TECH Guide - File Synchronisation Versus Online Backup

TECH Guide - File Synchronisation Versus Online Backup

File Synchronisation Versus Online Backup

What is File Synchronisation?

File Synchronisation is the process of making sure that two or more locations contain the same up-to-date files. If you add, change, or delete a file from one location, the synchronisation process will add, change, or delete the same file at the other location. Data synchronisation can be:

Local synchronisation - the device and computer are side-by-side and data is transferred,
Remote synchronisation - a user is mobile and the data is synchronised over a mobile network.

Can File Synchronisation Be Used As A Backup Procedure?

File synchronisation can also be used for backup purposes; however this is NOT a good idea. Online backup is designed to automate your backup procedure and to ensure the integrity of data that is stored offsite, as opposed to synchronising data between two locations. The problem therefore with using synchronisation as a backup strategy is that any problems with the core data are duplicated in the replica: corrupt or delete a file and this is corrupted or deleted from both locations. With dedicated backup, historical versions can be recovered, avoiding this trap. Cloud Direct’s software allows data to be validated between your original copies and your backed up versions.

A summary is provided below:

Online backup

  • Cloud Direct’s backup software will flag issues as part of the backup process and therefore increase the reliability of your offsite data.
  • Online Backup allows you to easily retrieve older versions of files, as it automatically stores past versions for up to 7 years.
  • Online Backup is secure as all of the data that we backup is encrypted.
  • Online Backup, backs-up on a daily or live basis, and only backs up the changes made to files since the last backup. Therefore it is quick and efficient.

File synchronisation

  • Synchronisation will create a duplicate copy of errors, corruption, deletions etc.
  • Synchronisation only stores a copy of the files in their current state; unless you copy them manually each day, which would be heavily time consuming.
  • Typically, there are security issues with file synchronisation, as it is not encrypted whilst transferred.
  • Synchronisation can compare the differences between the two locations and synchronise only the file differences, rather than re-copying the entire file. However, this requires a software agent and a server, which is costly.

Encryption and Security

Online backup usually incorporates encryption technologies, given that data is transferred over the internet. Replication does not usually consider encryption, given its origins in local (LAN) deployments.

Unlike online backup, file synchronisation does not complete the whole picture. It certainly helps as part of a disaster protection policy, but only forms a small part of the process. Synchronisation does not produce archiving; therefore does not help with the compliance legalities that many businesses have to follow.

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