It’s All In The Cloud So I’m Good, Right?
You’ve probably heard this unappealing answer from me before but, it really depends. Let’s start with a few definitions for what these words mean when we are talking about your files and software:
- Sync: This term came in to popular use when cloud data storage became cheap enough to use. What happens with sync services is that every time you save a document on your computer, a copy gets saved in the cloud. That means if you create a new document, you have two copies, one on your computer, and one in the cloud. That can also mean if you delete a document, it gets deleted in two places. We’ll come back to that important point later.
- Backup: Backups are a snapshot of some portion of the files and programs stored on your computer at a specific point in time. Usually this is done by a piece of software that will create a backup daily, which allows you to go back and retrieve a file if it disappears from your system for some reason (it happens). If you make a backup of an entire hard drive you’ve done a special type of backup called an “image”.
- Restore: Restore is the process of retrieving information from a backup. Let’s say you leave work on Tuesday and come back on Wednesday to find that the office suite above you flooded and your computer is underneath a waterfall (it happens). In this particular scenario, either a backup or a sync will help you get your documents back, but a backup will be much faster and if you have a full image of your hard disk you may not even need to reload all of your software.
The place where Syncs can fail you is if you delete a file you did not mean to. Since deleting a synced file also deletes the file from the cloud, it may be gone for good once deleted. Making sure you have the right setup to ensure that your data is protected is not that hard, but it is important.