Cloud storage vs. cloud backup: What’s the difference?

May 2022

Cloud storage vs. cloud backup: What’s the difference?

Thinking of the cloud as someone else’s computer might help demystify how it works. However, you will need to delve a bit deeper to understand the differences between cloud terms like cloud storage and cloud backup.

Simply put, cloud storage services don’t provide the same peace of mind that cloud backup services offer.

Let’s get into the basics of cloud storage vs. cloud backup.

Cloud storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive are good for storing files, photos and videos from your laptop to one centralized location – the cloud. You can access your files from any device and easily share files with friends and family; it also allows easy syncing.

But cloud storage isn’t the same thing as backup.

If your data goes missing — say your computer crashes or gets stolen – and if you haven’t been constantly moving your updated files to your cloud storage, then you will lose the files that weren’t manually uploaded. Even if file sync is turned on, if a file on a laptop is deleted or gets infected with malware, data gets deleted or infected on both sides.

This is where cloud backup comes in.

Cloud backup – also known as online backup — is specifically designed for making copies of your files and ensures continuous backup and offers an easy way to restore your files.

Backup services offer file versioning, which means in the event of data loss – say, your computer gets infected with ransomware – you will be able to recover a clean version of your file from a point in time before your system became infected.

Cloud storage vs. cloud backup: Key differences

  • Cloud storage is designed to supplement your hard drive space and makes it easier to access and edit files from different devices. Cloud backup is designed in a way that you can restore files in the event of data loss.
  • With cloud storage you must manually select files you want to store in the cloud, while cloud backup services work automatically to save and sync files stored on your computer.
  • Cloud backup providers are serious about keeping your data secure: Your files are usually encrypted both on transfer and on storage. But with most cloud storage services, files can only be encrypted on the server side, making the data transfer process less secure.

Carbonite offers cloud backup solutions that meet the needs of individuals and businesses alike.


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