There are some other terms that are commonly used synonymously with "online backup". This article refers to online backup as described in the first definition of online backup below.
Terminology used for online backup services:
- Online Backup - 1) A service that provides backup software and storage space specifically for the purpose of making backup copies of data to a data storage facility via the Internet. 2) A backup method that allows data to be backed up while the application is currently in use.
- Offsite Backup - A general term that refers to backup data being stored in a location that is separated from the location where the primary data is stored. In order for data to be off-site, it should be in a different building at a minimum, and ideally should be located in different facility at least a few miles away from the location where the computer and primary data are stored. The term offsite backup has been used for decades to describe the process of moving backup tapes to a secondary location for the purposes of disaster recovery in the event the primary location is destroyed or becomes inaccessible. With the advent of the Internet and online backup services, the term offsite backup is often used with the same meaning as online backup where data is copied off-site over a network.
- Internet Backup - A service that provides backup software and storage space specifically for the purpose of making backup copies of data to a data storage facility via the Internet.
- Online Storage - 1) Many ISPs allocate some amount of storage space on a server in the ISP's data center for the use of their subscribers. The space can be used for email, websites, or file storage. However, online storage that is included with your Internet service does not usually include any software to copy, schedule, and manage your backup data. 2) The term online-storage is also used by large data centers to describe storage that is immediately accessible by users, websites, and programs. For example: disk storage is online storage, and tape storage is offline storage. You may find that some online backup providers use the term online storage.
- Remote Backup - The process of backing up data to a server in a remote location. This term is often used synonymously with online backup services. Remote backup is often used within a corporation and is not necessarily a service.
- Network Backup - The process of backup up data over a network to any media, including tape or disk. This term is mostly used internally by corporations who backup their own computers over their own network using various software and media.
No need to purchase a tape drive, tape media, or backup software. If you are reading this article online, then you already have everything you need to start use an online backup system. The online backup service provider will provide you with any software needed.
Automated backup requires no effort.
Backing up to any media other than online backup requires that someone insert a tape, a CD, a Zip disk, or plug in a USB drive or something. This is often the source of missed or failed backups. The media is not changed, overwritten, or left unattended for days or weeks at a time. Unless you are a larger corporation with dedicated IT staff, the only way to ensure that your data is backed-up as it should be is to eliminate all human intervention.
Data is stored off-site.
Your backup is not going to do you any good if it is in the room with your computer when a disaster strikes. Virtually all medium and large corporations move their backup data off-site at least daily so that they can quickly recover from any disaster that destroys their data-center. In many cases off-site storage of records is a requirement of state or federal regulations and it is almost always a requirement of auditors. Small business and home user rarely move their data off-site on a regular basis, exposing them to total loss in the event of a disaster. Off site storage is inherent in online backup services without the additional costs.
Data is moved in the background.
In most cases the data is backed-up with no disruption to business as usual. Your backups can be set to run during off-hours. In most cases the backups can be run while the computer is in use with no noticeable effects.
Backup records are kept automatically.
Having records of which files were backed up, when they were backed up, and which media they are on, the location of the media are often overlooked by small business and home users. Online Backup systems take care of all of this automatically. In most cases you can use your backup software or a website to quickly find your files and restore them when needed.
Off site data is available immediately 24x7.
Larger corporations often use off-site tape vaults for storage of backup media. It can take several hours and hundreds of dollars to recall media from a vault in an emergency. Online Backup makes your backup data available immediately 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays.
How secure is your backup media? Is it stored in your office or your home where it could possibly be stolen? What is on those backup tapes or disk that you wouldn't want a criminal to have? Most online backup services store your data in encrypted form in a secure data center. Your data is usually safer with an Online Backup provider than it is in your house or office.
DSL, Cable, Broadband
Online Backup services work extremely well for small business and home users because of the ubiquity of fast Internet connections. DSL and Cable broadband service provide an excellent data transmission vehicle to move data off-site to an Online Backup service providers data center. In addition most Online Backup services compress your data and do incremental backups to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed.
Even if you are currently doing a good job of backing up your data to tape or portable disk, you should still consider using Online Backup as a supplement. Schedule your critical data to be stored off-site and you will be protected from human error associated with manually backing up and moving data off-site. There is really not a good reason to do this. There are plenty of low cost providers that offer great service.
This article discussed reasons why you should use an Online Backup Service. I hope your next decision is to select the right provider for your budget and needs. Please check back here for more information that will help you sort out the Online Backup Service providers and identify the services and features that you need.