Cloud Storage vs Cloud Backup: How Are They Different?

Over 90 percent of businesses will be using cloud services by 2021.

Cloud services have been all the rage for the past half-decade or so. Its extensive storage capability and incredible flexibility have made it a staple for companies across the country. Businesses aside, cloud storage has also been invaluable for individuals storing documents, music, movies, and even games.

The global cloud computing market was valued at $266.0 billion in 2019. However, despite the widespread popularity of cloud services, not many people can differentiate cloud storage vs cloud backup. There are some blurred lines between these two terms, and many use them interchangeably.

In this piece, we’ll be expounding on the differences between cloud storage and cloud backup. Read on about these differences and how each solution can benefit your business.

What Is Cloud Storage?

The definition of cloud storage is as simple as its name, storage in the “cloud.” Cloud storage is a service where you can transfer your data to an offsite storage system via the internet. This storage system is maintained and controlled by a third party.

Examples of cloud storage services include Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, and SkyDrive. You can access your file on the cloud, provided you have a stable internet connection. You can think of it as an online hard disk where you store all your files.

Typically, you have to pay a certain amount per the cloud’s storage space. There are free cloud services but with limited storage. You have to pay a subscription fee to extend the storage.

Cloud Storage Reliability

While cloud storage offers unparalleled flexibility, it’s not the most reliable way to store your files. The first problem with cloud storage is security. Security is what puts off most businesses from cloud storage.

Cloud storage only has end-to-end encryption, making it vulnerable to breaches when in transit. There’s no guarantee of monitoring or reporting in case of anything suspicious. So while you get the storage space, the security question is entirely up to you.

Next, there’s a very slim possibility that the server might go down, but if it does, there’s no guarantee of getting your data back. Also, you have to manually upload your files to the cloud; there’s no way to sync the cloud to your devices for automatic uploading. Also, most cloud services don’t allow you to upload applications and limit the storage only to files.

What Is Cloud Backup?

As you’d have guessed, cloud backup backs up data in the cloud. This service automatically makes backups of your files, applications, and other digital resources. Individuals and businesses take a data loss precaution for their data recovery and business continuity.

Cloud backup involves making copies of data on your internal storage system and sending it via a network (typically the internet) to an external storage site. Cloud backup is automatic and revolves around a local client app that schedules automatic downloads of copies of this data in the background.

The local client application facilitates the cloud backup and takes the file through a few processes to ensure they are secure and complete. The first process is compression, compressing the file’s size to reduce the bandwidth it needs during file transfer. Next, the app encrypts the data to ensure secure transmission from the client to the external storage system.

The service provider does the backup in incremental phases until there’s a complete backup of the client’s data. You’d be correct if you say that cloud backup service providers are more involved and concerned about the clients’ data. Expect comprehensive reporting, monitoring, and logging, for the security and integrity of your data.

Cloud Storage vs Cloud Backup: The Lowdown

Cloud storage and cloud backup are similar in that both store data in the cloud. However, they handle clients’ data very differently, and that’s where the major difference is.

Here’s what makes cloud storage so different from cloud backup.

The Objective

The main goal of cloud storage is to store files for easier and more flexible accessibility. That way, users can access files from anywhere, provided they have a stable internet connection.

Cloud backup, on the other hand, is a disaster recovery strategy that backs up your files to prevent data loss in the event of a disaster.

The Interface

Cloud storage has a web interface where users manually upload their files to the cloud. The web interface makes it difficult to encrypt files for secure data transmission.

Cloud backup has a local client that automatically backs up the files and encrypts them for secure transfer.

Retrieval Frequency

You’ll likely access cloud storage more frequently than data on cloud backups. Some people use cloud storage as an extension of their device storage. You’d expect cloud storage users to access the files whenever necessary.

For cloud backup, the data stays in the original file location. Clients only access and retrieve data in the cloud backup in case of data loss. Cloud backup is only a means of data retrieval for data loss, not an external storage system.

Type of Data Stored

Cloud storage restricts storage to only files and folders, like documents and .txt files. You can’t store any application files with cloud storage.

Cloud backup, however, allows storing all types of data, including applications and even third-party applications, via special plugins.

Manual and Automatic Uploads

In most cases, you must manually upload files and data to the cloud storage. The local client application facilitates automatic cloud backups at regular intervals.

These are just a few factors that make cloud storage and cloud backup very different. You can check out this article for more differences between the two.

What Solution Is Best for You?

The winner wholly depends on your challenges regarding cloud storage vs. cloud backup. Smart businesses invest in both because each can address particular challenges you may face as a business. Also, make sure you pick the right cloud storage or cloud backup provider to experience the full range of benefits.

For more informative reads, check out the other posts on the site.

Diana Muniz
Diana Muniz

With over 20+ years of experience in a variety of corporate and entrepreneurial environments, Diana has developed a great understanding of Marketing Strategy, Brand Development, Customer Success, Public Relations and Management. Her internal drive for developing others and external brands, has allowed her to work in some of the largest cities in the world including Milan, Paris, NY, Mexico, and the Middle East. This experience has been fundamental to Diana’s success and ability to communicate cross-culturally.