A computer can store a lot of information, but over time, this information needs alternative secure storage for purposes of preservation, protection and reserves for the future. It is one thing to have to consider different methods of data backups, but it is a whole new thing to determine which type of backup to perform on your data. Every backup task cost a business a particular downtime, and with this being the main limiting factor, it is best to be aware of the different types of backup.

Understanding the different types of backups is integral for picking the ideal backup strategy to employ for your business. Fortunately for you, this article will guide you in choosing the best type of backup for your data, with a couple of tips on a working strategy for the different types.


'Illustrations - backup' by Alexander Tolstov

Full backup

A full backup is perhaps the most common and basic type of backup. It entails a complete backup task uploaded and stored in a single file, acting as the foundation for all other kinds of backups. The full backup uploads all the information in the selected files and folders to the backup method, say, the cloud or a tape.

It is the most assured way to ensure that all your data has been backed up on the cloud. The best part is that this type of backup requires minimal time, simpler and faster operations to conduct a restoration task, a metric otherwise known as the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), with an assurance of a complete copy of all the information that is available on your device.

A full backup is a sound solution when done periodically, particularly for large organisations with huge chunks of data to back up. In such a case, you can schedule for automatic backups when the devices are not in use, to avoid downtime and to slow down the servers or the machines. For smaller businesses, you may resolve for daily full backups, although careful to get rid of any duplications that could clutter your systems.

Differential Backup

As earlier mentioned, full backups are the foundation of other types of reserves. In this case, differential backup involves any information that has changed since the last time of the full back up. For example, upon uploading a client's personal information to a cloud service, you may realize a couple of changes after further interaction with the client. Although their information was already uploaded, some changes were not saved.

Instead of conducting another full backup that will take up more space, consider a differential backup. The primary advantage of this type of backup is that it saves you a lot of time you would otherwise use to sort out through files that have changed or that have been added since the last full backup. Also, the differential backup cuts down on restoration time, in comparison to the incremental type of backup, not to mention that uploading differential backups takes way less time than full backups.

To perform a restoration, in this case, you must employ two storage files, that is, the latest full backup and the most recent differential backup.

Tip: only perform the differential backup when you have time to spare because both the restoration and backup processes are slower than full backups.

Incremental backup

Like the differential type of backup, the incremental backup also builds up on the latest information from the last backup carried out, the only difference being that incremental backups pick up from any backup, whether full or differential.

With incremental backup, you engage in increasing the information on your previously backed up data, as suggested by its name. The increments can be changes in the original files, or simply new information generated, and since the backup is only for the increments, it makes incremental backup the fastest type of backup.

The good news about this type of backup is that it only picks up the changes for upload, which means that the backup process will involve a smaller amount of information, hence, the upload process will be faster. For this reason, you can perform incremental backups as often as you like, without requiring many media to store your backups.

For the restoration process, in this case, you will need to access the most recent full backup, and all the incremental backups made since the last full backup.

Generally, these types of backups are essential. In most cases, the full backup must be conducted periodically, say, weekly, then followed with daily backups of either incremental or differential.


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