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Three Types of Business Backups Explained Simple

Reading Time: 5 minutes Full Backups vs. Incremental Backups vs. Differential Backups Losing business data can be catastrophic, which is why it’s imperative to have a tried and tested backup plan in place. There are three main types of backups for small to medium-sized businesses: Full backups. Incremental backups. Differential backups. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so […]
Three Types of Business Backups Explained Simple

18 Oct, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Full Backups vs. Incremental Backups vs. Differential Backups

Losing business data can be catastrophic, which is why it’s imperative to have a tried and tested backup plan in place. There are three main types of backups for small to medium-sized businesses:

  1. Full backups.
  2. Incremental backups.
  3. Differential backups.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs. In this post, we’ll take a look at each type of backup, and its pros and cons.

 

What is a Full Backup?

A full backup is a complete and comprehensive copy of all the data on a given storage device, such as a server. If anything happens to the original data (such as loss or corruption due to ransomware, fire, human error, etc.), the backup can be used to restore absolutely everything. Full backups are usually performed weekly or monthly. 

 

Pros of Full Backups:

  • All data is backed up, so there is no risk of losing anything important.
  • All backup data is contained as a single, most recent version. Hence, simple to restore.
  • Full backups can be used to restore data even if the original data is lost or damaged beyond repair.

 

Cons of Full Backups:

  • Full backups can take a long time to complete, which can tie up your IT staff and computing resources.
  • They use significant storage space, so potentially not feasible for businesses with limited space on their on-premise server or current cloud computing plan.
  • Consumes the most amount of internet bandwidth if backing up to the cloud.

Related:

Backup or Business Continuity? Realising Modern Data Protection

Backup or Business Continuity? Realising Modern Data Protection

 

What is an Incremental Backup?

An incremental backup only includes data that has changed since the last backup. This is irrespective of the last backup being full, incremental, or differential. 

As such, incremental backups are usually done on a daily basis. For greater protection, they can be performed along with full backups done at longer intervals.

 

Pros of Incremental Backups:

    • Incremental backups are fast and easy to complete, and thus interfere the least with regular business and IT operations.
    • They take up less storage space than full backups, so they are more efficient and cost-effective.
    • Uses the least amount of internet bandwidth.

 

Cons of Incremental Backups:

    • If the data that has been backed up is lost or corrupted, you may not be able to recover everything.
    • Incremental backups also require full backups performed regularly, in order to be doubly sure.
    • Recovery is a typically more involved and time-consuming process.

 

What is a Differential Backup?

A differential backup includes all data that has changed since the last full backup only. This is unlike incremental backups where the previous backup type is not a factor in whether or not a backup is run. 

 

Pros of Differential Backups:

    • Differential backups offer more protection than incremental backups, so data loss is less likely.
    • They are faster and easier to complete than full backups, so they won’t interfere with business operations as much.
    • They require less storage and bandwidth than full backups.

 

Cons of Differential Backups:

    • Differential backups can take up significant storage space if not done regularly.
    • If the data that has been backed up is lost or corrupted, you may not be able to recover everything.
    • They require more storage and bandwidth than incremental backups.

 

Which Backup Type Should I Choose for My Business?

It’s an imperative question and not one that can be answered without first taking a closer look at your company’s individual needs. Here are two key questions to ask yourself:

How Much Data is Involved?

Determine how much data your business produces on a daily basis. This data can be in the form of customer and supplier information, accounting and financial records, employee data, general admin, emails, marketing materials, website data, and anything else involved in the operation of the company. 

If you have a lot of data, then a full backup might be best because it will capture everything at once. 

However, if you don’t have too much data or if it changes very frequently, then an incremental or differential backup might be a better option. These only back up data that has changed since the last backup was made – meaning less data to store and quicker recovery times.

 

How Quickly Do I Need to Recover?

Recovery time and business continuity are another important consideration when choosing between full, differential, and incremental backups as they will determine how quickly you will be able to get your systems up and running following a disaster event.

A full backup offers the quickest recovery time as all of your data is stored in one place -meaning you can simply restore from the most recent backup and be up and running in no time.

With differential backups, things are slightly slower as you’ll need to restore both the most recent differential backup and the last full backup – however, it’s still much faster than an incremental backup. This is because, with an incremental backup, you typically have to perform restoration from multiple backups – the most recent incremental backup and all of the incremental backups made since the last full or differential backup.

Related:

What is the Cost of Downtime in Your Small Business? iSite Computers

What is the Cost of Downtime in Your Small Business?

 

Summary

  • Full backups offer the most protection, but they can be time-consuming and use a lot of storage space and computing resources.
  • Incremental backups are fast and efficient, but they don’t offer as much protection.
  • Differential backups offer more protection than incremental backups, but they can take up a lot of storage space if not done regularly.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to business backups. The type of backup you choose should depend on your needs and resources. Sometimes, the best solution is usually a combination of all three types of backups. This way, you can maximize protection while still keeping the process efficient and cost-effective.

 

Take the Next Step with iSite Computers

Selecting the right type of backup for your business isn’t always easy. 

The information above should give you a better idea of what kind of backup options are available, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. It’s important to consult with an IT services provider and have them understand your current infrastructure, data requirements, and business processes before making a final decision.

Why not book a free 30 – 60-minute consultation with iSite Computers? You’ll get expert, personalised advice for your business, with no further obligation. 

Reach out to us on 031 812 9650 or email rd@isite.co.za.

 

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