6 Key Differences Between Archiving vs Backup

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
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Managing archive and backup can be a challenging and costly task. The potential risks of losing your data are too great to be ignored. The archiving vs backup dilemma should be addressed once and for all.

Archiving is the process of storing data in a format that can be accessed later. It is often used to preserve old emails, documents, and other files that are no longer needed. Backup is the process of copying data to a secondary storage device so it can be restored in case of disaster or data corruption.

A backup and an archive are actually extremely different from one another and are utilized for quite different situations. Planning and defining how documents and other types of data will be archived, as well as deciding when daily automatic backups should be performed, are all essential components of any efficient data management plan for enterprises.

When managing your digital data, it is important to understand the difference between the two as you plan what you’re doing with your files.

In this article, we will cover the differences between archiving and backup and why organizations need both these techniques part of their overall data management strategy.

What is Archiving?

archive vs backup

Archiving is the practice of safely preserving inactive information in digital and paper formats that you no longer use on a regular basis for long-term retention. Such information is still valuable to businesses and should be kept for future reference.

The process of archiving is a very important part of the organization’s digital preservation. It ensures that the organization’s records are preserved for the future, and it preserves them for future generations to use.

Data archive is used by organizations and enterprises to meet information retention obligations and to guarantee that data is available when needed.

I strongly recommend reading the below article for full definition

What is Archiving: Why is it Important? (theecmconsultant.com)

What Is Backup?

Backup vs archive

Data backup is a process of making a copy of the data and storing it in a secure location, so that it can be retrieved if the original data is lost.

The need for data backup arises from the many ways that data can be lost or corrupted. Data can be lost due to hardware failures, software failures, human error, natural disasters, and malicious attacks.

It has many benefits for organizations. One of them is that it allows organizations to take a snapshot of their data, so if something goes wrong with the original data, they can easily restore it from the backup. It also helps organizations to recover quickly from data loss and resume operations without any downtime.

There are many factors that affect the performance and efficiency of data backup solutions, such as:

  • The number of servers in an organization
  • The size and type of files
  • The access to the servers
  • The number and type of users
  • Backup frequency
  • Backup destination

The Difference: Backup vs. Archiving

The key differences between archiving and backup are:

1- Purpose

The purpose for archiving in organizations is to store and preserve the content that is created. The content can be anything from emails, to videos, documents, and social media posts.

In order to comply with regulations, companies need to keep copies of all the documents that they have created or received. This is necessary because these regulations may require that companies produce these records if needed for legal proceedings or other investigations.

The purpose for data backup in organizations is to ensure that the organization has protection in case something goes wrong with their data storage system and/or hardware failure occurs.

Organizations need to always have a backup of their data and some kind of backup plan in place because they are always at risk of losing critical information due to hardware failure, human error, and natural disasters.

Always remember A backup is a copy of a set of data, while an archive holds original data that has been removed from its original location.

2- Storage Location

Archived data is typically transferred from the primary storage site of the business to a less expensive and long-term data storage medium.

Data backups are made automatically according to a predetermined time period, taking a copy of the data and storing it on backup storage devices.

3- Access

The difference between archiving vs backup is always on how and when data are accessed.

Data backups are only necessary in the case of a catastrophe that could result in the loss of the current organization’s original data. Organizations can save a significant amount of money by restoring data from the most recent backup plan instead of starting from scratch when such disasters occur.

In the event of a disagreement over business activity, contract, or financial transaction, the data archived relevant to that issue can be retrieved. Using robust systems, employees can locate data that was previously archived in a very fast manner.

In short, a backup is designed as a short-term insurance policy to facilitate disaster recovery, while an archive is designed to provide ongoing rapid access to decades of business information.

4- Data State

Data backup is constantly changing as a result of the everyday changes made within your organization. It uses the most recent version of the data that is accessible at the moment the backup schedule is in action.

Data archive, on the other hand, comprises of information that has been preserved in its final form and cannot be altered.

5- Retention Schedule

The most recent copy of data that has been selected for backup always takes precedence over data backups. This makes it possible for organizations to get the most recent copy whenever necessary without losing too many changes.

On the other hand, archives will be available based on different rules and regulations that organizations have to follow based on country laws, industry regulations, and so on.

6- Scope

Only information that must be preserved for compliance reasons will be archived. While all newly created data will be saved in the case of data backups.

Conclusion: Archiving vs Backup

The differences between backup and archive are obvious and serve various business objectives for companies. Businesses must employ both methods in the digital age to ensure that data can be recovered when needed and is accessible for activities connected to compliance, audits, and legal requirements.

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