• Navigation
  • Warenkorb

Archiving and backup: What is the difference?


Do you need an archive and a backup? Aren't they basically the same thing? What big differences can there be in data storage?


Not knowing the differences between archiving and backup can cost businesses a lot of time, money and efficiency. We analyze the two storage methods and clarify when you need an archive or a backup.


The key differences between archiving and backup at a glance

The key differences between archiving and backup at a glance

Backup and archiving are different types of data storage. They differ in their purpose and the duration of data retention.


In an archive, data is stored for a long time (often decades). Companies archive data primarily because they are legally required to do so. To comply with legal requirements, archive data must be kept in its original form. For this purpose, data is written to an archive once and is not changed thereafter.


A backup is a copy of the production data. If data is lost on the production system, it can be quickly restored from the backup. To ensure that the data is always up-to-date, backups are saved at regular intervals.

Below, we will go more into detail about what archiving and backup are.

What is archiving?

What is archiving?

Archiving is the long-term storage of data. Archived data must be stored primarily for legal reasons.


For example, when an audit is due, companies need to be able to access accounting data from previous years. To do this, data must not only be retrievable, but also audit-proof. What does this mean? The company must be able to prove that the data has not been changed since it was archived. If a company is unable to do this, it could face severe penalties.


For this reason, data must not be changed after it has been saved. For this purpose, you can store data using the WORM (Write Once Read Many) method. WORM is a method by which you can read data after it has been saved, but you can no longer change or delete it.

Unlike backups, archive data is not copied, but moved to less expensive storage. This frees up storage space on the expensive primary storage.


Companies archive data not only for legal reasons. Data is also stored to preserve expertise and know-how for the future and to be able to fall back on it.

The tasks of archiving in brief:

  • Keep data available in the long term
  • Protect data from modification, manipulation, and deletion
  • Comply with regulations & avoid fines and penalties
  • Relieve expensive primary storages
What are backups?

What are backups?

Backups are copies of data without which a business can no longer be productive. If this data is damaged or lost on the primary system, it can be restored from the backup.


Common causes of data loss are:

  • Natural disasters or fires that damage hardware
  • Hard drive failures
  • Cyber attacks that encrypt data
  • Hardware defects or bit rot
  • Software problems


If one of these emergencies occur, backups can restore operations in a timely manner. This prevents financial losses that could threaten a company's very existence.


To always have an up-to-date copy of operational data, backups are created at regular intervals. The shorter the interval between backups, the smaller the amount of data that can be lost.

The tasks of backups in brief:

  • Prevent data loss
  • Restore damaged, deleted, or manipulated data
  • Ensure business continuity so that operations can continue in the event of an emergency (natural disaster, power outage, ransomware attack)
  • Protect against encryption and prevent ransomware payments

Disaster Recovery & Backups

Disaster recovery and backups are closely related.

Disaster recovery is a comprehensive concept that includes cybersecurity strategy policies, procedures, and methods. The individual measures help to ensure that business operations can be maintained in the event of an emergency.

Backups are one part of this concept. However, they alone do not guarantee business continuity, nor does a disaster recovery plan work without backups.

Data security and backup - what are the differences?

Data security and backup - what are the differences?

Backups are one aspect of data security. Data security refers to all technical measures to protect company data. This includes backups, password management, access management, but also structural measures for fire protection or electronic archiving.

Do I need a backup and an archive?

Do I need a backup and an archive?

Yes, because backup and archiving fulfill different tasks.

  • Backup: store and restore data in the short term to ensure business continuity
  • Archiving: store data for the long term and protect the integrity of data to meet regulatory or internal requirements.


However, data does not need to be stored in separate silos. Backup and archiving is about the integrity, availability and security of critical data. Instead of storing archive data and backups in separate solutions, both can be stored in one platform.


What does this look like in concrete terms? In a scale-out cluster, for example, you can set up different areas for archiving and backup and connect your backup and archive applications. If more storage space is needed, additional nodes can be easily added. This allows you to use storage capacity efficiently, streamline your infrastructure, and save time and money on maintenance and hardware.

Read more

Backup Storage

Why do backups have to be protected and what do you have to pay attention to? All information about backup types, ransomware protection and backup targets can be found here!
Read more

Everything about data archiving

Read more

iCAS FS Scale-Out Backup Target

Read more

Schedule an online demo

Read more
Insights, News & Events | Stay up to date!
Subscribe to our Newsletter