Do You Backup or Store Your Data?

With Google’s announcement introducing Google Drive, I have been thinking more about how I store my data. When it comes to storing data, it seems the cloud is becoming a more popular choice, especially for those that wish to share their files.

When I view the data storage options on the cloud I am always wondering how I can use such a service for saving all of my data files. I then came to realization that services such as Dropbox and Google Drive aren’t what I need when it comes to backing up my data. There are two ways to look at how you save your data.

Do You Backup or Store Your Data?

Data Backup or Data Storage?

Many people, myself included, use multiple devices in their daily lives. They may use a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone on a regular basis. The one issue that arises with using multiple devices is the way in which data is shared.

With a cloud-based solution, data files would be stored online and can be access from any device that you would use. If the data files are changed, you would then upload the changed file, usually automatically through an application, back to the cloud.

In addition to sharing data between devices, many of the cloud-storage solutions also provide a way of sharing data between you and your peers. This allows others to read your data and even modify the files. This is a great solution for those that collaborate with groups of people.

While the above process may seem like data backup, I consider data backup to be an entirely different process. For me, data backup is a method of keep your data safe, and being able to restore your data when you lose the master copy.

The key here is that the data should be store safely, and securely. With many data storage options, that allow you or others to share and modify data, there really isn’t a lot of control of how the data can be changed. Anyone with access to the data can modify/delete/add files to the pool. With data backup, this process is restricted to protect the files.

Data backup is about preserving the data files, so that they can replace the certain files if the original files are lost. In order to maintain the integrity of the backup files, strict access control over who can access the files must be in place.

Also, for many data storage and sharing solutions, there is very little amount of data storage space available. This is because you may not be storing or sharing all your data files. With data backup, the storage needs would be greater as you will be backing up all your data files. Currently I am backing up 320 GB+ of data files. If I were to store some files for sharing, it would only be a subset of this data.

I consider data backup and data storage to be two separate actions. Both can utilize a cloud environment, but the purpose of both data storage and data backup is unique, and can be summed up as follows:

Data Storage

  • Can be shared between devices and other users.
  • Modified by multiple users.
  • Only specific files may need to be stored.
  • Storage requirements may not need to be high.

Data Backup

  • Access to the data should be restricted.
  • Data updates can only be done in a controlled environment.
  • All files are stored so they can be protected from a loss.
  • Storage requirements are high to backup all data files.
  • Used for long term data storage.

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