Cloud Storage vs. Online Backup: Which is Best?

One of the most common objections we hear from users reluctant to make the switch to online backup is the wide variety of cheap cloud storage services on the market today. Who needs online backup when you have Dropbox, Google Drive or Amazon Cloud Drive, right? Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of users are wrong.

When it comes to online backup versus cloud storage, there seems to be a lot of confusion. You know the geometry mantra “All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares“? Cloud storage and online backup have a similar relationship. All online backup includes cloud storage, but not all cloud storage should be used for online backup.

Let’s start by taking a look at cloud storage. These types of services offer a number of pros that can’t be overlooked. First and foremost, they give users a ton of storage for ridiculously cheap, usually just a few dollars per month. When you upload your files to a cloud storage provider, they’re accessible anywhere you have access to the internet, allowing you to easily share files with others.

While this all sounds great for that application, the pitfalls of cloud storage appear when users attempt to use it as a full backup solution:

  • Not automated: Usually, users upload their data to their cloud storage provider when they first purchase the service and very seldom after. People get busy, and before you know it, months have gone by since you uploaded your photos to the cloud and your computer crashes. All of your data could be lost due to human forgetfulness. Additionally, since cloud storage also requires you to manually upload your files, there’s also the potential for missed data. You know where most of your important photos and documents are, but you’re bound to miss something if you’re forced to upload your files yourself.
  • Not secure: There have been a number of high profile security breaches of cloud storage providers in the news in recent months. Plus, due to their easily accessible nature, file sharing services are not held to as high of security standards as most online backup providers. Sensitive data may not be as safe as it should be with a pure storage provider.
  • Not managed or monitored: With cloud storage, you’re responsible for maintaining your account. There’s no one keeping an eye on your data to ensure it’s backing up properly and you’re not receiving any reports on the health of your stored files. You’re pretty much on your own.
  • Not as easily restored: Since these services aren’t designed to be used as a true backup, restoring all your data from them can be a nightmare. Imagine how long it would take to download all of your pictures, documents, videos, all other important data from the web? Even on the fastest Internet connection, it would be a painstaking process to say the least.

Online backup fills the gaps left by cloud storage in these categories. Take Gillware Online Backup for example:

  • Automatic: Gillware Online Backup software automatically backs up your files. If a file is edited, it backs up the latest revision so you don’t have to remember to back up a file every time you change it. It also has a built in algorithm to determine which files need to be backed up based on a standard configuration consisting of common file types and locations.
  • Secure: Security is a top priority, and Gillware Online Backup is committed to the safety of clients’ backups. Our entire backup process, software and data storage facilities are SOC 2 Type II security audited so you can be sure your sensitive information is being kept safe.
  • Managed and monitored: With Gillware, our expert technical support staff provides weekly status updates and monthly configuration reviews to ensure the health and status of your backups.
  • Easily restored: Since it was built as a backup, restoring data from backup archive is easy. You also have full access to Gillware’s US based technical support team for assistance with restores, and whatever else you may need.

Now of course online backup doesn’t have all the same pros as cloud storage. It tends to be more expensive, but when it comes to data security, you get what you pay for. Is it worth saving a few bucks a month to risk the safety and privacy of your critical data? Additionally, it’s not built for file sharing, so if you’re looking for a way to share documents and photos with others, a file sharing service like Dropbox would be a great complement to online backup, not a replacement.

The bottom line? Cloud storage and online backup are two great services meant for two totally different applications. Know which is best for what you’re using it for, and don’t leave the safety of your precious data up to chance.

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  1. Thanks for explaining the difference between online storage and online backup. I currently use a few different online storage programs to store and share documents from the cloud. However, I am looking for a more permanent solution to store and backup the files from my laptop computer. It seems like a combination of these two technologies might be good for someone like me. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re welcome Nathan! If you’re looking for more info on our backup, feel free to check out our website at backup.www.gillware.com or give us a call 877 624 7206 ext. 3.

    Ashley at Gillware

  3. Very nicely explained, and very helpful. I never realized there was a difference. I’ve been using Google Drive for a very long time and had no idea what it actually is 🙂 I don’t find Cloud Storage to be that bad, and I don’t find it to be non secured. Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like is that it became a bit slow when I clogged it with a bit much files, but I tool care of that with classic compression like this: http://www.winzip.com/win/en/features/cloud-backup.html but the security doesn’t bother me, I guess it’s because I never had trouble so far 🙂

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