Oct 5, 2011

Backup Is Not Your Archive, Clear Differences.

The impact of data loss can be devastating as anyone who has ever lost important information can tell you.  At Codero, we advise our customers to be diligent about backing up and archiving your data.  This is the first in a series of blogs addressing backups and archives with advice we hope you find valuable.

There is often confusion between data backups and data archives. But each has its own distinct purpose.

–          Backups are created for the short-term, tactical retention of data. Backup is a copy of data that can be used to restore the original should it be lost or damaged. Think of it as a safeguard for data that is being used, but backups are not tamper-proof.

–          Archives are designed for the long-term, strategic retention of information. An archive can be a single or a collection of records specifically chosen for long-term retention and future reference. This data is normally no longer actively used but is intended to retain a complete set of business records. Archives are created as well in order to help organizations in migrating from one platform to another. Archives are tamper-proof.

The difference between the two is that a backup is a copy for disaster recovery while an archive is the original that was removed from its initial location and then is housed elsewhere for long-term retention.

Both are essential.

The need for both is crucial.  Backup is a critical best practice because things can go wrong. Patches do not work as they are supposed to; upgrades can fail, hard drives can and do crash; and malware can destroy data. Everything needs to be backed up including email servers, file servers, desktops, and more. Regular backups are essential to restore servers and other platforms to a known good state.

Archiving is also necessary. Business records need to be preserved … regulators and courts demand them. Even your own corporate policy probably requires retention of records. It is necessary to preserve corporate records to satisfy regulatory, legal and other obligations.


Both backing up content and archiving are critical best practices. There simply is no substituting one for the other. Once you have a clear picture of the distinguishing characteristics between backup and archiving, you should be better equipped to choose the right storage solution for your needs.

Look for the next blog in this series which will cover the benefits and challenges with Email Archiving.

And remember, your comments are most welcome. Tell us about your experiences with backing up and archiving.


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