Cloud vs. Physical On-Site Back Up: Pros & Cons

Did you know – 93% of companies that lost their data and systems for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington). Yikes!

Most businesses don’t think a major data loss will ever happen to them, but it can happen to any business. If your business hasn’t practiced good data back ups in the past, it definitely should start; the reasons are obvious: to prevent data loss that results in lost business or even the demise of a business. What is your disaster recovery plan? Can you imagine if you go into work one morning and all of the data was lost? What would you do? Would your company survive?

Backing up your company’s data is easier said than done. You have to think about various questions: What back up method to use; cloud or tape? How to put the back up practice in place? How to configure the settings? How to make sure it works?

Below is a deeper explanation of two methods of back ups: cloud vs. physical on-site back up services plus the pros and cons of each.

What is Cloud Back Up?
A cloud back up service, otherwise referred to as remote or online back ups, is just backing up your data to the Internet, whether it’s public or private.

Cloud Back Up Pros
The back up copy is stored in a location other than the office in case anything were to happen at your actual location
-The entire system is automated, no need to worry about someone forgetting to put in a new tape
-All the storage you need
-Organized file structure

Cloud Back Up Cons
Privacy/Security risks and concerns
-System may slow down during backup
-High cost for businesses with a lot of storage
-Less than full control over your data
-Downloading a large data recovery may take several days
-Complications if the back up provider goes out of business
-A lost Internet connection, means no access to data to back up or restore
-There are time restrictions on some plans, for example, many companies won’t allow you to access files past 30 days old

What is a Physical Onsite Back Up?
A physical onsite back up is when data is copied periodically using an onsite device and stored on a physical medium such as tapes, USB drives, discs, etc. The back up medium is then taken off site for storage.

Physical Onsite Back Up Pros
You can physically manage and control the data
-Data can be taken off site to protect
-Back ups can recover items deleted weeks ago
-Data can be restored very quickly

Physical Onsite Back Up Cons
Data could become corrupt
-Sometimes tapes can be fragile if not handled properly
-The media must be physically changed daily (or at regular intervals)

What We Recommend
Backing up your data is necessary; whether you use an online back up method or a physical on-site method. If your company ever goes through a disaster or some other unfortunate event where data is lost, having a good disaster recovery process can be a matter of success in a matter of hours versus days, or never at all. We recommend fully understanding the differences and implications of online backup versus onsite and find the application or a process that makes sense for your business.


Josh provides business consulting and sales engineering support while managing the help desk staff and overseeing daily operations. He has been with the company for 10 years, starting out as a help desk technician, and has progressed to become a key management asset. Josh graduated from Mount Mercy University with a degree in Applied Management. Outside of work, Josh is involved with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and trains for triathlons and marathons.

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