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Do you remember a time when hard drive crashes left you without your entire movie, music and document collection? We sure do, which is why it’s even more difficult for us to trust physical disk storage mechanisms. The best and easiest solution, it seems, is to use the internet: but wait, what’s this whole battle of the cloud storage vs online backup that we hear about? Put your detective hats on, because we’re about to dive right in to inspect this!

What of Cloud Storage: Do You Know What It Means?

Run this scenario through your head: You see a desktop computer with software installed on it, with all its other documents, files, paraphernalia too. It has sensitive information, it is updated every day, and every new file is backed up to the cloud by a dedicated person. When it comes to cloud backups, this is exactly what happens. Most often, it is done on-site by someone with the time to take a backup and specify what the system backs up to the cloud. Simply put, cloud storage is meant for users who want synchronized and backed up versions of certain files across multiple devices.

So what about Online Backup: Is It any different at all?

Now here’s the second scenario. There’s also a machine, with a lot of sensitive information, data files, music files. However, now, there’s no person involved. The system automatically keeps track of what changes are being made. All the information is backed up to a secure off-site location without the aid of any assistant. More often than not, this happens even as you’re making changes to a document or image, seamlessly and with mechanical precision. If you want an Honest Trailer version, Online Backup is designed to protect files automatically from accidental edits, deletions or accidental data losses.

When You See it, The Differences are Just That Stark and Simple 

Cut open the jargon and the veiled technical language behind storage systems, and that’s exactly what you get. Cloud storage is highly dependent on individual agents, whereas Online backup is a process that runs in the backdrop and creates a virtual image for the user. Generally, this implies a couple of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, online backup has a less degree of control over specific files to be backed up: it works on general instructions, like locations to be backed up etc. On the other hand, cloud storage is much more labor-intensive and requires greater personal time and attention.

Advantages of using Cloud Storage over Online Backup 

If you’re using cloud storage, take the example of something like DropBox. You have a limited amount of storage which can be expanded based on your needs. Additionally, you can restore a particular file when you happen to lose it. Usually, you’ll be working with an on-computer desktop application or web-based interface that’ll let you connect to a website where you’ll store your files, giving you necessary access wherever you need it just through a simple login process or software download. Generally, you’ll get the chance to share, transfer, edit or view files online if you’ve uploaded them to a cloud storage service. 

Advantages of Online Backup over Cloud Storage

The major advantage of online backup is that you don’t just get certain files, and you get an entire virtual copy of your existing machine. This is particularly useful if you operate multiple offices, machines, or devices in different locations. An online backup is more intensive in the sense that all of your information can be stored on it: including large chunks of software, digital data or sensitive information. Generally, corporations, companies and even users with intensive data usage requirements can benefit from online backup rather than cloud storage systems. By eliminating room for human error, you have a better chance of securing every little piece of information on your devices. 

Major Areas of Differences in the Two Systems 

There are three key areas in which cloud storage and online backup systems differ from each other.

These are: a) file transfer systems, b) backup management systems, and c) loss of data protection.

a) File Transfer Systems

Online backup provides you with greater security and encryption facilities, but there’s one pitfall of this: you cannot easily share your files between different users without giving total access to all your data. On the other hand, an online storage service will give you the chance to share files and collaborate on them. You should note, though, that the latter compromises on security in this way and anybody with a link can often get into your system or change your file irretrievably.

b) Backup Management

Cloud backup gives you a totally automated experience: just like your trustworthy antivirus, it schedules its backups on a daily, hourly, monthly or weekly basis depending on your specifications. It thus takes automatic backups of every single file that is specified by you. On the other hand, cloud storage requires you to manually upload some files by locating them, selecting them, and then putting them in the appropriate folder or web-browser interface.

c) Data Loss Protection 

Protecting against data loss is one of the key features of every backup service online, be it cloud backup or cloud storage. Usually, online backup facilities give you the chance to recover lost or corrupt versions of your files. On the other hand, cloud storage constantly syncs files across devices which means that there are no redundant files created, so if a version is deleted or corrupted on one device, it can be lost forever.

However, there are some fail-mechanisms for this and you can recover certain files if they’ve been accidentally deleted from the Spam or Trash folder: this varies from service to service.

How to Choose Between Online (Cloud) Storage and Online (Cloud) Backup

By now, it should be apparent that both online cloud storage and online cloud backup have different functions and utilities. After all, you can’t drive an F1 car to work every day, can you now? It’s simply not functional or feasible! Therefore, if you’re wondering whether you need cloud backup or cloud storage, you should take a bit of time and introspect. Cloud storage services are generally for those looking for collaborative features, advanced user access tools and multi-user support. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a secure storage facility for all your data which won’t miss a thing, let you backup files automatically without doing anything manually even if you’re in a different city or country, and allow you storage facilities for different functions, you should look for cloud backup rather than anything else.


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