The Pros and Cons of Common Backup Storage Options

Backup Storage Options - Backup on laptop screen - cloud

What are some of my backup options?

There has been a great deal said about the importance of having a backup and recovery system in place. And, naturally, the first step to building a great backup recovery system is to take backups of all your important files and configurations. Some backups simply repopulate a vital database with all the right values while others are complex enough to restore a computer from factory-reset to functional workstation.

But however you build them, backups are essentially just compressed files that will need to be stored somewhere until they are needed. Each company has a different storage solution for their backups and the storage option you choose matters more than you may realize. Where you store your backups determines how easy they are to retrieve and whether they are at risk when the network itself is threatened.

Locally Stored Backups

Most of us still remember the days when the only data you controlled was data on your own hard drives and disks. For traditionalist businesses, this may still be the way backups are made and maintained, by creating copies of data stored on another local system.

Pros:

Locally stored backups are completely in your control. You never have to worry about a third party wiping, corrupting, or losing your data because it is on your local systems.

Cons:

Your local network is not as safe as it used to be. Network-wide malware attacks (like ransomware) can compromise your entire computer system including your backups. In fact, anything that threatens your main computers can also threaten your backups. Including physical disasters like power surges and outages, flooding, or earthquakes.

Offline Backup Drives

A safer approach to keeping local backups is to store them on offline drives and disks. This option has never been popular, but there are always a few individuals and businesses that decide their backups are safer offline than online. And they have a point.

Pros:

External hard drives, USBs, and disks can keep your backups securely off any existing network. This is the best way to defend from hackers and malware because there is no network for them to access or damage your backups through.

Cons:

Unfortunately, though safe this approach is also impractical. Given the amount of data most modern businesses need to back up, the cost of external storage and the wear-and-tear rewriting offline storage devices is quite high compared to online storage options. And, of course, offline storage can still be physically damaged.

Remotely Stored Backups

Remote storage is when you store your backups on a computer located somewhere else, much like remote web hosting or file storage. Rather than storing your backups on your own system, you buy server space in a data center or even with a sister company where your backups are occasionally updated and wait to be accessed.

Pros:

Remote storage is a very effective answer to many worries about backup security. Because it is on a separate network, local malware attacks cannot corrupt your backups. And if the files are stored far enough away, local natural disasters are not a concern either.

Cons:

There are a few risks related to remote storage. If the third party storing your backups is compromised, so too are your backups. Likewise, if you store your backups in only one remote location, disasters in that area could wipe out your backups even if your home region is unaffected.

Cloud Stored Backups

Finally, we reach the modern solution to backup storage. Cloud storage is more than just remote storage because of the way the cloud handles data. Rather than storing data in just one remote location, cloud storage replicates your backups across several data centers on the globe.

Pros:

The distributed nature of cloud storage allows you to more quickly access your data from anywhere. No specific network access is required because cloud-stored data can be accessed anywhere with internet access. And the distributed nature of the data means that even if one data center is completely wiped out, your backups will still be available in other data centers and therefore safe.

Cons:

The only downside to cloud storage is the challenge of choosing the correct storage provider. Make sure your chosen cloud server providers have high security standards and a good reputation in the industry for protecting the backups of others.

Backup data security is an important concern for any modern business. The way you store your backups matters a great deal and many careful businesses choose to pair up their backup storage solutions just to make sure there is always a backup available in times of need. For more information about choosing the best backup recovery solutions for your business, contact us today!

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