File Syncing is Not the Same as Backup

An increasing number of people are embracing ‘The Cloud’ to store their files, whether this is Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, or any of the other file syncing services out there. File syncing services can be very useful. However, it is a common misconception that these services are a form of backup. We use a simple explanation to describe the difference between file syncing and backup – Reliability, Flexibility, and Security.

Why Reliability?

A quick online search of your favourite file sync service will reveal posts talking about lost files and the inability to recover previous versions of files (ransomware often necessitates the need for previous versions).

File sync services were never meant to be backup solutions; they were meant to sync and collaborate on files. They typically sync on the write of a new file, which is great when you are talking about a few files at a time and not your entire machine. Typically, these syncing services do not give you an easy to read, comprehensible log of what was synced and what is available.

Software that is specifically written for backup can handle the back up of your entire machine, unlike file syncing services. Backup software will provide an easy to read report of what is restorable and verify that each file was backed up successfully and if not, alert you to the issue.

Reliability also means access to your data when you need it. With a file sync service, you do not have any say on when the service you chose goes down for maintenance, has login issues, locks your account because of an accounting error, your internet goes down, or any other number of things. With a good backup solution, you should not be effected by these situations.

Why Flexibility?

File sync services were designed with a purpose, typically file syncing and collaboration. These services were not meant to backup or restore your entire machine from the ground up. Nor can they recover your entire machine from a disaster, where for example, your server hardware has failed or your laptop is stolen or destroyed.

With file sync, typically file synchronisation is just between your device and the cloud. In contrast, a solution designed from the ground up to be backup-focused will not have these limitations. Our backup service can backup to multiple types of devices such as USB, NAS, tape, cloud services and others.

Why Security?

Security is paramount in regards to data safety and exposure. How sure are you that the file syncing service you are using isn’t collaborating with whatever government agency is in the news today, that a disgruntled employee doesn’t have access to your data, or that a hacker hasn’t gained access to all of the account information of everyone on that file syncing service?

Cryptolocker and other ransomware have opened a lot of people’s eyes as to how important true backups are, and how vulnerable simple file syncing services can be. Though most file syncing services now have some sort of version controls in them, there are still a lot of holes. For example, your files could fall outside of the version window and inadvertently get changed by Cryptolocking and suddenly you have lost all your important files.

Backing up your data is just one part of protecting your business information. Being able to recover and then restore it in seconds, in the event of a loss, disaster or ransomware, can be anything from convenient to life saving.

In Summary – Backup or Sync?

File syncing services are certainly useful for many people when used for the purpose intended but cannot be considered as backup.

Good advice is to backup your files that you are syncing with these file syncing services. Your Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, etc. folders can all be backed up using DataSafe from Vantage IT Solutions.

Many of our customers are enjoying the benefits of our secure and reliable service already. To request a quotation to backup your PC or Server, please contact Vantage IT today!