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Types Of Data Backup: Which One Is Right For Your Business?

Jun 29, 2023 | Cybersecurity

Regularly backing up your network data can help you avoid data loss during an attack. Employing the right backup strategy is essential, whether you’re dealing with a single device or are overseeing a business with multiple electronic devices and users.

Several types of data backup strategies and methods exist, and choosing the correct ones for your operations can be difficult. To make the process easier, this blog details the different data backup methods that exist and when you should employ them.

It also explores why you need managed IT service providers.

Why Are Data Backup Plans So Essential?

Backing up your data is a crucial part of any disaster recovery plan, and data backups have become closely linked with data protection. Today, organizations and businesses perform backups to safeguard their information against attacks and to provide more data storage space.

You can manually perform backups to restore data or to make more room for your storage device. However, the best backup method includes using backup software to streamline this process.

The Types of Backup

The most common backup types are full, differential, and incremental backups, which

we shall explore this in more depth.

Full backup

Full backups are the most common and complete backup type. A full backup creates a copy of all the data and stores it on a device like a tape, disk, or external hard drive. The main advantage of using a full backup is that users have a complete data copy on a single device.

After the initial full backup, you can easily restore your data—a process called a recovery time objective. However, two main disadvantages exist with the full backup method:

  • Time. Full backups take more time than other data backup methods. While you can protect all the files, your full backup can cut into daily productivity, and you may want to secure only the data with immediate urgency.
  • Additional storage space. Full backups mean creating a copy of all of your files and information for complete data protection. However, doing so results in you needing additional storage space. You can also quickly have to delete backup files from your last backup.

Due to these two main drawbacks, the full data backup method is generally only performed periodically—such as every week, two weeks, or every month You may decide to perform a full backup regularly if your operation doesn’t have much data.

You can also perform a full backup alongside other subsequent backups. For example, you can regularly perform an incremental backup while performing a full backup each week.

Incremental backup

An incremental backup differs from the full backup method because it only creates a copy of changed data since you performed your previous backup. Incremental backups typically utilize new time stamps compared to your last incremental backup time stamps.

Subsequent incremental backups always copy any changed data, ensuring more storage space than a full backup. You can run the increment backup method as much as you want. Since this method only copies only files that are new, you benefit from a faster backup speed.

Differential backup

The differential backup method is similar to the incremental backup method. Both backup types begin the same by copying the same data from the last backup. However, a differential backup differs from an incremental backup by copying any changed data from a previous full backup.

Differential backups store more than your typical incremental backup. However, a different backup still stores less than a full backup. Different backups require more space than incremental backups but are a good alternative to a full backup.

Are There Other Types Of Data Backups?

The main types of backups that most companies use are incremental backups, full backups, and differential backups. Two other types of backups do exist:

  • Synthetic full backups. This backup process involves copying previous data and only uploading any current changes originating from its source data. These backup sets ensure greater storage space compared to a full backup.
  • A mirror backup. Mirror backups also can closely resemble your last full backup but with one key difference. In a mirror backup, your files aren’t compressed into zip files, and you can’t protect them with a keyword. You can use this method to create an exact source data copy.

How To Have An Optimal Backup Strategy

Keeping your image files and other data protected requires using the correct backup strategies. Most businesses use one of the three types of backup schedules:

  • A full daily backup
  • A full weekly backup plus a daily incremental backup
  • A full weekly backup plus a daily differential backup

Determining what backup schedule your operations should have often depends on factors like how much data you have. Any type of data backup comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

You have to make tradeoffs affecting data protection, costs, performance, and how much data is retained. A full data backup operation provides the greatest recovery process should a disaster happen. The time and storage space can quickly cut into your operations’ costs.

A full data backup set performed weekly and an incremental data backup performed daily utilizes the least amount of storage space. However, there’s also a longer recovery time and a failed data set can compromise the rest of them.

A weekly full backup paired with daily different backups can provide the best of both worlds. You can obtain changes from your last full backup without needing to use as much space. 

Let Our Team Help You Choose Between Full, Differential, Or Incremental Backups

Choosing between the different types of data backups, including full, incremental, or differential backups, can be difficult. Alongside choosing between these types of backup options, you may need help with your backup settings or overcoming a failed recovery.

At Renascence IT Consulting, our technicians can help with your first partial backup and help you choose between full, incremental, or differential backups. We consider factors like your storage needs when recommending a full, incremental, or differential backup.

Obtain zero trust data protection and learn more about differential backup components by contacting us at (510) 552-6896!

Our History


With over 20 years of industry experience under his belt, the company's CEO possesses a degree in Computer Science and a number of certifications, including MCSE, MCSA, A+ and Network+. From an early age, computers were always a part of his life; dating back to the days of the Apple II. Since that time, he served as everything from system administrator to IT business director within well-established companies, before deciding that consulting was his passion. Leveraging years of technical recruiting, he personally handpicked a select group of specialists proficient in Linux, customized web applications and databases, telephony and cross-platform devices, to ultimately bring your organization to the next level.