Cloud backup vs. local backup: Pros and cons, and which to pick

Cloud backup vs. local backup: Pros and cons, and which to pick

Backups are the backbone of business continuity. They not only ensure that your data can be quickly and easily accessed 24/7, but they also enable your organization to resume operations in case of an unforeseen event, such as a natural disaster or a cyberattack.

Because backups are so critical to operations, it’s essential to pick the appropriate backup storage solution for your business needs. Generally, you can choose between two data backup options: cloud backup and local backup. Each one has its own pros and cons, and the best choice will depend on several factors.

To help you determine which one is most suitable for your organization, here’s a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of each cloud backup solution, as well as some things to consider when choosing one.

Cloud backup pros and cons

Cloud backups are stored on off-site servers and can be accessed from anywhere via an internet connection. This makes them a great option for businesses with a multilocational workforce that needs to access data from different geographical points.

And because cloud backups are not physically located in your office or data center, they offer an extra layer of protection against local disasters, such as fires or flooding.

Cloud backup services are also typically more affordable than local backup solutions, as you won’t need to invest in your own storage infrastructure and maintenance. What’s more, cloud services can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate changing storage needs.

These services are highly flexible as well. Cloud backup providers usually offer a variety of features and options at various price tiers, so you can tailor a solution to your specific requirements and budget.

If you decide on cloud backups, however, keep in mind that you can face some risks. For one, storing data in a third party's servers increases the chances of it being compromised. You also share cybersecurity responsibilities with the cloud vendor, adding one more factor that you can’t fully control when it comes to the safety of your data.

Connection issues can also be a problem. If your internet connection is unreliable or down, you won’t be able to access your backups. Cloud backups also tend to consume a lot of bandwidth, which can be an issue if your business has limited internet usage.

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

Local backup pros and cons

Local backups are stored on site, which means you can monitor and manage your data, as well as who has access to it, more closely. And because local backups are physically located in your office, they offer faster recovery times than cloud backups.

In the event of a disaster, you can simply plug your backup drive or restore the data from the server, and your operations will be up and running again in no time. Your access to data is also not reliant on an internet connection, so your backups are always available.

However, local backups have several disadvantages. First, they have higher upfront costs, as they require you to acquire and maintain your own storage devices. They’re also more expensive in the long run, considering you need to hire IT support and staff to manage your infrastructure.

On top of these, local backups are more difficult to scale. It can be challenging to add more storage capacity to a local backup solution, especially if you have limited physical space for additional hardware.

You also risk experiencing data loss in case of a local disaster. If there’s a fire or flood at your office, your local backups could be destroyed along with your other equipment.

Which backup solution should you choose?

Here are the most important things you should consider when choosing a backup solution:

  • Cost – Cloud backups are typically more affordable than local backups, especially if you have a large amount of data to store. If you have limited resources for your data backup strategy, look into cloud services.
  • Scalability – Local backups are less scalable than cloud backups. If you’re expecting your business to grow steadily, then the cloud is the better backup solution for you, as it can easily accommodate spikes in storage needs.
  • Convenience and accessibility – Local backups often require you to be on site to access your data, but it ensures data availability even if you don’t have an internet connection. On the other hand, while cloud backups allow you to access data from anywhere in the world, your data access will depend on whether or not you have internet connectivity.
  • Sensitivity of data – If you are backing up sensitive data, such as financial or health records, a local backup solution may appear to be the more sensible solution. However, make sure that you balance data security with accessibility, or you risk creating business silos.
  • Security – Both cloud and local backups have security risks. Cloud backups do carry a greater risk of data being compromised by hackers because they are stored off site, but note that various regulations are in effect to ensure data security in the cloud. Also, unless your local backup is totally disconnected from the internet, you cannot rule out cybersecurity risks to your local backups.

Weighing the pros and cons of cloud and local backups will help you figure out the most suitable choice for your business. But remember, however, that no single backup solution is perfect. In order to reap the full benefits of backups, you may want to consider a hybrid backup solution, which combines both cloud and local storage.

XBASE Technologies is a leading provider of expert, comprehensive IT in Toronto, and we can help you determine the right backup solution for your organization, whether it’s cloud, local, or hybrid. Drop us a line today.