Backup Basics

Computer Backup

Backups are one of the most critical components of any IT infrastructure. It’s important for any organization to back up data so their files, folders, emails and much more can be restored after accidental deletion or critical failure.

Basics of backups

What are the different types of backups?

Full backup

As the name implies, a full backup is when every single file and folder in the system is backed up.

Pros: Restoring lost data from a backup is fastest when using this type

Cons: A full backup takes longer and more space is required

Incremental backup

With incremental backup, only the first backup is a complete archive of the data. Any backups afterward only store changes that were made since the previous backup.

Pros: The backup process is much quicker, as it only includes new data

Cons: It takes longer to restore lost data

Differential backup

Differential backup is similar to incremental backup. With both, the initial backup is full and subsequent backups only store changes made to files since the last backup.

Pros: Faster restore times than incremental

Cons: Requires more storage space than incremental

Pros and cons of cloud vs. on-premise backup


Pros: Reduce maintenance on a physical server, eliminates capital expenses, incrementally adjusts to your budget, performs regular data backups

Cons: Internet determines user experience, costs are typically determined by usage and can increase over time, access is based on internet connection consistency


Pros: Operates without the internet, lower internet costs, provides hardware security and control

Cons: Requires extra IT support, increases maintenance costs, requires greater capital investment, significantly increases risk of data loss, limits dynamic scalability

What is backup retention?

Backup retention, also known as data retention, is a set of policies about which data, where and how long should they be archived. Good backup retention policies help prevent hardware failures and human errors, allowing you to restore previous versions of the backed-up files.

Typically, management works with a legal team to create these policies within an organization, as certain industries have regulations pertaining to data archiving.

Backups essential to disaster recovery plan

Disaster Recovery (DR)

A strategic security planning model that seeks to protect an enterprise from the effects of natural or human-induced disaster, such as a tornado or cyber-attack. A DR plan aims to maintain critical functions before, during and after a disaster event, thereby causing minimal disruption to business continuity.


The copying of data into a secondary form (i.e. archive file) that can be used to restore the original file in case of a disaster or hardware failure. A backup is merely a portion of a full disaster recovery plan. And every company must have a disaster recovery plan. Many organizations figure this out too late.

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