cloud storage
(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

You don’t want to get cloud storage confused with cloud backup. If you ask for cloud storage when you really mean “cloud backup”, you won’t be able to access a clean original version of your files if something happens to your device. And if you ask for “cloud backup” when what you really wanted was a place to store your important files, you’ll find yourself confused when you can’t get to your files because you’re using the wrong device.

It’s easy to confuse these cloud services, so let’s walk through these terms – slowly – so you’ll know the truth about cloud backup (and cloud storage), and you’ll know exactly which of these services you really want.

What’s cloud storage?


Cloud storage is a revolutionary way to store your important files in a central offsite location – the cloud. The cloud is an external drive in a separate location from wherever your files are primarily stored, and it’s accessed using the internet.

With cloud storage, you can store all the files you want, without running into storage limits the way you would on your phone or your laptop. Want to store more data? You don’t need to buy any extra equipment. All you have to do is increase your subscription fee!

With cloud storage, you have to manually input all the files you want to store in the cloud, or you can put them in a special shared folder that’s linked to the cloud. Unless you do this, the cloud won’t automatically store your files.

This brings us nicely to cloud backup!

What’s cloud backup?


Cloud backup is specifically designed to copy your files so you always have an easy way to restore your files if your device crashes or gets stolen. When you use a cloud backup service, you’ll always have an extra, “clean” copy of your file that you can use in case something terrible happens to the original version.

Cloud backup lets you automatically back up your files and store them safely in the cloud. (There are also WordPress plugins that let you back up your website’s files.)

Cloud backup is recommended for anyone who wants to ensure that their data is protected in case of disaster, but it’s especially crucial for organisations that generate massive amounts of data, as well as those that need to have frequent backups of information. (In case you’re still on the fence about whether cloud backup is important, check out this compelling case study on cloud backup.)

Like cloud storage, you can always add more data whenever you need to. (Just pay for the extra storage.)

Now that we’ve got that similarity out of the way, let’s look a bit more closely at how cloud storage is different from cloud backup:

7 differences between cloud storage and cloud backup

1. Cloud storage services require you to manually choose the files you want to store in the cloud, while cloud backup services automatically save your files.

2. Cloud storage services are usually encrypted only on the server side, whereas with cloud backup, your data is usually encrypted on both sides: transfer and storage.

3. Cloud storage was primarily designed to give you additional storage space. And cloud backup was primarily designed to help you recover your data in the case of loss or destruction.

4. Cloud storage is kind of like a gigantic external hard drive. While cloud backup is more similar to a perfect clone of your file on the last date that your file was stored.

5. Cloud storage can store encrypted files and folders (not application data). But cloud backup can store all files – even if they’re hidden or locked. This makes cloud backup great for disaster recovery purposes.

6. Cloud storage gives no status reporting to verify that all your files are stored remotely. However, cloud backup reports on successful backups, so you know when your files are securely stored.

7. Cloud storage secures primary data, so it can be accessed, modified, and used on the cloud, whereas cloud backup stores a copy of your data, so it can be accessed in the event that something bad happens to your original data.

Wrapping up: What’s the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup?

Cloud storage allows you to manually store your data in a remote location for easy syncing and sharing. On the other hand, cloud backup lets you transfer a copy of your data to a remote location, so it can be accessed in case disaster strikes the original data.

Cloud storage was designed for sharing files on multiple devices with multiple users, so it’s great for collaboration. Cloud backup acts like data insurance; it’s great for protecting your data in case of disaster.