What is Online Backup?

Phil Shepley

Online backup, as the name implies, is the process of backing up data and files remotely online. This is an alternative to backing them up physically near the same place where the files exist. Online backup services offer the user the ability to keep their data backups up to date on a regular basis.

Online data backup can save files even if the hard drive is destroyed.
Online data backup can save files even if the hard drive is destroyed.

Computer users have many options when it comes to making copies of their data and files. Offline options include additional computer hard drives, external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, jump drives and more. These all work fine most of the time for backing up files in case of computer failure. The main problem with these types of backups is that they share the same physical location as the original files. In a disaster such as a fire or theft, for example, the backups and originals have the same chances of being destroyed or stolen.

People often use online backups to store photos and important documents.
People often use online backups to store photos and important documents.

If the data is stored remotely in a different location, however, it will survive. This is where the online backup comes in handy. Another major advantage is that online backup is virtual. The user doesn’t have to worry about dealing with cords, labeling systems and cataloging physical media such as CDs. A person using an offsite backup system can also have their data backed up constantly, and take advantage of modern encryption technologies.

Online backup of data has several disadvantages as well. One of the first that comes to mind is the cost. The average home computer user simply does not have the option to pay the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year it sometimes costs to back up several gigabytes of data. It makes more sense for companies or larger corporations to take advantage of the use of online backup services. Another problem that could arise is if the online backup company goes out of business or changes hands. No one can say for sure what would happen to the remotely backed up data.

Online backup companies are known as managed backup providers, and there are many available. They offer many different features at a wide range of prices for offsite data storage. These features mainly involve how often and how the data is backed up, how the data is encrypted, how the data is compressed, bandwidth and how and when the files can be accessed. Offsite data storage is another option, where the physical backups themselves are stored somewhere else from the location of the original files.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks so much to the author of this page and to whoever has posted the comment above. Safecopy online backup is a very good backup service and I am so happy with the services they offer. They provide a 3GB trial version which never expires. This is so awesome and in addition to that, for only 50 bucks a year one can use 200GB of space.


The article was great and helpful. I personally use an online backup. Safecopy is so efficient and cost effective. This helps keep my files secure. I can backup multiple computers on one account and i don't have to pay for each computer, unlike other online backups, where one pays for each computer.

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