The current age of the internet and technology is all about data. As famously quoted, data is quickly becoming the new currency. Huge companies like Google and Facebook can provide their services to customers for “free” because they earn data from users like you. Many companies use techniques and products to protect data from getting damaged. Here is everything you need to know about the difference between data backup and disaster recovery:
Why do you need disaster recovery or data backup?
Just like anything tangible, data is also susceptible to damage. Data is nothing more than 0s and 1s that is stored on various flip flops and other data elements in computer systems. These little electronics are not perfect and can get damaged over time. A little damage or mishap can cause a huge loss of data.
For this reason, companies and individuals both employ techniques like disaster recovery or data backup.
What is disaster recovery?
Disaster recovery refers to recovering from a major incident that takes down a server for a period of time. This is a step that is taken after something unholy has happened, and you need to take as many steps as necessary to ensure that the damage dealt is kept to a bare minimum. Just like in real life, disaster recovery is providing relief after the damage is done and can only recover so much data. There are dedicated applications available to help recover data.
How does disaster recovery software work?
The data that is stored on a Hard Disk on a Solid-State Disk is not technically deleted when your Hard Disk or SSD is formatted. Data is stored in locations throughout these storage devices. When you quick-format a drive, you are essentially removing the information on the location of these files. You are not deleting the files themselves. Thus, a disaster recovery software can help recover such data from storage devices.
What is data backup?
Data backup is a popular technique that is recommended to anyone who has to deal with data. By performing data backup on a different storage device or the cloud, we can essentially re-copy or re-download it in case we need it afterwards. Backing up regularly is extremely useful and all major technology-related companies continuously backup their important data.
With the advent of popular cloud services like OneDrive, Google Drive and MEGA, anyone can easily back up their data on the cloud so they can access it anywhere, at any time, on any device.
Differences between data backup and disaster recovery
Here is a small list of the differences between the two techniques that people use to protect their data from any sort of damage:
How is their working method different from each other?
Disaster recovery software works by forcibly probing all the possible locations of the storage elements, to find what data can be recovered. The chances of recovering lost data are not 100%, but with the help of recent strides in software development, they are not very low either.
Data backup works by uploading or copying the data to another storage space. The concept is that data can only be lost if it is constantly being used. By keeping data in another storage space that is not used for any other purpose, data should be safer for longer. In case of data loss, it can be recovered by downloading or re-copying the backed-up data from the server or the storage device respectively.
Conditions where they can be used
Disaster recovery can only work after data has been lost through formatting. Disaster recovery is deemed as a last resort by many. In cases where one forgets to back up data or has lost very recent data that is not backed up, disaster recovery tools prove to be very useful.
Data backup is like preparing in case of a problem. Because data can be volatile, you never know when you will lose it. Though data backup can be a strenuous and effort-taking activity, modern applications can automatically backup user’s data to the cloud or an external storage device according to the user’s commands.
The pricing is not as simple as buying a product and using it. Because data is technically worth the same as real-world money nowadays, the price of both disaster recovery software and data backup applications is very different.
A disaster recovery software is very expensive in the sense that the chances to recover one’s lost data are not 100%. Most of the working disaster recovery software is also locked behind a pay-wall, which only adds to the price. For a business that runs entirely on data, it can prove to be very expensive, even lethal, to have to rely only on disaster recovery products to try to recover lost or corrupted data.
Data backup may seem like the more expensive option from the get-go, mainly because of the prices of getting an external storage device, or cloud services. However, backing up is cheaper and more reliable. There are entire books written on how to backup data efficiently.
Potential for recovery of data
We have been mentioning it before too, but this deserves to have its heading: the potential for recovery of lost data between data backup and using disaster recovery software is pretty visible. In the case of disaster recovery software, data can only be recovered if only the ‘pointer’ or location of the file has been deleted, and not the file itself. Data corruption is harder to fix through disaster recovery software.
In the case of backed up data, the potential for recovering lost data is 100%, however, only data that was backed up can be recovered. For example, if you manually backed up a folder named ‘John’ with 10 files on 22nd of August, and then added 3 files on 23rd of August but forgot to back these new files up, you will only be able to recover those 10 files.
The newer advanced backing up applications can easily help your backup important files and can even automate this process, so you don’t have to worry about losing data through backing up.
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We hope that this small article on the difference between disaster recovery and data backup was able to understand what scenarios fit either techniques the best. You can also combine both of these techniques: backup your data, but only use disaster recovery software in case your backed-up data is not viable enough. Do you have questions that you need answered? Do you need help implement these strategies in your own business? Please feel free to contact us today and we can give you a free assessment of your company’s IT needs.