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Back up for a second, another blog post on backups?

If you ever meet me in a professional capacity you’ll probably instantly get annoyed by how often I go on about backups. They are important!

We all put a lot of energy into the setup and maintenance of our IT infrastructure, but something that often gets overlooked is ensuring if the worst does happen, that there’s something there to restore from. It can feel a bit weird paying to keep something running, secured and online, and then on top of that paying for a backup solution. If we do everything right we should never need the backups right?

Unfortunately, you always need to have a plan B and a full restore strategy. Off the top of my head, some examples of actions that could require to restore from a backup;

  • Hardware failure
  • Ransomware
  • Malicious intent from staff
  • Accidental deletion by staff
  • Viruses / Malware
  • Updates gone wrong
  • Theft

…and so on, there are a myriad of reasons why you might need to restore.

So what sort of backups are around?

I’m glad you asked, there are many forms of backups around these days and the right one all depends upon your situation. The main two are as follows, and can be full backups / incremental backups / differential backups / mirror. But more on that in a bit.

Image based backups

In an image based backup we take a full copy of the hard drive of the server / pc / virtual machine at set times and do incremental updates between. This means you can restore your system elsewhere if the worst happens, and quite often to different hardware.  Server falls victim to ransomware? No problem, we’ll just restore how it was the last time the backup ran and you’ll be back up and running in a few hours.

File backups

A file backup is really what it sounds like, you can backup all the files that are important to your company in real time, or at set intervals.. You can even keep revisions. Accidentally saved over the latest super important contract you’re writing? Just restore it, it’s as simple as that.

Okay, I’ve got that but what are you talking about when you say “full / incremental / differential”?

  • Full backups are where every time the backup runs it backs up everything every time. The main advantage of this is it usually is faster to restore, but the downside is each backup takes longer and you use more storage.
  • Incremental backups will do a full backup the first time they run, and then from then on will only backup the files that have changed since the last incremental backup. When you restore, the backup solution will merge the full and incremental together to make the latest full backup.
  • Differential backups like above will only backup changes, but unlike incremental backups, will backup all changes since the last full backup, rather than the last backup.
  • Mirror backups will do a full backup but if you delete a file on the source side, the deleted file will also be deleted in the backup. There may be a time delay between the file being deleted and it being removed from the backup, but you must be cautious when using this form of backup.

Right I’ve got that, offsite, onsite or online backups?

  • Offsite backups are exactly what they sound like. Backups that are stored in different geological area than your office. Be it a hard drive you take home every day, or your second office, it doesn’t really matter. The main benefit of these are if the worst does happen and for example your office burned down, you will still have a copy of your files.
  • Onsite backups are good, but really should be used in conjunction with one of the online or offsite backup solutions. It just means your backup always runs locally – which is great when you want to restore some files quickly but not so great if someone steals your server and the backup attached to it.
  • Online backups are growing fast – and it makes sense as to why. They’re accessible anywhere and really require no human interaction to keep them going. The main downside is they can be slower to restore (all limited by your internet speed), but generally the upsides outweigh the downsides.


To ensure you have the correct cover, get in touch – we can assist in having your business covered for every eventuality and can tailor a solution which is right for your company.

Coffee Cup Solutions is your local Wokingham based IT company.  Give me a call today on 0118 38 42 175 or email [email protected]