Backup vs. Sync

May 1, 2019

 

As stated in the previous blog, BACKUP and SYNC are two different functions. We have found that a lot of people are mistaking the sync function of online storage for a backup function. Let me give a quick overview of the differences and encourage you to make sure that you have a BACKUP of data whether online or on your device.

 

Sync

 

This function is used by many online storage centers to provide you with offline access to your online data. As files or added or changed the system is monitoring the files changed and making sure that both repositories (online and local) have the most current versions of the files if there is internet access.

 

For example, I update my spreadsheet for inventory while I am offline (i.e. on a plane.) I now have two versions of the spreadsheet. An un-updated one on the cloud storage, and an updated one on my PC. When I have internet access again, the cloud storage service looks at any file changes, and then updates the older version to the newer one. I now have a copy of the updated one in both places. This happens in the background, without my intervention. If I happen to have a corrupt or infected file, it will automatically be synced to the cloud, or local. 

 

In essence, I have two active copies of a file, not a backup. 

 

Backup

 

A backup means that I have a copies of files and data that is stored in a separate location from the active copy. That is a big difference, active vs inactive. In order to secure data, you need have an inactive copy of files stored in a different location than the active files. (physically and geographically different is recommended)

 

Using the example above, if I change my spreadsheet, the backup is still the older version. When I get online and it syncs, the backup routine is still the older version until the backup is run again. (daily is reccommended) This protects the data in that state even in the event of a corruption, intrusion or mechanical loss. It might not be the very last thing you did, but is certainly much better than creating everything from scratch.

 

We have tools to backup the online storage that almost everyone is using today. If you wonder if it is necessary, ask one question. What would be the effect on my business if my online files were inaccessible, or unusable? 

 

All of our businesses are dependant on the data created by our software systems and ourselves. I dare say that the effects would be devastating if you have a significant loss of data. 

 

So backup vs sync? They are not the same animal at all. Sync is a convenience allowing you to be able to access current data on different devices in different places. Backup is protection of data from loss due to corruption, intrusion, and mechanical failure. Make sure you have BACKUPS of data that are current and viable. Even a backup needs to be checked for integrity. Otherwise, you are just backing up corruption. 

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