Do you know the types of data backup your business needs?

Do you know the types of data backup your business needs?


Before you proceed…

If your business runs on data, you must have a backup and disaster recovery strategy. Start by reading our eBook, then read the article below.

Data backups mitigate the risks that cyberattacks, natural disasters, and technical failures present. However, not all data is created equal. Some of it must have greater protection due to privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR), industry requirements (e.g., PCI DSS), and needs for secrecy (e.g., protecting proprietary information from competitors). Other types of data need to be archived, while others can be deleted after their usefulness has lapsed. And then there are other types of data that need constant refreshing, such as transaction information and parcel tracking data.

Since there are many types of data, there are also different types of backups to suit the particular needs of your business. Here’s a quick guide to help you build your backup strategy.

Full backup

In this type of backup, all the files and folders you select will be copied, and the clone will be stored in another location — be it a different drive in the same machine or in a server in an offsite datacenter.

Use full backups for:

  • Creating the initial restore point, when no backups have been performed before
  • Overwriting old backups to completely refresh your data
Pro Con
Duration of backup process Compared to other backup types, a full backup replicates the most data and therefore takes the longest to complete.
Consumption of storage space A full backup takes the most storage space.
Ease of data restoration Because the backup is stored in just one location, retrieving it to restore lost data is the quickest and easiest.
Data integrity This produces an exact replica of the source data.

Incremental backup

Unlike full backups, an incremental backup only covers the changes to data (referred to as delta, meaning “change”) since the last backup was done. A full backup is done first, followed by an incremental backup to save the changes made to the data since the full backup. Afterward, each subsequent incremental backup will then save the changes made since the incremental backup that came before it.

For instance, if a full backup is done every Sunday, and an incremental backup every day other than Sunday, Monday’s backup will cover the changes made to the data between Sunday and Monday. Tuesday’s backup will cover the period between Monday and Tuesday, and so on. In terms of relative size, the increments are the smallest among all data backup types.

Use incremental backups for:

  • Frequent tracking of data, such as in a retail store that processes multiple sales transactions every business hour
Pro Con
Duration of backup process Only changes are saved and not the entire data set, so replication finishes faster.
Consumption of storage space Incremental backups take up less storage space than full backups.
Ease of data restoration Recovering data is slower because the delta has to be weaved into older backups.
Data integrity Increments are prone to corruption, leaving pieces that can’t be recovered at time of data restoration.

Do you need help with your IT needs?

Don’t just settle for average IT support. You want a responsive team that you can trust. Find out more by scheduling a call with us or getting a free quote down below.

Get Your Free Consultation

Differential backup

The first time a differential backup is performed, it is no different from an incremental backup. However, the next time the former is performed, it’s point of reference will always be the most recent full backup.

To illustrate, if a full backup is done every Sunday and a differential backup is performed every day other than Sunday, Monday’s backup will only contain changes made between Sunday and Monday. Tuesday’s backup will cover the time between Sunday till Tuesday, and so on.

In short, the scope of the backup grows larger through time until another full backup is performed. Differential backups consume much more storage space but tend to have better data integrity than incremental backups.

The pros and cons of both incremental and differential backups make them complement each other very well. During every business hour, you can use incremental backups. Their small size means that they won’t disrupt productivity, and if something happens to your system, you’ll be able to restore the previous hour’s data immediately. Then, at the end of every day during off-peak hours, you can perform differential backups so you can have high-integrity data at the daily level.

Use differential backups for:

  • Tracking data over periods that are longer than those of incremental backups
  • Augmenting the data integrity of incremental backups
Pro Con
Ease of data restoration Restoring data from differential backups takes less time than from incremental backups.
Data integrity Data integrity is maintained, thanks to having only one point of reference for the delta.
Duration of backup process Differential backups are done much faster than full backups... ...but take longer than incremental backups.
Consumption of storage space Differential backups take less space than full backups... ...but more space than incremental backups.

As you can see, different backup types are actually best used in tandem with one another, and that IT decisions regarding these aren't likely to be about choosing just one backup type over another. Rather, decisions will be more about choosing the timing and frequency of each type of backup, given your specific needs, storage capacity, and other technical considerations.

For Exponentially Better™ backup strategies that work for your business, consult our experts at XBASE today

Like This Article?

Sign up below and once a month we'll send you a roundup of our most popular posts