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What Is Continuous Backup? (And Why You Need It)

UPDATED
February 26, 2024

 

Business owners rely a lot on data these days, which means that any interruption or data loss can set back—or worse—potentially jeopardize a whole enterprise. You’ll never know when these mishaps might happen too, so all you can do is be ready so that you can restore any lost data ASAP.

 

But, depending on when you last backed up your data, how quickly things can return to normal will vary, so it may affect your productivity by hours, days, or even weeks.

 

Luckily, that’s what continuous file backup is for! Read on to find out more about this handy feature and where you can get it.

 

 

What Exactly Is Continuous Backup?

 

Continuous backup, also known as continuous data protection, is a system in which data saved on a computer is automatically backed up in a secondary storage whenever you create a new file or make changes to an existing one. This basically means that as files are generated and modified, different versions of the files are preserved.

 

There are two types of continuous backups: incremental and differential. They’re used for different scenarios, but their main goal is to provide a strong line of defense against data loss and threats such as disruption, unintentional data loss, malware, and ransomware.

 

How continuous backup works

 

continuous file backup saves data

Your data will be saved whenever a change is made. (Credit: Ekaru)

 

Instead of setting up backup schedules, continuous backup copies data saved on a disk to a second location. In other words, your data is tracked every time a change is made and is stored in a change log on the continuous backup system.

 

This eliminates the need for planned backups and is frequently performed on another network server. So, any changes to your data are continuously replicated from source to target.

 

With that said, even if your data gets lost or destroyed, there will always be a point of restoration, since the system saves all changes up until the last write before data loss. This means that you can access your data at any moment without any hassle.

 

 

How Is This Different From Other Types Of Backups?

 

Now that you know what a continuous backup is and how it works, you’d find that it isn’t the only type of backup out there. For instance, there are manual and automatic backups.

 

What are they, you ask?

 

First, a manual backup can be done whenever you want, and no other software will do it for you. Yes, this means you’ll have more freedom but, if you are concerned about maintaining backup data, it will have to be done on a regular, scheduled basis. This can be a hassle especially if you have a lot of data you need to store.

 

Then, we have the automatic backup. Systems that enable frequent automatic backups are widely known as near-continuous backup systems. This type of backup can be done weekly, daily, or even hourly, without you having to do the process yourself.

 

But, both of these backup methods will, at most, result in the loss of an hour’s worth of changes, even when your files are updated, added to, or modified often. One slip-up where you don’t back up your data and poof! All your hard work is gone.

 

With that said, since there is no scheduling involved, continuous backups differ significantly from periodic backups that are carried out manually or automatically. Continuous backup happens as files are added, produced, or changed at any given time. So, no matter what happens, you’ll always have a version of your file.

 

 

The Benefits Of Continuous Backups

 

backup recovery benefits

Continuous backup will change the way you think about traditional backup systems.

 

As you may now know, continuous backups offer several advantages over conventional types of backup systems. Whether you need to restore your system to a previous state or obtain the last secure version of a file, this backup system can save the day.

 

The main advantage of this continuous backup is that it has almost no recovery points (RPO). In simpler words, since the backup system is always running, your backup copy is always updated. So, if you encounter any data loss, continuous backup can essentially restore that data in real-time.

 

Continuous backup also removes the difficulties associated with the backup window, or the precise window of time allocated for scheduling data backups. Without continuous backup, it may not be possible to retrieve newly created data if it is lost or corrupted between these planned backup windows.

 

To sum things up, continuous backup can significantly reduce the risks of data loss due to accidental or intentional sabotage, as well as guard against malware and ransomware.

 

But, continuous backup does have its drawbacks

 

Unfortunately, continuous backup also comes with a handful of difficulties that you should consider first.

 

For starters, continuous backup needs physical storage. This means it’ll be more expensive as you start to manage more data.

 

Another thing to take note of is that all of your data is kept on a server, so there is a risk of it becoming a single point of failure.

 

Last but not least, continuous backup places more strain on your data resources. Because every update or a new piece of data is saved in real-time, your data volume is basically doubled—which may have an impact on system stability or performance.

 

 

The Best Cloud Storage Providers For Continuous Backups

 

cloud storage continuous file backup

You can make your life easier with cloud storage. (Credit: Brilio)

 

Now that you know all about this great backup system, what’s next? Well, now it’s time to keep your files safe and secure with the best cloud storage providers. Let’s take a look at them:

 

  1. Sync
    If you need both backup AND security for your files, this is our top choice. Sync makes sure that your files are always continuously backed up on top of their great security features. They have Zero-knowledge privacy and end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption that are used to protect all files uploaded under any of its subscription plans. Aside from that, you’ll also have access to features such as file versioning, file collaboration, quick file previews, and much more.
  2. pCloud
    pCloud is without a doubt one of our favorites if you’re searching for a comprehensive cloud storage option for the long run. This all-rounder offers every feature you might want from a cloud storage service, including virtual drives to help you free up space on your PC, online backups, and file syncing.
  3. Dropbox
    It’s no surprise that teams prefer Dropbox because it has a ton of features. Their continuous backup system is already pretty neat, but they have so much more to offer too. For instance, who would’ve thought that you could share this great backup system with multiple people? One of its features is that you’ll receive real-time notifications that’ll let you keep track of other team members’ file adjustments. And, all team members will automatically be updated by these changes.

 

 

Don’t Worry About Losing Your Files Again!

 

Some events just happen without any warning. Systems crash, gadgets break, and screens go dead. If you happen to own any data at all (and you most certainly do), you should be considering the best ways to keep them safe. And the more data you gather over time, the more it makes sense to use continuous backup.

 

For large, growing enterprises, this backup system is a very popular choice. When it comes to safeguarding the confidential information of their business, some professionals may even consider it a need.

 

So, as you choose from one of the best cloud storage providers for continuous backups, you can rest assured that you’ll never have to worry about losing your files ever again!