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Advantages Of Cloud Storage Over Tape Backup

Denise Sullivan
By Denise Sullivan
— Last Updated: 2020-03-25T10:43:42+00:00

In a recent post, we stated that tape backup is far from dead. While saving precious data to physical devices may still be alive and well for many businesses, cloud storage is becoming more common. In many ways, uploading information to an off-site source is easier to use, reliable, and more cost effective than traditional methods.

Cloud Storage Benefits Out Shine The Competition

Cloud storage is simple. All users have to do is download the appropriate software, select the files to be backed up, and initiate upload. Transfers begins in minutes and complete as a background task (you can read all about the benefits of cloud storage in our article).

With tape backup, additional hardware is required. Once this step is completed, then files are added each day to the drive. In most cases, the transfer of information is accomplished manually. There are some companies with policies requiring data copies to be housed in a different location than the servers, in case of a catastrophic event that may damage not only the equipment, but the building in which it is housed.

Cloud Storage

On the other hand, cloud storage is a much simpler restoration solution; as the data is accessible from anywhere, at any time. All the user has to do is log into their account, select the folders, and download them. If there are several large files, complete installation may take hours, but it is still faster than having to locate the latest tape and restore each one manually.

While cloud storage is easy to use, its biggest achievement is reliability, with a 99 percent restoration rate. Sometimes corrupted files are loaded and inadvertently overwrite previous versions, which is a common way information is damaged. But off-site backup companies have redundancies in place to ensure the integrity of stored data.

The Saga of Traditional Tape Backup

Traditional tape backups lack the same level of certainty. Tape is more durable than hard disk and flash drives; however, it is not infallible. Over three-quarters of all businesses that use cassettes are unable to restore their systems successfully. The data corrupts overtime, making it unusable.

Ensuring the security of files is one reason companies still use tape backups, no one can hack a physical tape. While on the cloud end of things, protection levels may vary between the different cloud vendors, with most using military grade, 256-AES encryption to encode the data. In addition, more  off-site companies are taking steps to ensure that information is stored in same country in which it originated.

For those who think using tape for backup is better financially, untrue. It is cheaper than buying several external hard drives, but when it compared to cloud storage, the costs are astronomical.  Hardware required to save data can be priced in the thousands of dollars. Additionally, the individual cassettes cost anywhere from $25 to $50 a piece.

On the other hand, cloud storage has a monthly or annual charge, based on the client’s needs. There are no reoccurring costs once the bill has been paid. Using an off-site source can also save companies with a limited IT budget from having to maintain a large number of personnel, while cutting down on extensive training for those they do employ.


Yes, some businesses will use tape, hard disk drives, and other portable devices to continue to save their files. For some companies, the location where data is stored is a matter of law. More cloud companies are ensuring that information is kept within the same country of origin.

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Until they all comply with this requirement, saving to physical media will continue. When deciding between cloud storage and tape backup, companies should weigh the benefits, such as reliable, easy to use, and cost effective options, against the need to have the data saved on a local device.

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