Cloud Backup vs Cloud Storage

Lot of organizations are moving from on-premises to cloud services. Cloud providers offer a variety of services starting from cloud computing, networking, cloud storage, cloud backup and disaster recovery etc. people are often confused between cloud backup services and cloud storage services. There is a very thin line of difference between the two as the purpose of both is totally different when it comes to usage. 

In today’s article we learn about two cloud terminologies related to data – cloud backup vs cloud storage, understand the key difference between the two and their purpose. 

What is Cloud Backup?

Cloud backup or ‘online’ backup as it is referred to is a cloud-based application to provide capability for automatic backup of files, configurations, virtual machines, servers, and store them securely for disaster recovery in the event of disruption. Cloud backups are sort of insurance of organization data and support business continuity.

Cloud backups are typically built around a local client application which runs on a background automatic schedule multiple times in a day. The application job is collection, compression, encryption, and transfer data to service provider servers. To reduce the amount of bandwidth consumption during file transfer, post initial transfer – differential or incremental backup choices are available.

The primary data reside at home location (original location) and online backup is safely stored offsite in another region for data recovery. The cloud backup solutions store all data as per custom pretension policy and previous versions of files can be restored to recover from corrupted data. Cloud provides professional online backup services providing special plugins for data backup from third party applications such as MS-Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, MS-SQL etc. 

Related: 5 Best Practices for Cloud Backup

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is meant to store data online to be accessible from any device and anywhere irrespective of location. Cloud storage services such as Drop box, Google drive, Apple iCloud and SkyDrive from Microsoft are some examples of cloud storage services which are a great way to share files. These are somewhat comparable with a cloud-based USB flash drive sort. But cloud storage does not guarantee monitoring, reporting and support if the server goes down in their data canters and you might lose those files forever. Also, files are encrypted only on the server storage side making them less secure.

There is no process of auto upload or sync files between your system and the provider cloud storage service. Files are uploaded manually in a shared folder to be synced. No application, data or system configuration can be stored on cloud storage; it is only meant for storing files and folders. Due to its less reliability it is not suitable to store business critical data and documents.

Related: Cloud Storage Services: AWS vs Azure vs GCP

Cloud Backup vs Cloud Storage

FeaturesCloud BackupCloud Storage
ObjectiveBackup up files and data on system and store them safely for the purpose of disaster recoveryStore files and folders online for ease of accessibility, and work on them from anywhere (flexibility)
ReportingThere is a status reporting on success and failure of backups and acts as a data insurance for an organizationThere is no such status reporting capability provided by cloud providers
EncryptionFiles can be encrypted only at server side; no transportation securityLocal client software is available to take care of encryption while storing data and while uploading them
Data typePrimary stored data which can be used from anywhereBackup stored data is a secondary copy, primary data still reside at home (original) location
ProcessFiles upload is manual or can be put in shared folder for syncData uploaded is automatic
Type of dataOnly supports uploading files and foldersSupports backup for all types of data – hidden and locked files also. Special plugins are available to backup data from third party applications also
RetentionFiles are uploaded into shared drive. If server goes down you might lose files foreverFiles are stored on cloud in geo redundant storage and retention can be defined as long as required
Download the comparison table: cloud backup vs cloud storage

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