File syncing is not the same as Backup

19 December 2017

More and more people are embracing ‘The Cloud’ to store their files. This might be Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Amazon Cloud, or any of the other file syncing services out there. File syncing services have a lot of value and are very handy.

However, they are not backup and do not ensure that your data is safe.

File Synching is not the same as Backup

There are a number of people that believe these cloud storage file syncing services are actually backup services. At Risc IT Solutions our Service and Support and our Sales teams spend a large proportion of their days having conversations around the topic of 'file sync and backup'. They explain why companies still use tapes and backup software and why you should ‘backup’ rather than ‘sync’ on Dropbox or similar services.

The simplest explanations we use are - reliability, flexibility, and security.

Why Reliability?

A quick online search of your favourite file sync service will reveal posts talking about lost files and the inability to recover past versions of files (remember Cryptolocker?). File sync services were never meant to be backup solutions; they were meant to sync and collaborate on files. Typically these syncing services do not give you an easy to read, comprehensive log of what was synced and what is available. Unlike file syncing services, professional backup software can handle the backup of your entire machine. It can give you an easy to read report of what can be restored and verify that each file was backed up successfully, and if it wasn’t it will alert to you to the issue.

With backup solutions you are in control of the entire process; you can access your data exactly when you need it without the drawbacks of a file sync and share service. Have you ever tried to contact your file sync service’s support team? What would you do if you needed to access the data but the service was down for maintenance? What if you have login issues? It’s imperative that you’re using a reliable backup service.

Why Flexibility?

These file sync services were designed with a purpose: to sync your files. They are not, however, services that are designed to backup your entire machine. These file syncing services were not designed to restore everything from scratch due to a disaster, a stolen laptop, or a damaged hard drive.

Most file sync services have many restrictions including the number, type, and size of files. A professional backup-focussed solution will not have these problems. Furthermore, you can typically only sync to your service’s cloud storage. With a good backup software you can backup to many types of devices including USB, NAS (Network Attached Storage), tape, and cloud services.

Why Security?

Security is paramount for data safety and exposure. How sure are you that the file sync service you are using isn’t collaborating with whatever government agency is in the news today? Are you certain that a discontented employee doesn’t have access to your data? Does a hacker have full access to all the account information of everyone on your chosen file syncing service?

Cryptolocker and Ransomware have opened people’s eyes as to how important true backups are and how vulnerable simple file syncing services can be. Though most file syncing services now have some sort of version controls in them, there are still a lot of holes. For example, your files could fall outside of the version window and inadvertently get changed by Cryptolocking. Suddenly all you are left with is the option to pay a ransom for your data.  Backing up your data is just one part of protecting your business information. In reality being able to recover and then restore it in seconds in the event of a loss, disaster or ransomware, is the most important aspect – why backup if you can’t use the backed up data when you need it? 

In Summary

File syncing services have value when they’re used for the intended purpose. Don’t believe that file syncing is the same as backup.

We recommend that you backup the files that you are also syncing: your chosen file syncing service can also be backed up using Clunk Click Online Pro from Risc IT Solutions.

Clunk Click Backup Pro

Risc IT's Online Backup and Restore solution Clunk Click Online Pro delivers next generation intelligent data backup and instant data recovery to protect your business.

Backup critical data from workstations and servers, across physical and virtual platforms, to a secure off-site UK datacentre, while giving backup administrators full control of all processes.

  • Data encrypted at source, in transit and at rest in our data centres.
  • Choice of 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES and 448-bit Blowfish encryption.
  • Only you have access to the encryption key.
  • Instant data recovery in the event of a disaster.