Online Backup or Online Storage?

which choice

There are many options to store and backup your essential data and files online but there is a significant difference between an online backup service and an online storage service. If you are interested in these services, it is very important that you evaluate the different key features that each provides and realize the differences between both, since the features differ significantly.

What are the Differences?

Online storage offers a system by which you can automatically store backup copies of important files and documents on off-site servers. It is meant to hold copies that you may need, allowing you to access your essential data from multiple computers and locations, as long as you have internet access. Online storage not only provides a flexible source for storing data but also provides an effective way of sharing data with others, and an environment for team collaboration.

Many ISPs allocate some amount of storage space on a server in the ISP's data center for the use of their subscribers. The space can be used for email, websites, or file storage.  An online storage provider gives you reliable security without the hassle of expensive, complex hardware and software applications.

However, online storage services do not usually offer automatic backup of files and do not include any software to copy, schedule and manage backup data. But rather it is simply a place to store files online for the purpose of sharing those files with others, online collaboration between teams, or for the ability to access, dowload, or work online with those files from any location. Keep in mind that online storage is not geared toward being the primary storage for your files and documents but rather they approach it from the standpoint of their service being the primary storage location for your files and documents (rather than backup copies). What this means is that they assume you are storing your files directly on their servers for the purpose of online collaboration and sharing, rather than using it as a backup location. Although some vendors like LiveDrive and Sugarsync offer both services falls into the category of being purely an online storage and collaboration provider.

Online backup services, on the other hand, also known as remote backup, is a method of offsite data storage in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up and stored in storage service centers. It is best designed at backing up the data on your PC and allowing you to recover and quickly restore any lost information in case of a hard drive failure or other disaster. Data recovery is also very fast and automatically completed.

Online backup services provide backup software and storage space specifically for the purpose of making backup copies of data to a data storage location via the internet. It can also serve as backup method that allows data to be backed up while the application is currently in use. Once installed and running, the backup software will begin compressing, encrypting, and transferring backup copies of your data to the storage location of your online backup provider. Carbonite, and Mozy fall into this category.

Both services offer several advantages. They both allow access to your files from anywhere and they provide offsite storage for your files to protect against hard drive failure, local equipment failure, theft, fire and other damages that can affect your local computer. In either case, you will want to make sure the solution they are offering is safe and secure. When researching the best type of online data backup or storage for you, take into account your access and storage needs, as well as your personal preferences.

Understanding Your Needs

Online file storage and backup programs are designed differently depending on the amount of storage you need. A home, home office, or small business may only need basic online backup functions, the ability to access and share files online for a low monthly fee. In contrast, a larger company may require more complex features such as live databases, historical backup and tighter encryption. Knowing these needs and requirements can help determine which online file backup storage company will best fit your needs.

When selecting a strategy, you must determine what kind of data you are wanting to back up, the quantity and the approximate sizes of the files, as well as the overall size of the total backup.

Online storage may be right for you if you prefer storing files and data online in order to access, share and collaborate data with family and friends. If you prefer to automatically back up all of your data regularly for retrieval and compliance purposes, then choosing online backup may be the right choice. Or if you are keen to having the best of both, then you can choose a provider offering both services such as SugarSync. First, distinguish your preferences then you can compare several different services side-by-side to make sure that you are getting the best deal with the best features you are looking for. If you then want more information on a particular provider, check out our detailed Online Backup & Storage Reviews.

Lynn is the founder and chief editor at She is responsible for strategy and business development. Her background is in software development, marketing, and project management. She loves camping, traveling, and all things soccer related. She has been married for over 30 years to one great guy and has two adult children. Lynn is also the human companion to two cats - Jynx and Spanky. She is based in Minnesota, USA.

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