What is Offsite Data Backup?

Offsite backup is a method of computer data backup involving the use of an offsite location as a means of securing in the event of a disaster. Traditionally, this involved the use of magnetic tapes as well as other removable storage media. Currently, however, disk drives are becoming increasingly popular, as they are oftentimes more convenient.


How Does Offsite Backup Work?

Offsite data backup works by first encrypting the data, then compressing and transmitting it to an offsite security center. This data can then be accessed in the event of an emergency by using either the Internet or another data restore line.

In addition, many offsite backup service providers will offer additional features, including account management, over-the-phone support, central management for multiple data locations, as well as both database and email backup.


Advantages of Offsite Data Backup

There are a number of advantages to storing your data off-site, including:


  • Your data is protected in the event of a disaster
  • Backup operations can be performed automatically - leaving more time for more productive tasks
  • Cross-platofrm technology; in other words, backup can be performed regardless of the which operating system you use
  • Added security of data-encrypted network connections


Disk Versus Tape-Based Data Backup

In the past, backing up data onto magnetic tapes was the standard for computer backup. This was in large part due to the reduced costs associated with tape cartridges as opposed to disk drives, but another important factor was the fact that tapes were portable and could be stored away from the computer. Although this is mostly still the case, things are beginning to change.

For one thing, the cost of disk drives has been significantly reduced, making them much more competitive with tapes. Moreover, they are often faster than tape systems.

So which one to choose? Experts say it comes down to the needs of the individual company or computer user.

When tapes are better:
When deep archiving is needed - such as the retention of important financial documents for tax or other purposes - tapes are generally the way to go. This method of data backup is cheap and can be stored safely offsite.

When disk drives are better:
If the information you need to backup must be accessed quickly in the event of a disaster, disk drives may offer the better solution. Unlike tapes, which store data in a linear fasion (i.e from beginning to end), disk storage acts more like a mirror of your current system.

If you're looking to cost-factors for an incentive, things can be equally ambiguous. For tapes, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $50, in addition to $400 to $1000 per drive. Disk backup generally costs a little less than $200, spending on the size and complexity of your computer data.


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