7 Different Types of Data Backups Fully Explained

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7 Different Types of Data Backups Fully Explained

We are all aware of the importance of data in modern society. Everything digital is sensitive, from personal images to vital company data. But what if you lose everything due to a hardware failure or a cyber-attack? This is where the different types of data backups come in. Let’s explore 7 of them so that you can be better informed on which one to use. We’ll cover full backups, incremental backups, differential backups, mirror backups, cloud backups, local backups, and offsite backups.

Why should we back data up in the first place? Think of it like a safety net. You hope you’ll never need it, but if you fall, it can save you. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have forever lost valuable data that you cannot recover. A solid backup strategy can ensure that your data can be quickly and effectively recovered in case of data loss.

In the rest of this article, we’ll go through each kind of data backup and its advantages and disadvantages. So take a cup of coffee and let’s get into the world of data backups.

Full Backup

mainframe computer
Large companies who want to make full backups of their data may need an entire room full of storage.

Let’s begin with the most fundamental type of backup, the Full Backup. All data from a source system is copied to a backup destination using this method.


Full backups provide the immense advantage of creating a perfect copy of your data. This makes recovery simple and straightforward. It is a thorough strategy that ensures all data, including files, software configurations, and operating systems, is saved. Full backups are simple to schedule and automate, so you never have to worry about forgetting to back up your data.


However, there are several drawbacks to full backups. They can take a long time and a lot of storage space. This is the case, especially if you have a lot of data. Further, executing full backups regularly may drain your system’s resources and decrease its performance.

Best Use

So, when should you implement a full backup strategy? Full backups are a suitable alternative for organizations that cannot afford to lose any data. They’re also ideal for small enterprises or individuals that have small amounts of data. Full backups would not suit a vast organization with a large amount of data.


Full backups are one of the best types of data backups. They take a holistic approach to backup and recovery, making it simple to restore your data in the event of a disaster. You just have to be careful of the time and resources it would take to do a full backup. It is also important to ensure that it meets the needs of your organization or your specific case.

Incremental Backup

The Incremental Backup is another popular approach among the different data backup types. Incremental Backups only copy the changes that occurred since the last incremental backup. They do not copy all the data from a source system to the backup destination.


The advantages of incremental backups are obvious. They use less storage space and perform faster than Full Backups. This makes them an excellent choice for bigger data sets. They are also less taxing on your system’s resources because they only backup new data.


However, there are certain drawbacks to incremental backups. They require a full backup in the beginning because they are only backing up new data. That implies that if you need to recover your data, you’ll need both the entire backup and any subsequent incremental backups. This may extend and complicate recovery time.

Best Use

Incremental backups are an ideal choice for firms that deal with sizeable amounts of data that change often. They’re also useful for reducing the amount of storage space needed for backups.


Incremental Backups are an efficient and practical approach to data backups. They offer an excellent balance between storage space and backup time. This makes them an excellent choice for many enterprises. Before utilizing this technique, make sure you consider the additional steps that will be required for data recovery.

Differential Backup 

Differential backup is a type of data backup that stores only the changes that have occurred since the last full backup. This means that if you had a complete backup from a month ago, a differential backup will only backup the data that has changed since the last full backup.


The key advantage of a differential backup is that it is faster and takes up less storage space than performing a full backup every time. This is especially handy if you have an enormous volume of data that you must back up on a regular basis.

Another advantage of a differential backup is the ease with which data can be restored to a given point in time. For example, if you need to restore a file from a week ago, you can simply restore the most recent complete backup followed by the most recent differential backup.


One disadvantage of a differential backup is that the backup size can increase over time. This is because each differential backup includes all the changes made since the last full backup. Therefore, the size of the backup can become unmanageable if you have many changes.

Another disadvantage is that recovering data may be more difficult than with other backup options. If you need to restore data from a differential backup, you must first restore the most recent full backup, followed by the most recent differential backup created since then.


Despite these disadvantages, a differential backup can be a valuable method for enterprises that regularly need to back up significant volumes of data while reducing storage requirements and backup durations.

Mirror Backup

Animation people using computer web server desktop environment
All the data is backed up to the Mirror location at the same time as it is added to the normal system when using Mirror backups.

A Mirror Backup duplicates your data on a different storage device or location. This process is also known as “disk cloning” or “RAID mirroring.”


The key advantage of Mirror Backup is that it delivers a complete and immediate backup of your data. If your primary storage device fails, you can rapidly switch to the mirror backup to keep your operations operating smoothly.


One disadvantage of Mirror Backup is that it takes up a lot of storage space because you’re making an exact replica of your data. This can be expensive and inefficient for organizations with large amounts of data.

Another point to consider is that a Mirror Backup does not support versioning or historical data recovery. If data is deleted or overwritten by mistake, it is also deleted or overwritten in the Mirror Backup. This means that you should use a Mirror Backup as a complement to other backup methods rather than as the single backup approach.

Best Use

The Mirror backup is a good choice for businesses that need their data to be available at all times and can’t afford downtime due to data loss or system failure. It’s also the best choice for those that prioritize data recovery speed.


The Mirror Backup is a dependable and quick approach to data backup types. It is perfect for enterprises that demand high data availability and cannot afford downtime. It should, however, be used with other backup methods in order to allow versioning and historical data recovery.

Cloud Backup 

largest server companies
A cloud backup company usually has several working data centers full of Rack Servers and Supercomputers.

A Cloud backup, also referred to as an online backup, is a data backup solution that stores data on remote servers accessible via the Internet. It involves storing and managing data backups with a third party.


The convenience of a cloud backup is one of its primary advantages. It allows us to store and access backup data without the need for physical storage devices or infrastructure. This makes it an excellent backup solution for enterprises with limited resources or those lacking the expertise to handle their own backup solutions.

Cloud backup also adds an extra layer of security to data. Data is encrypted and stored off-site, lowering the risk of data loss due to theft, natural disasters, or other unforeseen circumstances. Cloud backup companies frequently include redundancy and multiple backups to limit the chance of data loss.


Cloud backup has a few drawbacks. The security of data kept on remote servers is one of the primary issues. While most cloud backup companies use security measures such as encryption, there is always the possibility of data breaches and hackers. In addition, there may be worries about data privacy and regulatory compliance.

The cost is another potential downside. While cloud backup is convenient, it frequently has recurring costs for storage and services. These expenditures can easily stack up, especially if you have large amounts of data.

Some have also raised concerns about data accessibility. Data is kept off-site and accessed via the internet with cloud backup. This can cause data accessibility and speed concerns, especially in places with slow or unreliable internet connections.


Despite these reservations, cloud backup is still a popular and effective backup method for organizations of all sizes. It provides a convenient and safe method of storing and managing data backups. It also reduces the risk of data loss and assures continuity in the case of a data disaster.

Local Backup

types of storage devices
Computers used hard disk drives for decades to store large amounts of data.

Local backups, commonly referred to as on-premises backups, involve the storage of data on physical devices such as external hard disks, USB drives, or tape drives. This backup plan is easy and inexpensive, making it a popular choice for many businesses.


The primary advantage of a local backup is that it gives you complete control over data storage and security. It’s also faster than cloud backup because the speed of your internet connection doesn’t affect the backup and recovery processes. In the event of a disaster or system failure, someone can instantly restore the data from the local backup without the need for the internet.


Local backups have certain drawbacks as well. Physical storage devices can be damaged, stolen, or lost, resulting in permanent data loss. Local backups require additional hardware and maintenance costs. This can be prohibitively expensive for small organizations or individuals.

The same disasters that affect primary data storage can affect local backups. They are vulnerable to disasters such as fire, flood, or theft. It is therefore important that the backup storage location is different from the original data storage location.


For businesses that want complete control over their data, the local backup is a dependable and cost-effective backup option. To avoid data loss, it is critical to ensure that the backup storage location is safe and independent from the original data storage location. In addition, do regular backups and testing to ensure that you can restore the data in the case of a disaster or system failure.

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01/22/2024 03:09 am GMT

Offsite Backup

Offsite backup is an essential part of any effective backup strategy. This sort of backup involves storing data at a remote site, such as a cloud-based storage system or an external hard drive housed in a physical place separate from the primary backup location.


One of the key advantages of an offsite backup is that it adds an extra layer of data loss protection in the case of a disaster that affects the primary backup location. If fire or flooding destroys the primary backup location, the offsite backup will remain secure and accessible.

Another advantage of an offsite backup is that you can access it from any location. This makes it an ideal alternative for organizations with remote workers or individuals who travel regularly. Offsite backups can also be automated, making it a convenient and dependable backup solution.


Offsite backups have certain drawbacks as well. One possible disadvantage is the high cost of cloud-based storage options. Remote backups also need an internet connection, which is not always available everywhere.

Another disadvantage of offsite backups is that data restoration may take longer in the event of a disaster because you must download the data from the offsite location. This is a major disadvantage because in business, every single second counts and money is lost if there is downtime.


Despite these disadvantages, a remote backup is a critical component of a comprehensive backup strategy. It adds an extra degree of security and ensures that data can be accessed from anywhere. This is especially vital in today’s increasingly remote work environment.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered a lot about the different types of data backups, including full, incremental, differential, mirror, cloud, local, and offsite backups. Each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Whatever backup plan you pick, having one in place to secure your data is critical. Data loss may be disastrous, with major ramifications for your business or personal life. As technology and data needs grow, make sure to examine and update your backup strategy routinely. Always test your backups to ensure they are operational.

It is well worth the time and effort to develop a backup strategy. Don’t put off securing your data until it’s too late; start now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between full backups and incremental backups?

A full backup copies all the data from a source system to a backup location, while an incremental backup only copies the changes made since the last incremental backup.

What is a mirror backup?

A mirror backup is a type of backup that creates an exact copy of a source system. It copies all the data, including the operating system and software configurations.

How is cloud backup different from local backup?

Cloud backup stores data on remote servers accessed through the internet, while a local backup stores data on physical devices connected to the source system.

What is an offsite backup?

An offsite backup is a backup strategy where the backup data is stored at a different physical location from the source system.

Why is having a backup strategy important?

To protect against data loss or corruption, which can happen because of hardware failure, cyber-attacks, or accidental deletion. 

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