5 Differences between Document Backups and Archives

Although archives and backups are used interchangeably because they enable document storage, there are significant distinctions between the two technologies.

Backups are copies of current or recently modified documents to protect the information in case the original is lost or damaged. The purpose of backups is to restore the documents to their most recent state in case of a data loss event, such as a system failure or a cyberattack. Backups are typically performed regularly, such as daily or weekly, and stored for a limited period, such as a few weeks or months.

Archiving involves moving older, less frequently accessed documents to long-term storage. The purpose of archiving is to retain records for future reference or legal purposes rather than to recover them in case of data loss. Archived documents are typically stored for a longer period of time, often years or even decades. They may be subject to legal or regulatory retention requirements. Losing important documents can be costly, as it may require time and resources to recreate them. Backup and archiving prevents the need for costly document recreation and can save businesses time and money in the long run.

Backup vs. Archiving

There are clear distinctions between backup and archive, and both support varied commercial goals for businesses. In the digital age, backups and archives can guarantee that data can be recovered when necessary and is available for tasks related to disaster recovery, audits, and regulatory requirements.

1. Defined Purpose

Backups protect documents and ensure business continuity in the event of a security breach, disaster, or infrastructure failure. Because essential information can constantly be lost due to hardware failure, human mistakes, and natural disasters, organizations must always have a backup of their data and some backup plan.

Archiving is used to keep outdated or inactive data for long periods of time. In organizations, archiving serves to preserve and store developed content, such as emails, contracts, letters, and more. Companies must retain copies of all the papers they produce or receive to comply with legal regulations. An archive contains original material that has been relocated from its original location. In contrast, a backup is a replica of a collection of data.

2. Access

The method and timing of data access are always where archiving and backup differ from one another. Data backups are required only in the event of a catastrophe that might cause the loss of the existing organization’s original data. Backups are usually utilized for quick, extensive recoveries. Although it’s built for bigger-scale recoveries, backup software can be utilized to preserve individual data items and OS and application files. It works well for restoring entire systems or apps.

Data that has been archived that is pertinent to a dispute over a business transaction, a contract, or a financial transaction can be recovered. Employees can quickly locate archived data using reliable technologies. Archives are designed to store individual data objects, including files, databases, documents, and their associated information. There may be a lot of content and documentation that accumulated over the years and very often, companies cannot identify the exact locations of individual files and folders. Finding a specific record from five years ago is simple with the use of an archive, which can offer swift access to stored information using metadata to enhance search capabilities. 

3. Storage Area

Archived data is often moved from the company’s main storage location to a more affordable and long-term data storage medium or digitally preserved. Automatic data backups are performed in accordance with a defined time frame, copying the data and storing it on backup storage media or in the cloud. As businesses accumulate more and more documents over time, storage space can become an issue. Archiving enables businesses to free up space in their primary storage systems.

4. Retention Schedule

Data backups are always superseded by the most recent copy of the data that was selected for backup. Because of this, businesses may always obtain the most current version without losing too many changes. Archives will be accessible under various guidelines that companies must adhere to depending on national laws, industry guidelines, etc.

5. Duration

A backup keeps its data for shorter periods than an archive. Depending on its operational value, the data stored in a backup may be updated as frequently as daily or even more than once a day. The data is therefore only required for a brief period of time. 

Archiving is an effective way to keep track of the history of a business. By archiving documents, businesses can maintain a historical record of their activities, decisions, and transactions. This information can be valuable for future reference, analysis, and audit.

Manage Your Data Lifecycle 

KRIS Document Management System (DMS) offers features for backups and archiving to protect important company documents and preserve records for long-term reference or compliance purposes. While having one or the other is great, having both technologies is ideal. Any effective data management strategy for organizations must include planning and outlining how documents and other forms of data will be archived and choosing when daily automatic backups should be carried out. Archiving enables employees to access and share historical documents, facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing across the organization.

Although backup and archive addresses are quite different, they can work well together as a cohesive unit in your company’s overall data management strategy. Accessing and recovering your archived data may be a challenging and time-consuming procedure if your business has previously struggled to distinguish between the two. 






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