Cloud Storage vs Cloud Backup: The Basics

Talking about “the cloud” can be misleading and often confusing if the type of cloud service being referenced is not defined. There is a wide and ever-growing range of services available, two of which are cloud storage and cloud backup. Both services involve use of space for saving files. So, what’s the difference?

Cloud Storage provides a mechanism for saving files to a location other than your computer and frequently offers an option for sharing files with others.

Online Backup makes a duplicate of the complete contents of your hard drive and / or server so that it can be fully restored in the event of a system crash or malfunction.

In this article, we will delve further into cloud storage and online backup. Other types of services offered are discussed in the article Cloud Computing Demystified.

Cloud Storage

With an increasingly mobile and geographically distributed workforce, the ability to access and share files over distance enhances collaboration and improves productivity. Cloud storage is the solution for mobile access and sharing of your data.  In addition, it provides space beyond the storage of your computer and servers for saving files. Essentially, the space you need to store files can be expanded to whatever size you need to accommodate the work that you do.  Typically, the purchase plans are based on storage, increasing with the quantity of space.

In addition, use of cloud storage can provide mechanisms for mobile access and file sharing. Storing files in the cloud enables you and others to have access to them while away from the office. File sharing and file synchronization can also be features of cloud storage. 

  • File sharing refers to the ability to let others view, edit or download files you’ve uploaded to your cloud storage space. 
  • Synchronization or sync is a cloud storage feature that lets you edit a file on one device and have those edits reflected on another device in near real-time.

Most cloud storage services offering sync use a “sync folder.”  A sync folder is a folder that looks and behaves like other folders, except that files placed in that folder are both stored on your drive and in the cloud.   

Cloud storage solutions are generally not suitable for backup because they don’t have scheduling capabilities and they don’t retain the file system structure. It is important to evaluate your file needs (backup, file sharing or both) prior to making a purchase.

Online Backup

The vital purpose of online backup is to retain your file system structure and provide the ability to completely restore your files in the event of a serious system failure.

Most online backup tools run continuously to ensure that files are replicated in the cloud almost as soon as they’re created or changed. Most also allow a set schedule to be established for backups so that the backup can run at night and will be less apt to slow down system resources during working hours.

Online backup provides flexibility and security and means that no matter where you are, whether in the office or on the road, your files can be restored in the event of an unexpected failure.

Ninestone has experience with a variety of cloud computing scenarios and is available to assist with evaluation, planning and implementation whether you are starting your initial venture into the cloud or are expanding on cloud services already in use.

The Ninestone Team

August 2018