Backing up your data is very important, as you already know. It is not a very difficult procedure either. However, the problem lies with the choice of backup solution to opt for Cloud Backup or Local Backup. These two solutions are different from each other and both have their pros and cons. Here we have tried to compare each of the aspects related to these approaches. But, keep in mind neither solution is perfect for everyone. It all depends on your needs and point of view.
One approach is to back up your data dwelling inside the cloud to local storage and thus create a cloud-based backup for all your on-premises servers. Even though, this won’t suffice for every situation. This is the very reason why we need to analyze our specific mode of operation and decide what works best accordingly. However, only comparing between the two approaches; cloud and local backup is not all; having done that you need to check if the approach or tool you chose to use has all the necessary features or not.
Cloud-based and Local backup
Before we dive into this comparison let us first understand the two approaches; what they are and how they work.
- Cloud-based Backup: –
This term refers to the type of backup approach where the data is backed up to a storage facility that is connected to the source, where the internet acts as the medium of transfer and access. With the proper credentials the user can access his/her data from anywhere in the world provided an internet connection is available to them. It is often called online or remote backup.
With Cloud backup, the provider or vendor allocates a globally accessible cloud storage platform to the user. The user also needs an internet connection or software by means of a purpose-built UI or vendor API. The control over the management of data, however, is solely under the vendor.
Some Cloud Backup service providers are Blackblaze, Carbonite, CrashPlan, SOS, etc.
- Local Backup: –
In this case, the storage medium is not remote but rather, kept nearby. This means it is not the internet, but offline devices like internal and/or external hard drive, optical drives like CDs, or DVDs, Solid-state drives like USB thumb drives, etc.
The storage device is typical, plugged in directly to the source computer from where the data will also be backed up, or over a LAN connection (cable) to the source. As a result, no vendor or intermediary is needed here.
Cloud vs. Local Backup
Further, we will look at the aspects of comparison between these two backup approaches. The main points of comparison are availability, cost, backup and recovery speed, security, legal registrations, as well as associated third parties.
- Availability: –
Service Level Agreement or SLA is the keyword here. Furthermore, most of the cloud services in the market offers the availability of 99.9% and higher. As a result over a month, you will experience a downtime of around 43 minutes; hence the .9% indicates that it will decrease downtime slightly above 4 minutes monthly. These companies are continuously struggling to increase their availability even further.
However, the only limiting factor to availability is not SLA; hence in order to access the cloud, you will absolutely require an internet connection. Hence, problems with your internet connection can potentially decrease availability.
On the other hand, with Local backup, these limits do not apply. You yourself can decide when to back up your data and when to schedule maintenance of your backup device. In the same way you do not need to rely on the internet to browse through or access your data. This is an essential feature in case of lawsuits or litigations.
- Cost: –
Further opinion varies much in this aspect. In order to determine which approach will cost you less, you need to do some math; a few things you need to consider while calculating are:
- Cloud backup:
It is even easy to calculate for this approach:
- Cloud backup solution is subscription free; a monthly or annual fee is however applicable.
- You need to check if the free subscription includes all the featured you are looking for as well as the technical support. As you can see, moreover you do not need to scratch your brains over cloud backup costs.
There are a few costs associated with this:
- The cost for licensing your backup software.
- Sometimes additional data storage devices are required thus including their purchase costs.
- Upgrading the storage as well as its modernization will cost you money.
Thus, cost-wise you can say that for the former you just pay as you use it (just pay for the features you need or use), whereas the latter comes as an investment on your part (for hardware and software) although it is an one-time investment only. Additional security investment is however not obligatory as you have to ensure data safety on each device anyway.
- Backup and recovery speed: –
Generally, backup and recovery speeds depend on various factors. But in comparison, local backup has a clear advantage in this aspect. Backup and recovery speed depends entirely on your LAN connection in case of local backup. However, in case of cloud backup there are a few hold-ups.
Cloud service providers need to introduce a threshold or speed limit in order to provide a similar experience for every one of their customers. These thresholds can also be a big problem if you have a large amount of data that you want to secure. Furthermore, internet speeds sometimes cannot match up to your LAN speed depending on your location. Too much traffic to the cloud can also lag your internet connection. Hence sometimes backups are scheduled for outside of office hours.
- Third Parties: –
Besides this is unavoidable; hence you have to depend on cloud service providers for all your cloud solutions. How is this bad? Well, you also need to put your trust with these companies for your data storage, maintenance, and security. On one hand, they will also have to comply with every regulation concerning data security, while on the other, they are tasked with the undertaking of security measures for data protection.
Even though their business depends on their reputation; this means they cannot take any illegal steps to invade your data privacy as well as you will find it hard to trust any other company with protection over your data. This situation complicates further if these companies outsource some of their tasks to a third party.
However, in case of local backups, if data is not automatically transferred to a third party say for analysis, you can be sure that no such third parties are involved in the process and worry less about data privacy.
- Legal Regulations: –
Data localization policies have been equally important and are introduced by some countries like Russia, Indonesia, and Australia to name a few. These legal acts will require the data that is being collected from its citizens to remain within the countries’ borders. Besides these countries, saying that the data “is in the cloud” is simply not enough, they need to know where those data are at all times. In the same way in such cases, you will need to make sure that you can control the physical locations of the data you are handling, by targeting the correct data center and also make sure that no data is leaked from there. Some regulations also apply to personally identifiable informations, where others apply to health and medical information. Furthermore, there are special regulations relating to government-related informations, obviously!
For this reason, only, a local backup solution is much more preferred by governments and companies that work with highly sensitive data. This is because, for local backup, the administrator controls everything.
- Security: –
There have been disputes over the safety as well as security of the cloud in the past. Protection for data transferred over the internet is always a point of trifle, but as long as the connection that you are using remains encrypted, the safety will remain absolute. However, due to its accessibility nit being dependent on the location as long as an internet connection is available, it does create some potential threats. Hence your data can be attacked from anywhere; however, it doesn’t mean that the data can be breached. Second, an imposter can access some of your sensitive data for instance if they get their hands on your credentials. Passwords can be stolen with keyloggers if the protection is poor and it is the poorest on a personal computer rather than in a company system.
Besides, there are ways to counter such threats as well. For starters also make sure that the cloud service providers offer an MFA or multi-factor authentication. It is a bit annoying but there can be nothing better than this to protect your data and prevent unauthorized access.
With local backup, however, everything is in your hands, from storage to maintenance and data security (for both yours’ and your client’s data). In this case, you are in charge of securing your own data. Here, encryption is not equally important as in the case of cloud backup. However, internal attacks are always a possibility so do check your tools before deploying them.
A quick comparison
| Points of |
|Cloud Backup||Local Backup|
|Availability||Upto a level of 99.9% and higher||No such limits exist|
|Third Parties||A necessary evil. Need to trust your provider||None involved|
|Legal Regulations||Where govt. related information is concerned||Totally under admin control|
|Cost||Free subscription. Technical support available||Licence needed for backup software|
|Backup & Recovery Speed||Usually slower; depends on internet connection||Usually faster; depends on LAN|
|Security||Again trust your provider Keep your information to yourself||Safer in comparison unless stolen|
Even though the two approaches again differ in some aspects, they can handle as well as manage data with the same level of accuracy as well as security. Choosing a backup solution further totally depends upon the requirements of the users. likewise, some even opt for local email backup solution.