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What is the difference between cloud backup and online backup?

October 5, 2019,

Differences

There aren't any specific differences between cloud and online backups.

Cloud backups are in general a more generic term for simple file system backups such as Dropbox or OneDrive. You might not have the option for unlimited versions and history of your files and you should expect to purchase a quota larger than you intend to use.

Online backups are normally more rigid in their approach. With an online backup system you will be able to backup other data sets as well as simple file systems. These could be Windows system state, bare metal (image) or MSSQL on Microsoft systems. You can expect other advanced modules such as NAS modules built for specific hardware devices, virtualisation agents (such as Hyper V or VMware), as well as a selection of cloud agents such as Office 365 and cloud-2-cloud.

Online backups will also store your data on a robust storage platform used by Governments, Police, Military, Medical etc. The choice made by the aforementioned will be Microsoft's Azure or Amazon's AWS. Some providers still use their own storage and will use misleading terms such as 'military grade', when in fact they don't have any military customers.

If your provider uses their own storage facilities and doesn't tell you what that is, then you might want to dig a bit deeper. Why would they hide their tech from a customer?

When we used to provide our own storage we were always proud to say we used HP server clusters and Cisco switching and firewalls.

Online backup systems will also give you the option to store your backups wherever you like. You might want to let your online backup provider manage your storage or you might want to store it on your own hardware or a 3rd party cloud such as Azure or AWS.

Retention offerings also set online backups apart from cloud storage \ backups. An online backup system which will allow you to comply with data retention policies stipulated by your local laws and your insurers' rules will have to give you the option of unlimited retention \ history.

 

Terminology for cloud and online backup

The most common names are; cloud backup, cloud computer backup, remote backup and online backup. A full search on alternative names is shown at the bottom.

What is the cloud?

Cloud resources expand and contract on demand as you need them.
You can upload 1TB of data and when you remove that data, the storage is available to other users on the cloud.

Other cloud and online backup names

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