What does your business need? “File-level and image-level” data backups and recovery are the two main solutions. Yes, both types of backup will save your company data. But image-level backup goes much further and allows for faster recovery.
File-Level Data Backup
File-level backups are the most common type of backup. This method has been around for a long time, and most people are familiar with the process. Simply select which files and folders you want to save, then it makes a replica of your data for recovery at a later time.
For most SMBs (small and medium businesses), operating only a few machines or in a home computing situation, this type of backup is usually adequate for maintaining your data. Delete a file? Go and get it from your external drive or cloud storage solution. No big deal.
The problem is when you start operating many machines or servers. Then, backing up each file in this very granular, specific way consumes a lot of unnecessary time, system resources and energy.
Image-Level Data Backup
Image-level backup is known by many names: bare metal backup/recovery (BMR), disaster recovery backup, ghost backup, block-level backup or “cloning” your machine. Whatever you call it, an image-level backup saves not only your files, but also your application data, operating system, settings, patches — everything —as a single recoverable file.
Recovery time from an image file is blazingly fast. Instead of configuring a new computer by installing the BIOS, then the OS, then the applications, then finally transferring the backed up files… everything happens all at once. The recovered system will also look and behave exactly like the old computer did because it is literally a clone of the old device.
Imaging your drives makes your data completely portable. Imaged computers can be run as virtual machines from other machines. What if your employees could access their desktops from any network device? What if your business falls into a sinkhole? Your employees could be back to work in a matter of hours instead of days.
Which is the correct Data Backups and Recovery solution for your needs File-level backup is fine if you have time to recover and it has served many users well, but if you’re running a business that can’t afford down time or with more than a few computers and servers, it’s probably time to get a more advanced data backup solution in place.
For most modern business applications, an image-level system for Data Backups and Recovery is the superior option. From speed of recovery to complete data restoration, it is definitely the more robust option.
That’s not to say file back doesn’t have its place. Especially if application settings, system data, or stored procedures have limited or no impact to operational efficiency. If all the sole proprietor or business needs is a file preservation option for archival and retention, then file backup is an appropriate and less expensive backup method.
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