Online or Cloud Storage…WHY the Debate?

Online or Cloud Storage…WHY the Debate?

There has been an ongoing “war” of pros and cons as to which is the better solution…cloud storage or online backup.

More often than not with the impressive list of pro’s in column 1 and the cons in column 2 showing a side by side comparison, you will see an “edge” toward one or the other.

I simply disagree.

Where does email come from? Where is it stored? Where is it before we get it? Where does it go after I send it? It’s in the “cloud”. Already a worn out phrase with all of the cloud this and cloud that, how did we make it before the cloud? Good question. So point being why would cloud storage be better than online backup?

A bit of history: The internet was first publically available August 6, 1991; Delphi was the first national commercial online service to offer internet access to subscribers and opened up a email connection July 1992; First online backup offered by Quantum Tech 1987 (still offered today – company name changed)…where was the cloud?

I must agree with people who have been in the industry almost since the beginning that the answer is: neither is “better” than the other. Each has a place and should be utilized accordingly. Understanding the differences will help keep you from making a very big mistake and lose the one thing you were trying to protect…your data.

Cloud Storage: Since the 1990 dot com boom many companies such as DropBox, Google Drive and others have offered synchronizing files on your devices with an account on their servers, the “cloud”… (sounds like how your email is handled doesn’t it).This is designed for sharing your files with others on multiple devices for anywhere/anytime access for work and collaboration or just play.

  • Cloud storage is usually very easy to setup, cheap, ubiquitous and convenient for sharing small stand-alone files that require no security compliance.
  • Most Cloud Storage companies don’t encrypt your files for security and they don’t keep multiple versions for redundancy and backup. It’s easy to overwrite your only copy of a good file with a corrupted or virus laden file. They don’t compress your files to save storage space. None of them can store enterprise databases like Exchange, SQL server, Active Directory and SharePoint. Most of them will croak if you try to sync a file that is open and in use. None of them have special agents that can properly sync Outlook, QuickBooks and other database applications. None of them can sync the Windows Registry or System State. Most are not fully compliant with privacy and security regulations like HIPPA and PCI. Nobody recommends public Cloud Storage for mission critical, secure business data. It simply will not back up some data.

Online Backup: Companies like RBackup can compress and encrypt any kind of data including enterprise databases and can store them granularly in secure storage with redundant copies. This is true “backup” and not just Cloud Storage.

  • Data is encrypted for security. Multiple copies are kept so “point-in-time” restores can be done. File versions can be rolled back to previous versions to a point in time before a file corruption happened. Files are never over-written. Online Backup has built-in agents to properly backup and restore databases and enterprise data like Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory and others. It backs up files that are open and in use. It is compliant with security and privacy regulations. It can be used with mission critical data.
  • Because files and data are encrypted for regulatory compliance they cannot be easily shared or synced across devices.

So far no company has released a commercially successful hybrid of file sharing and online backup. I believe (inside info here) it is definitely being worked on by several companies. You may start to see that in a fairly reasonable time frame.

It may be better to use both – Cloud Storage and Online Backup.