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To Back Up or to Sync?

To Back Up or to Sync?

By RossBackup (560 words) | Posted in Data Backup Tips on June 13, 2014

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Did you know that every minute on the Internet, more than 640 terabytes of data are transferred across the world? Advances in technology over the last several years have made this continuous flow of information not just possible but almost expected. Today, the demand for cloud-based storage services is at such an all-time high that many people and businesses are beginning to “back up” their personal and professional files as a preventative measure.

However, what does “backing up” your files actually mean, and how is it different from “syncing”? Although the terms “backing up” and “syncing” are frequently interchanged, there are some important distinctions between the two, which can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your data from any potential damage or loss.

What is “syncing”?

At the most basic level, synchronizing – or syncing – a file is simply a mirroring effect. When you sync a file, you are essentially maintaining an identical, up-to-date version of the same file in two or more locations. If a change is made to your original file in one location, the changes will automatically be applied to the duplicate copies.

For example, if you allow your smart phone to sync with your computer, then the data on your phone will be copied onto your computer. This means that when you go on your computer, you will be able to see the photos, contacts, and calendar from your phone, and vice versa. The syncing happens automatically, so if you were to update a calendar event on your phone, your new calendar will sync to your computer and you’ll be able to see the changes you made.

What is “backing up”?

Although syncing and backing up allows you to have duplicate copies of your files, in actuality, backing up is a much simpler and safer process for your computer data. When you back up your computer, your files are copied from your computer’s hard drive to a different sever, either to a physical hard drive or to the cloud.

Backing up to a thumb drive or an external hard drive is a bit more bothersome, since you’ll have to remember to plug in your external drive to your computer every time you want to back up. However, like syncing, backing up to the cloud allows you to transfer your files to an external server automatically so that it’s safe from any potential damage, it recopies newer versions of your files so that the latest copy is saved, and it also gives you access to your files anywhere with Internet service.

What is the difference?

Because so much of our personal and professional documents are stored on the computer, it is important to know all the different options you have for protecting your important files. Although syncing and backing up are similar in that they both create duplicates of your files, the fundamental difference between the two is that syncing merely makes a mirror copy, whereas backing up makes a mirror copy and ensures that your files are always safe.

For example, if the file you are working on gets corrupted or fundamentally damaged, you will be able to access the backed up version. You will neither have to start from the beginning nor pay a company to recover your lost files, because they are stored in the cloud. Therefore, backing up saves your time, your money, and your files.

 

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