Cloud Backup and Recovery Explained

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Backing up your company data on an off-site cloud server keeps it secure and accessible. Instead of keeping your valuable business information on-site and susceptible to cyberattacks and system failures, having a second copy stored remotely renders it recoverable.

Performing a cloud backup should be a key business process, regardless of the size of your enterprise. In this guide, we’ll explain the concept of cloud backup and recovery in depth. You’ll find out how it works, the different types of backup services available, the benefits, and more.


What is cloud backup?

Cloud backup is the process of sending copies of your data on a remote server. Your primary data will remain onsite, while your backup – or “secondary data” – will be sent to and stored in this remote cloud storage solution.

Cloud recovery is the process of restoring your lost data from the remote server you have stored secondary copies. So, if your primary data is somehow corrupted, it doesn’t mean it’s lost forever. You can simply use the backed-up version of your data as your primary data going forward.

Due to the nature of this process, you may also hear it being referred to as “remote backup” and “online backup”.

As a modern business, having a cloud backup solution in place is crucial. You likely produce a lot of data per day, all of which could be lost through power outages, system failures, and cyberattacks. Having a backup solution in place will mitigate the negative impact of your data being lost, stolen, or compromised.

Businesses of all sizes are constantly at risk of losing data. A recent data survey conducted by Arcserve found that 76% of IT leaders admitted to losing a significant level of critical company data in the last year. So, looking at backup options for your business is a must.

As you explore different backup solutions, you’ll encounter several different types of recovery options. Namely, continuous and scheduled backups.

Continuous data replication vs. scheduled replication

These titles refer to the frequency at which your data is transferred between your own and the remote server.

Continuous data replication backs up your data whenever you change it. If you opt for this option, you don’t have to worry about manually instigating additional backups whenever you change your data. Instead, this solution updates automatically, ensuring your remotely stored data is always up to date.

Scheduled replication, on the other hand, only updates your data on specified dates and times. While this method doesn’t always guarantee that your off-site data is up to date, it does mean that new data is regularly saved and saves you from human error. If you had to do this manually, for example, you may forget to backup data and lose it forever.

Other methods of cloud backup

Besides continuous and scheduled replication, you also have several options in terms of how much data you want to backup. This provides you with greater flexibility and means you can choose how much data you backup and the level of security you buy for your company.

Full backup

 This is the most comprehensive method of backup – it is also the most expensive. As the title implies, it involves backing up all your data. This means that a large amount of storage space is required – especially if you opt for continuous replication.

A full backup differs from a differential and incremental backup, where only small amounts of data get sent to the offsite cloud server, as opposed to all of your data.

Constantly carrying out full backups can be expensive for businesses, so this method is performed less frequently than others.

Differential backup

Differential backups only backup new data that has been made since your initial full backup. This saves time and money, as it means you don’t have to continuously back up everything. Plus, a differential backup is more storage efficient, as data that hasn’t been altered in the meantime isn’t transferred over.

Incremental backup

Incremental backups are the most cost-effective and common type of remote storage transfer. It saves data by increment, meaning only a small amount of data gets added each time. Only new data since the last incremental backup will be added.

The downside of both incremental and differential backups is that they are time-consuming in terms of data restoration.  Full backups come as complete datasets, meaning they can be recovered instantly. Incremental and differential, on the other hand, don’t create complete data sets, so take longer to put together.

How often are cloud backups performed?

If your company produces a significant amount of unique data daily, you should be backing up your cloud once every 24 hours. In terms of incremental and differential backups, a good time frame to stick to would be once every 6 hours.

However, the number of cloud backups that you perform should be based on the amount of unique data your enterprise produces as well as the amount of storage space you can afford.

How is cloud backup charged?

The backup service provider will charge you a recurring fee for using the service. You may be offered a fixed monthly or annual cost, depending on the service provider.

Several factors determine the cost of the service. This includes the number of devices being backed up, data transmission bandwidth, storage space requirements, user count, or the number of times you retrieve your data.


The difference between cloud backup and cloud storage

Backup and storage are two types of cloud-based managed storage solutions. For this reason, these terms are often used interchangeably. However, they differ significantly in terms of purpose.

As we’ve already highlighted in this article, cloud backup is all about storing data copies externally. Once these data copies have been sent to the storage solution, you won’t use them again unless you need to restore your primary data. In this sense, these copies should be considered as secondary data.

Cloud storage, on the other hand, is a primary data storage space. You regularly retrieve, share, and work with the documents stored here. In other words, this data is used to perform your basic business functions – not your data recovery.

Cloud storage is useful as it frees up server space and makes your vital data easily accessible for whenever you need it.

The benefits of cloud backup

Don’t risk losing the information you store in your cloud storage – be sure to back it up regularly. By doing so, you’ll benefit from the following:


A premium backup provider will keep your data confidential and secure. As it passes over the public internet, your data will be encrypted and kept hidden from hackers.

Once your copied dataset reaches the data centre, it will be subject to further encryption and, in some cases, integrity checks. These checks will flag instances of data corruption and ensure that the data that goes into the storage solution is the same as the data that comes out.


Not only is your data always available in the event of an emergency, but it’s also available from any device. This storage solution is cloud-based, meaning you’ll be able to restore data from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone – as long as you’re connected to the internet. This is particularly helpful if the devices your business normally use have crashed and you need to access files.


Cloud storage solutions are designed to give you maximum scalability. Cloud backup space is technically infinite, so you can add as much or as little data as you need. If your company experiences exponential growth, your cloud storage solution will be able to cater to your increasing data volume.


On the other hand, if your company operations reduce in scale, you can remove redundant data and reduce the size of your backup storage space. So, not only scalable but these solutions can also be made flexible to your changing business needs.

How YourShortlist can help

Uploading your business data to the cloud is not good enough – you need a data backup strategy in place to safeguard it from cyberattacks, device failures, human errors, and so on.

However, with so many providers out there, how do you choose the right offsite solution for your business?

YourShortlist can help.

We can generate a shortlist of not only the best and most trusted cloud backup storage solutions, but the most befitting for your unique business requirements.

Get in touch today so we can get to work on your free, no-obligation, and bespoke shortlist of backup providers.