The 2 types of cloud backup methods, and their pros and cons

  • Cloud backup, also known as online backup or remote backup, is a strategy for sending a copy of a physical or virtual file or database to a secondary, off-site location for preservation in case of equipment failure, site catastrophe or human malfeasance.
  • Cloud backup services typically host backup servers and data storage systems, charging customers recurring fees based on factors like storage space, bandwidth usage, user count, server quantity, or data retrieval frequency.
  • Incremental backup is a method where only the changes made since the last backup are saved, while A full backup involves copying the entire dataset to the cloud storage.

Implementing cloud data backup can help bolster an organisation’s data protection, business continuance and regulatory compliance strategies without increasing the workload of IT staff. The labor-saving benefit can be significant and enough of a consideration to offset some of the additional costs associated with cloud backup, such as data transmission charges. There are mainly 2 types of cloud backup methods: incremental backup and full backup.

They both play crucial roles in ensuring the safety and integrity of your data in the cloud. Understanding the differences between these methods and their respective advantages and considerations can help you make informed decisions when implementing a cloud backup strategy for your personal or business needs

Also read: Securing your remote workforce with Aegis cloud backup solutions

Full backups

Full backups copy the entire data set every time a backup is initiated. As a result, they provide the highest level of protection. However, most organisations can’t perform full backups frequently because they can be time-consuming and take up too much data storage capacity.

Full backups provide a complete snapshot of the data at a specific point in time, ensuring comprehensive protection against data loss. Since it contains all the data, restoration is typically straightforward and requires accessing only the latest full backup. And unlike incremental backups, full backups do not rely on previous backups for restoration, simplifying the recovery process.

Considerations of full backups

Full backups consume more storage space and bandwidth compared to incremental backups, which can increase costs, especially for large datasets. Also due to the need to transfer the entire dataset, full backups generally take longer to complete than incremental backups.

Also read: Is AI a threat to cybersecurity?

Incremental backup

Incremental backups only back up the data that has been changed or updated since the last backup increment — not the last full backup. This method saves time and storage space but can make it more difficult to perform a complete restore, because if any backup increment is lost or damaged, a full restore will be impossible. Incremental is a common form of cloud backup because it tends to use fewer resources.

Incremental backups excel in efficiency by solely transferring and storing modified data, thereby reducing both backup time and bandwidth usage. Their focus on changes makes them faster than full backups, making them perfect for time-sensitive environments. Additionally, their storage requirements are minimal compared to full backups, resulting in significant cost savings, particularly for extensive datasets.

Drawbacks of incremental backup

Restoration may require accessing multiple incremental backups along with the initial full backup, which can increase complexity. In scenarios where multiple incremental backups are involved, the restoration process may take longer compared to full backups.


Aria Jiang

Aria Jiang, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in IT infrastructure. She graduated from Ningbo Tech University. Send tips to

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