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The Important Difference Between Archiving and Backup

One of the most common questions we hear is, “what is the difference between archiving and backup?” Understanding the difference is important as how you process and store your data has both compliance and cost ramifications.


Part of your responsibility as a business is to store data according to regulations and to defend and maintain your security posture. On-top of that, having everything where it should be allows for smooth company processes and ease of use. Your clients will want assurance that you store data compliantly and take security seriously, so understanding the difference between data backup and data archiving is key.

Whitepaper: The Crucial Differences Between Archiving and Backup

Read what differentiates archiving and backup from each other and which use cases and advantages both concepts provide for your company.

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Why Do You Need Archiving?

Archiving is essentially a historic collection of your important data. It is the process of moving data to a separate storage device for long-term retention. It is important not to confuse archiving and backup as the two play fundamentally different roles. How you archive will determine the availability, security and integrity of your data. Certain data must be kept for decades and have a certain number of copies, whilst other data must not be modified once written (WORM). Data has become an important consideration for all organisations. As data continues to grow, businesses demand a future-proof solution that is scalable and cost-effective. The GDPR recognises our rights as individuals to have our data stored compliantly and consensually, so choosing the right solution is an important step.


Compliant archiving is not just storing or keeping information and records, neither backing up data. Particular business data need to be archived in a compliant manner, which means, it has to meet a complex set of requirements defined by regulatory bodies, governments, or enterprises themselves.


Due to the limitations and inefficiencies of legacy archiving solutions, a modern approach is sought that reflects the amount of data processed. Consequently, long-term archiving is now a mainstream choice to protect your documents at optimal cost, whilst ensuring maximum flexibility and security.

Why Do You Need to Backup?

Backing up your data is not related to archiving. Data backup is an essential element of your security and breach detection capability. Should there be a threat to your important data, you must be able to restore the data and ensure its ‘availability’. You do not back up data because it is a document that must be retained for 20 years. You back up your data in order to be able to restore lost or corrupt files and return your business to a ‘known’ state. The GDPR states that all organisations (that process data) must regularly backup data as part of their processes and be able to demonstrate the operational and technical measures taken to ensure its integrity. With fines from the ICO a common occurrence, non-compliance can be expensive and the reputational damages alone severe.


Choosing the correct method to store your important data is a vital part of your disaster recovery and compliance. Keeping your data secure and compliant protects your business.

The Key Benefits of Modern Archiving

Due to tech advancement, you can archive your data compliantly without limitation, and at a competitive TCO. The software-defined archiving solution iCAS is compatible with a wide range of business applications and is certified for legally compliant archiving and security.

  • No hardware lock-in; freedom to choose preferred storage hardware vendor & technology
  • Archiving functionality and intelligence decoupled from hardware
  • No technical limitations with regards to specific protocols or APIs
  • Unlimited scalability with flexible licensing according to needs


iTernity develops software solutions for the protection and long-term integrity of all types of data. Businesses all over the world entrust their data with us. Our Software-Defined Archiving approach delivers unparalleled hardware independence, flexibility and legally compliant archiving. If your archiving solution does not adequately and legally meet your requirements, please get in touch with us.

Whitepaper: The Crucial Differences Between Archiving and Backup

With increasing data volumes, strict compliance requirements and targeted cyberattacks, archiving and backup have become essential parts of today‘s IT world. For companies it is crucial to know the difference between, the goals, and the expectations of the two approaches and to take the right measures.


Learn in this whitepaper:

  • The differences between and definition of archiving and backup
  • Use cases and benefits of both concepts for your organization
  • How archiving and backup complement each other
  • How to use a software-based approach to centralize your data storage while maintaining flexibility

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