The Difference between Image-based vs File-based Data Backup
By Steven Freidkin on Oct 12, 2017

The Difference between Image-based vs File-based Data Backup

Imagine if you came into the office and all your PCs and servers were completely down. How quickly do you think you could get your business back up and running? How smoothly would that process go?

We know that as a commercial business owner or nonprofit executive, the LAST thing you want to worry about is data backup – what it is, how it works, or any of the gory details.

However, if you’re ultimately responsible for keeping your business secure and your employees productive, you should know the right questions to ask about your data backup solution - including the important difference between image-based and file-based backup! 

Here's a mini-primer to help you learn the difference between  image-based and file-based backup:

To help explain, let’s take a quick look at what you need to protect and why.

  • Files and folders. These are your day-to-day documents and records used to keep track of your operations. Patient records, client information, contracts, customer data, etc. This is typically what people back up, either on site, in the cloud, or both.
  • Applications. These are programs such as Microsoft Office, Exchange, SQL, your billing software, software that makes an x-ray generator work, or the software that’s tied to your point of sale equipment. Without these, you cannot view your files and folders. You must back these up too, and more importantly in a format that is easy to restore.
  • Configurations and Settings. Many of the applications you use every day have been customized for your needs. For example, auto-updating of software, malware alerts, access privileges, even scheduling. While these all happen in the background, they’re critical to your workflow and thus critical to your data backup strategy.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) Data. If you’re using SaaS-based Office 365 or Google Apps, believe it or not you still need cloud-to-cloud data backup. While these are both great cloud-based apps, they do have vulnerabilities. As an example, if an employee should accidentally (or maliciously )delete an important email, file or folder, and you don't find out about it right away - good luck getting it back!
Here's the essential difference between file level back up and image based backup:

File level data backup only backs up individual files, while image-based backup takes a “snapshot” of your entire system. This means you can quickly rebuild after damage or disaster, sometimes in a matter of hours. 

File level backup can take weeks or even months - you can read the story here about a company that learned this the hard way!

We know this is a lot to understand, but that’s what IT consultants are for. 

Reach out to us if you want to discuss your options for the best data backup solution for your business!

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