Cloud or Tape? Choosing a Data Protection Solution for Your Business

A lot of time is can be spent debating tape backup versus cloud backup. The truth is, each of these data protection solutions offer distinct benefits and disadvantages. It’s important to keep in mind that no two businesses are alike, so what may work for one may not be effective for the other. Here we compare tape backup and cloud backup so you can choose the right data protection strategy for your organization.

Tape Backup

Tape backup has been a reliable option for over 60 years and is still widely used as part of offline data protection strategies. Over time, the cost and capacity of backup tapes has steadily increased; 1.5 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity can be purchased for around $30. Some modern-day backup tapes can even store upwards of 10 TB of data! You’d be hard pressed to find a more cost effective way to archive and protect a large amount of information.

Besides storage capacity, tape backup offers a reliable medium for storing data and moving it offsite. This is can be especially important in a disaster situation where internet and communication services are unavailable. Data recovery is fast, efficient and not bandwidth-dependent.

Tape backup does have a few minor drawbacks. Hardware and software malfunctions can impact the ability to read, write and protect data. This is especially problematic for smaller organizations with a limited IT budget and resources. Also, backup tapes must be stored in a strictly regulated and monitored environment. Even small temperature and humidity fluctuations can compromise the data written on tapes. Fortunately, if professionally protected in a media vault environment, backup tapes can be safely preserved for several decades.

Cloud Backup

Cloud backup involves sending backup data over the internet to an offsite server. Since no backup software or hardware is needed, even the smallest businesses can protect their data affordably. Most cloud backup service providers automate the backup process for a “set and forget” data protection solution. As long as there’s internet access, backup files are easily accessible. The right cloud backup provider will even offer value added disaster recovery and business continuity services including:

  • HIPAA, SOX, FINRA legal compliance
  • Enhanced data encryption
  • Bare metal restore capabilities

The primary disadvantage of cloud backup is that if you don’t choose a reliable and trusted provider, you may be putting your data at risk. So it’s important to assess the reputation, capacity and financial standing of your cloud backup provider.

Both tape and cloud backup are effective data protection strategies. Consult with your local data protection partner when deciding which to use for your business; they will assess your specific backup and recovery requirements and implement a solution tailored to your needs.

Richards & Richards provides data protection solutions for businesses throughout Nashville. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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