Getting to the bottom of the difference between: Sync, Backup and Storage
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Getting to the bottom of the difference between: Sync, Backup and Storage

The primary difference between sync, backup, and storage is in the purpose. Cloud backup saves a copy of data on remote storage to protect it from undesired events, at the same time cloud storage is designed for getting access to data from anywhere. Cloud sync lets multiple users work with data remotely using any number of devices and synchronize changes across all the users involved. Meanwhile, such services as Google Drive and Dropbox combine storage and sync features, offer data storage, unlimited access and collaboration within a single service.

  • Cloud storage is an offsite data store, which keeps data in a remote data center and provides access via the internet. Although it’s a part of backup and sync, it’s a concept of a different order
  • Cloud backup is a solution that automates and facilitates data transfer to cloud storage according to a set of custom configurations
  • Cloud synchronization helps to share files with other users and synchronize data across multiple devices

Cloud Storage 

To simplify, cloud storage is a virtual drive in a remote location, which is not attached to a certain physical computer or system. A common way of getting access to such storage is a special application or a web browser.

A storage service can provide access to files and folders like a local network share or a physically connected device. There are even applications that allow attaching a cloud storage account to a computer and getting access to it as a local drive. In the cloud, you can store as much data as you need, since the provider’s storage boundaries are nearly unlimited, and most cloud service providers charge only for the space you use.

The cloud is quite a safe storage option, as data is usually replicated among several arrays so it is available even if any part of the data center is down. Leading cloud providers like AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Microsoft Azure even allow copying data across several regions worldwide. Consequently, it remains safe even in the case of massive continent-wide disasters.

Cloud Sync

Cloud sync keeps the same set of files and folders on client devices and cloud storage. One-way sync uploads files to the cloud as they’re modified and users can download them manually. When altered files are uploaded, all clients download them automatically. Sync services focus on collaboration. Therefore, they have a lower data volume cap and a limited request rate. Nevertheless, cloud sync is a great tool for proper tasks. Some services allow editing the same document by multiple users simultaneously, making it handy for collaboration. Cloud sync allows users to edit data using any device, whether it is their local disk or smartphone internal storage. Then the changes they made are automatically transferred to the original file you shared, thus making its state the same across a number of locations.

Cloud Backup

If an application uses a set of some rules and policies to automatically send a copy of data to cloud storage, it is called cloud backup. The application and the data store can represent independent parts or a single complete solution.

Good cloud backup services should be doing the following:

  • Schedule regular data backups
  • Select individual files and folders to back up, or make a full system image with the ability to exclude certain files and folders
  • Encrypt data with a user password before uploading to the cloud
  • Set a number of file versions to keep the retention period
  • Track files for changes on the block level and upload only increments
  • Compress and de-duplicate data to save on storage expenses

Besides automation of routine backup tasks, a complete cloud backup application comes with restore, and if targeting businesses in particular – disaster recovery options.

The backup of photos, movies, videos, and the rest of the data on a user’s computer is where cloud backup providers come in. They automatically back up user data with little or no setup, and no need for the dragging-and-dropping of files.