Secondary Storage: Definition, Devices, and How It Can Support Your Backup Strategy

Secondary Storage: Definition, Devices, and How It Can Support Your Backup Strategy

Data is a valuable resource for both individuals and corporations. Nonetheless, it is critical to remember that data can be lost or destroyed and, in certain situations, become irretrievable. This calls for a backup strategy; having a backup solution ensures that your data is secure and quickly recoverable in the event of an unexpected event.

Primary storage devices, such as internal hard drives and flash drives, can be utilized to store data. However, they may need to be more reliable or have enough backup capacity. That is where secondary storage comes in; it is an excellent backup solution that can successfully complement your data backup strategy. But, to maximize this tool’s utility for your company, you must first grasp how it works.

As a result, this blog will go over secondary storage, including the devices and how they might help your backup strategy.

What is Secondary Storage?

Secondary storage is not directly attached to a computer’s CPU (Central Processor Unit). It is frequently used for data backup and is typically detachable, making it easy to move and store away. Secondary storage devices, as opposed to primary storage devices such as internal hard drives, can provide more significant storage space for data backups and are frequently more reliable.

The Importance of Secondary Storage in Your Backup Strategy

It is critical to have a secondary storage solution in place to preserve your data from loss or harm. Consider losing your vital documents, family photos, or business records due to a hard drive failure, malware attack, or even a natural disaster such as a flood or fire. With a secondary storage device, you can be confident that your data is secure and readily recoverable during an unexpected event.

Devices for Secondary Storage

Secondary storage comes in three principal formats. These include external hard drives, solid-state devices, and network-attached devices.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are portable, detachable storage devices connected to your computer by USB, Thunderbolt, or other interfaces. They are a popular backup solution since they provide high storage capacity ranging from 1TB to 8TB or more at a moderate cost. They also have higher data transfer rates than other secondary storage devices, making them an appealing alternative for users who need to transport ample volumes of data quickly.

Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are non-volatile storage devices that employ NAND-based flash memory to store data. Because of their faster read and write speeds and enhanced durability over traditional hard disk drives, they’re becoming increasingly popular for backup applications. They are, nevertheless, more expensive than external hard drives with equal storage capabilities.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

A network-attached storage (NAS) device connects to a network, storing and sharing data among several computers or devices. They are usually more expensive than external hard drives and require technical knowledge to set up and manage. However, they provide considerable benefits for firms with several employees that require remote access and data sharing.

How Secondary Storage Can Support Your Backup Strategy

You can use secondary storage for backups in various ways, including full and incremental backups.

A full backup is a complete duplicate of all the data you wish to back up. In contrast, an incremental backup merely copies the changes that have occurred since the previous backup. Incremental backups are faster and utilize less storage space than full backups. Still, they must be recovered in the event of data loss.

Moreover, Backup software can also make data backup more convenient and efficient. Most external hard drives and SSDs have backup software that allows you to schedule automatic backups, backup specific files or folders, and even encrypt backups for increased security.

Cloud-based backup solutions are gaining popularity because they provide a convenient and secure way to back up your data remotely. Your data is stored in a faraway data center with cloud backup. It can be accessed and recovered from any device with an internet connection. As a result, cloud backup is a fantastic choice for folks who frequently travel or operate remotely.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Secondary Storage

Proper secondary storage is crucial for guaranteeing effective and efficient data backup. While choosing a secondary storage device, numerous elements must be considered, including storage capacity, speed, dependability, and interfaces.

Storage Capacity

When selecting a backup storage device, you should consider its storage capacity as one of the critical factors. The storage capacity of the device determines how much data it can hold. As a result, it’s critical to select a device with enough storage capacity to match your needs. Suppose you’re backing up a large amount of data, for example. In that case, you may need a large storage capacity, such as a network-attached storage (NAS) device that can hold terabytes of data.


The device’s speed determines how rapidly data can be backed up and recovered. A faster device saves backup time and facilitates data retrieval. Several factors influence device speed, including the type of interface used, storage media (e.g., hard disk drive or solid-state drive), and volume of data transported.


Another vital thing to consider when choosing a secondary storage device is reliability. The device should be reliable and have a low failure rate to reduce the danger of data loss. Several factors influence the device’s reliability, including the components’ quality, the manufacturing process, and the manufacturer’s guarantee.


Another crucial thing to consider is the interface to connect the secondary storage device to your computer or network. There are various ports, including USB, Thunderbolt , Ethernet, and Firewire. The interface influences data transfer speed, simplicity of use, and compatibility with your computer or network.

Best Practices for Using Secondary Storage as a Backup Solution

Secondary storage devices provide an efficient and dependable method of backing up critical data. On the other hand, using secondary storage as a backup solution necessitates the implementation of best practices to assure data integrity, dependability, and security. Organization, file management, and backup testing are best practices for establishing secondary storage devices.

Data Organization

Organizing data in a structured and consistent manner is crucial for maximizing the benefits of secondary storage. It helps quickly find data, reduces the risk of data loss, and minimizes the chances of backup errors. Moreover, creating a folder hierarchy that makes sense to the user or business, setting consistent naming conventions, and finding and eliminating duplicate files are all examples of proper data organization.

Folder Hierarchy

A folder hierarchy is a method of organizing files and folders logically and efficiently. Establishing a folder hierarchy for your backup data ensures that files are easy to find and backups are complete. For example, suppose your company has multiple departments, like accounting, human resources, and marketing. In that case, you can establish distinct folders to hold their information.

Consistent Naming Conventions

A consistent naming convention makes it easy to identify files and folders and ensures they are backed up accurately. A well-structured naming convention may include the date of creating the file, the file type, and a brief description of the file’s contents. This approach can save time and minimize the likelihood of errors during backups.

Identify and Remove Duplicate Files

Duplicate files can occupy important storage space and increase backup time and cost. As a result, it is critical to identify and eliminate duplicate files to keep backups efficient and cost-effective. Various free and commercial software applications are available to locate and remove duplicate files from your secondary storage device.

File Management

Suitable file management methods are essential for keeping reliable backups and reducing the risk of data loss. The following file management recommended practices can assist in guaranteeing that backups are reliable and efficient.

Implement Version Control

Version control keeps track of file changes and guarantees that prior versions of files are supported in case they need to be accessed. This method entails producing several versions of files over time and assigning version numbers or dates to each.

Maintain a Regular Backup Schedule

A regular backup schedule ensures consistent data backup, reducing the data loss risk. The frequency of backups depends on the value of the data and how often it gets updated. For example, a company that deals with regularly updated data might consider hourly or daily backups. In contrast, a person with primarily the same data should consider weekly or monthly backups.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Encrypting sensitive data before backing it up is critical to protect data security and confidentiality. Encryption prevents unauthorized access to data, making it nearly hard for hackers or other hostile actors to steal important information.

Backup Testing

Testing the backup after transferring data to secondary storage is critical to confirm that it is dependable and that all data has proper backup. After creating a backup, test it to confirm that it’s accurate and can be accessed when needed. By doing this, you can detect any potential issues with the backup, like missing or damaged data.

Additionally, it’s essential to regularly test backups to keep them reliable and current, as this helps to incorporate changes to data and backup procedures. This can also help detect any problems with the backup process before any data loss occurs.

Final Thought

Secondary storage devices are critical components of any backup strategy. They offer a dependable and safe method of storing your data offline, protecting it from loss or harm.

External hard drives, SSDs, and NAS are all popular secondary storage options, each with benefits and drawbacks. When selecting a secondary storage device, consider storage space, speed, dependability, portability, and affordability.

With the correct backup system in place, you can be confident that your data is secure and quickly recoverable in the event of a disaster.

text written by:

Paweł Piskorz, Presales Engineer at Storware