February 11, 2020

Local Backup Vs. Offline Backup

By Chris Brunau

Multiple forms of backup are essential to disaster recovery and business continuity. In addition to other methods of data preservation, local backups and offline backups are two important components of an enterprise backup and recovery management plan.

As with any form of backup, local and offline backup methods come with pros and cons, and they should only be one piece of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. This article will define how local backups and offline backups are used to prevent data loss and alternative methods to consider.

What is an Offline Backup?

An offline backup, also known as a cold backup, occurs while a database is offline.

Because this method of backup requires that the database is disconnected from its network, a major drawback is users cannot access it during the backup process. The required downtime means an offline backup is not feasible for a system that needs to be up at all times.

On the other hand, a benefit to this backup method is data consistency: the data cannot be modified or changed while it is in the process of being backed up because users cannot access the system at the time the backup is occurring.

vbIn comparison, a hot backup occurs while the database is still running. The advantage of this method is that users are still able to access the system during the backup. The risk that comes with a hot backup is that the data may be modified during the process, resulting in inconsistent data.

The risk of data manipulation is why offline backups are often deemed as a safer method of the two.

What is a Local Backup?

A local backup is a backup on disks, tape, or other physical media that are housed on-site or nearby the source. Because they are stored locally, they feature faster backup and restore times and enable organizations to have greater control over who has access to the data. A major disadvantage to local backup is also one of its conveniences: its proximity to its source. Because these backups are at the same physical location as their source, they are vulnerable to many of the same threats the source is exposed to, such as fires, flood and other natural disasters.

In comparison, a cloud backup is an online backup that is stored in a remote location. Unlike local backups, cloud backups are managed by a third party. The use of a cloud backup service tends to be more easily scalable than local backup, is accessible from anywhere. And, because it is offsite, your data won’t be impacted by an on-site disaster. A disadvantage is cloud backup will be slower than a local backup, and there are security concerns with the use of public or private clouds given your data is in the hands of a third party.

No matter what methods your enterprise ultimately decides to use to backup its data, every successful disaster recovery plan needs to include multiple forms of backup. Of the options, local backup and offline backup are two essential avenues your company should consider to ensure its data is protected.

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