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Online vs Offline Data Backup: Part 1

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/21/2010

The importance of establishing a scheduled backup routine goes without saying. Now consider the importance of the backup destination and the method it takes to get there. Is an online backup better than an offline backup? Is one more secure than the other? That is the focus of this 3-part series.

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    A Look at Online Data Backup

    Data backup is essential to the survival of a business. Take my word for it. Really, click HERE and take my word for it. There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of data backup options to choose from when you consider the available hardware, software, and backup methods in existence today. However, there are really only two options regarding the final destination of your backups: online or offline. The focus of this article will be on the online data backup method; the offline data backup method will be covered in the next article. But for the purposes of "clarification by contrast," I'll give a brief description of both.

    What is Online Data Backup?

    First off, online data backup is just as the name implies. Data is backed up over a networked connection (most likely using the TCP/IP standard protocol of the internet) to a remote location (ideally). An offline data backup most often refers to data that is backed up on-site, rather than to a remote location as mentioned above. The offline method will require some type of on-site hardware and media such as digital tape drives or CD/DVD burners. There are benefits (and drawbacks) to both methods which will be covered in Part 3. First let's take a look at the online backup method in greater detail.

    How to Do It

    When considering an online backup method, there are a couple of ways to approach the process. You could set up your own off-site (remote) backup location using a secondary office. This would require networked PCs or a server(s) to be installed and configured at the backup site along with appropriate data encryption software that would be used to secure data before transmission to the backup site. There are many third-party applications available that can do this. Another popular option would be to use an online data backup service. This is a great low-maintenance approach because the service does most of the work for you. Make sure you select a service that uses quality backup hardware and encryption routines such as SoSure, an online data backup service I recently reviewed.

    If you aren't comfortable with the online method, the offline method is your other option. This method will give you a greater span of control and you may give you more of a "warm fuzzy" feeling as the data is not transmitted across public internet pathways. Check out Part 2 for a more detailed look into the offline data backup method.

Offline vs Online Backup

The importance of establishing a scheduled backup routine goes without saying. Now consider the importance of the backup destination and the method it takes to get there. Is an online backup better than an offline backup? Is one more secure than the other? That is the focus of this 3-part series.
  1. Online vs Offline Data Backup: Part 1
  2. Online vs Offline Data Backup: Part 2
  3. Online vs Offline Data Backup: Part 3