provider can help ensure that your data and infrastructure are always protected.

AISN offers comprehensive support for your managed cloud backup. If you’re ready to make the switch from traditional backups to Cloud, contact our experts today.