Online Vs. Offline Storage – where should you keep your data?

Backup is a task any business should be doing on a daily, if not more frequent basis. There are all kinds of potential disasters that can strike at the very heart of a business and when it does, it can spell disaster for the smallest business to the biggest global corporation.

As a result, just as much care and attention, as well as decent slice of budget, are given over to backup technology. And there are many option which fall in two categories: offline and online.

Offline technology refers to the hardware devices that can be added to or used as part of your computing system such as tape devices on offer from As well as tapes, DVDs and so on, there is a growing number of service providers who offer online backup storage options.


But, what are the differences and which one is right for you?

Offline and online backup refer to the characteristics of storage and backup that you would assume; in other words, anything stored online as part of a technology known as cloud computing, will need to be accessed vis a wi-fi or data connection.

Offline backup storage solutions are anything that does not require wi-fi or data access in order to find stored files and so on such as tapes and DVDs.

Which one to choose?

To be honest, when it comes to data backup, you can never have too many options. You may not need to choose between one and the other as having a backup in case one option fails is always worth considering.

However, if you are not currently backing up or your needs are rapidly changing, you certainly need to start with either online or offline options.

Disasters end businesses

We assume that the worst will never happen. But, there are countless cases of when natural disasters strike, with what can be seen as a natural phenomenon turning into a swirling disaster within minutes.

Take the thunderstorm that we can sometimes be party to in the hotter summer months; the deluge of non-stop rain can quickly turn in to a rampaging flood. As it tears through your workspace, machinery and the like can be replaced but what about data?

Loss of data can lead to the eventual loss of a business. This can be avoided with planning and the right data backup option for your business.

Offline backup options

Anything from DVDs, CDs, tape, Bluray discs, external hard drives, tape drives and so on are just some of the offline options. Offering many pros, they are the favoured option for many:

  • Fast backup and restore, great for when there are gigabytes of information being stored
  • Easily accessible; they can be taken and stored off site (the preferred option) but still remain within reach if needed
  • Safe to an extent – and this depends on who and why they can access stored backup data. The larger amount of people with access to your data, the less safe it is. Worth bearing in mind for many businesses
  • Mobility – offline storage option are option moved around, and with ease too. Tuck your external hard drive in your briefcase at the end of the day, and away your valuable data goes with you.


The pros of online backup storage option

There is a new field of technology opening up that promises to be the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ of storage data but you may want to think otherwise. With online systems, there are many pros too:

  • Data can be encrypted to make is less possible for it to be accessed by unauthorised people; this encryption should be part of your service provision
  • You can access your information from wherever you are, providing you have an internet signal. You may need to download some kind of software but most online provisions can be accessed using a web-based interface
  • The responsibility for protecting the servers and so on from natural disasters rely with the service provider, thus you need to be confident that the online world is safe from natural disasters too
  • You don’t need to be a technical wizard either to operate it but, unless you are really sure of what you are purchasing, it can be difficult to know if you have the right level of provision and so on.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of offline over online data backup is control – when you have the external hard drive in your possession, and so on, it is yours. You have your data in your hands. There have been occasions, probably more than we are told, of servers being under-attack from cyber-attacks and hackers.

If you have heaps of data, getting a fast enough connection over the internet can be present difficulties; if it is slow, backing up data will be slow. And it is this reliance 100% on the wi-fi or internet connection that worries many people about online backup.

Is one better than the other? Hard to day but both have their place. However, data on tape or external hard drives and so forth is just as effective in terms of time and money as online options.