Online Storage Versus Online Backup

Difference Between Backup and Storage Could Cost You Your Data

When it comes to the online backup industry, words have meaning. Unfortunately, terminology is not universal. Consumers confusing terms is understandable but when industry “experts” and even the companies themselves use words interchangeably that have different meanings it could result in a costly or heart breaking event for the user.

Bottom line is that online backup and online storage do NOT mean the same thing.

Online Backup

Online backup implies, and means, that the service vendor will backup the files on your computer(s) to their cloud servers. Often this includes maintaining multiple versions of files, perhaps a “recycle bin” or other way of retrieving files deleted from your PC for a period of time, usually 30 days.

Therein lies the rub.

  • What if you did not mean to delete the file?
  • What if the file was lost due to a hard disk error?
  • What if a virus or other malware deleted the file?
  • What if a user other than you deleted the file?

In any of the above circumstances you may well not realize that the file is missing for some time. Maybe it is a quarterly spreadsheet that you only access every 3 months? What if it is just one song, one photo, one movie? Will you really notice that right away?

This is where online backup can fall short and online storage comes into play.

Online Storage

Online storage goes one step further than just backup; the data can be stored on the vendor’s servers even if those files no longer reside on your computer.

Granted, this could be considered risky in that you are trusting someone else that you really don’t know THAT much about. But for some individuals or companies maybe they just do not have the space locally to store all the files and want to stash them somewhere else?

But if that is not the case, isn’t it nice to know that you can grab a file from 6 months ago if necessary?

Typically the companies who offer “storage” say that they NEVER delete anything. If there is a quota you may have to watch out, but many companies have unlimited storage so you have no worries there.

Still, though, you may want to take advantage of the tools they give you to manage your online storage so it does not become unmanageable.

A Potential Problem with Online STORAGE – and How to Fix It

Maybe you can see the issue here if you never do delete anything from your unlimited online storage account; what if you need to do a complete restore at some point?

You may not have room for EVERYTHING or maybe just don’t want it on your computer – or – you want the restore to be as FAST as possible and the less data you have to wade through and transfer the better.

The way to fix this potential problem is to spend a few minutes each month cleaning out your online storage account using the tools provided by the vendor. This gives you TWO BENEFITS:

  1. You verify that your data IS being backed up (People lose data all the time that they THINK was backed up)
  2. A restore will not take excessive time or load up your computer with garbage you wanted to get rid of

Where To Find True Online/Cloud Storage

What is important for you to understand is what the online backup service you are considering is really offering and comparing that to your particular needs.

Here is a list of some online backup/storage vendors who do offer cloud STORAGE and not just backup:

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