The Difference between Backups and Archives

To an ordinary person, making a data archive and a data backup look similar. After all, they both involve copying your data and storing it somewhere, right? The answer to that is a bit complicated. Though both have the same operation, they approach it in different ways. As a business owner, you need to know what sets them apart. Here is a brief rundown:


A backup and an archive have two very different purposes. Backups are a way for you to restore data if something bad happens. This is the reason for the nightly backups in some companies. They don’t want to lose data from anything that happens overnight. When you need backups, they return your system to a particular point.

Archives are where your non-essential data goes. For example, you have gigabytes of transactions records from years past. Your system is not going to be accessing that any time soon. But it does take up space on your server. You set up a data archive so that you can have more usable space.


Another notable difference is how they store data. Backup programs usually have a basic storage solution that doesn’t need to last long. They copy the data and store it until the next day or week, whatever the interval is.

But data-archiving programs do something much different. They move the data to a more secure storage option, removing the data from your server. Long-term storage is different from short-term hardware. It is more reliable and cheap. This is because it does not need to do many things except store data most of the time.


IT specialist working on his laptop

Because of their divergent purposes, you look at different things when it comes to a data backup and a data archive. A data backup requires quick speed in both copying and uploading when necessary. This ensures that your business will be able to bounce back from any emergency.

Making an archive requires more care. Archives are for long-term data storage, and so you need to be thorough when storing all the data. Additionally, the data needs to be easy to access. Searching through a data backup is pretty much sifting through a pile of sand. Archives usually have an indexing system that allows quick data retrieval.

Quick retrieval is important because one of the main reasons for dipping into your archives is to meet a legal request. Being prompt when answering the demands of lawyers can make it easier for your company.

In the end, the differences outlined above should give you a basic idea of what process to use when necessary. You should remember that data is important to many of today’s businesses, and managing them right is the key to success. Having a backup instead of an archive can cost you a deal in the future, so it is best to go forward knowing what is what. If you feel unsure, you can always seek the help of professionals. By doing so, you can avoid making costly mistakes.

About the Author

Exit mobile version