Online Storage vs Online Backup: What’s The Difference?

obrBy Rahul Dasgupta — Last Updated: 08 Apr'15 2015-04-07T14:40:43+00:00Google+

The difference between online storage vs online backup services continues to puzzle users when they’re choosing a service. Online backup, also known as cloud backup, was already in use even before online or cloud storage services came into existence. Popular names in cloud backup services, such as:

Allow the user to backup and restore files in a system.

Cloud storage can be seen as an extension of these backup services, enabling file storage, access, and sharing on top of online backup. Curious to know more? Let’s do a comparative analysis to understand the two services.

What Is Online Backup?

Online backup secures your data and business continuity by automatically backing up your files, servers, applications, and virtual machines to store them safely for recovery in case of a disaster.

Online backup is like a virtual offshore account through which you can access a saved digital copy of your physical devices, such as your smartphone, tablet, and PC, anywhere and anytime.

Collecting, compressing, encrypting, and transferring data to the servers of a cloud backup service, this application runs incremental backups after an initial full backup to reduce the amount of bandwidth used. This also reduces the amount of time consumed in transferring files.

This functionality of backing up your devices online ensures that you have multiple copies of backup on several media so that even if your devices, particularly your hard drive, are lost or damaged, a copy of the files will still be available online.

What Is Online Storage?

A redesigned version of online backup, online storage services allow access to easy sharing of files from any device anywhere.

Popular cloud storage services like:

Provide a space where you can access, modify, share, and transfer files online. They allow collaborative sharing as well so that the same file can be viewed and modified by other concerned users.

You can sync a part of your hard drive with the online storage and make modifications on your hard disk so that it is replicated to the cloud storage.

These cloud storage services work mostly on web interfaces and do not offer an automatic process to upload or sync files. It is a great medium for sharing documents. However, as these files are encrypted only on the server side, transfers are more susceptible to threats

Areas of Difference

The following areas should be considered when identifying the appropriate service for your business.

1. File Transfer

Online backup services provide a high degree of security by encrypting your saved files and documents, but it does not feature sharing of files between multiple users.

Online storage services allow you to store files and share them across multiple users through collaborative sharing. However, not all cloud storage services (like Dropbox Basic) provide encryption of data while you transfer files.

2. Managing Backups

Cloud backup services schedule jobs daily for the automatic backup of all your personal files.You need to manually upload the selected files if using a cloud storage service.

3. Protection Against Data Loss

The purpose of online backups is to create redundant files so that the version that is lost or corrupted can be recovered. Since files are synced across devices in cloud storage, no redundant files are created if a version is deleted or corrupted in one of the devices.

Here is a quick comparison chart:


Online Backup

Online Storage

File Transfer:

No option of collaborative sharing

Enables sharing among multiple users

Managing Backups:

Facilitates automatic backup

Need to upload files manually

Protection Against Data: Loss

Always creates a duplicate copy of the saved file in case of loss or data corruption

Files, once lost, cannot be retrieved.

It is vital to understand your business requirements in order to identify the perfect cloud-based services that will fulfill your needs. A cloud storage service may not be enough to provide complete backup solutions since it does not support redundancy. 

Which of the two cloud services is a perfect fit for your business? Please feel free to share your comments, and thanks for reading!

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