Traditional Backup System vs Modern Data Protection

One of the vital tasks that data centres handle is the establishment of secure and dependable backup systems. If you lose data, the measures you have put in place to tackle such situations determine the severity of the event. Adopting traditional backup methods or modern data protection methods can prevent or mitigate the effects of an unpleasant event. The sudden transition to remote work has undoubtedly placed several workers of an organisation under additional pressure. Business entities that facilitate remote communication, such as IT support, internet service providers, video chat applications, etc., have to deliver more productivity.

Additionally, these entities help workers protect their customers’ data and secure and store it properly.  However, contingencies are always bound to happen. The causes are vast; unsecured home networks, unstable internet connection, unauthorised access to one’s personal computer, etc. When these unprecedented events occur, it is better to have a backup and recovery system in place to prevent data loss. But what’s it going to be, traditional backup systems or modern methods of data protection?

Storware affirms that the primary goal of data backup is to be able to recover data and applications. With the advent and evolution of more sophisticated technology, the value of data and the amount of dangers it is exposed to has increased. This birthed the next step towards modernisation to develop mechanisms that facilitate efficient disaster recovery and promote business continuity.

Traditional Data Backup

Traditional data backup is a long-established mode of backing up data at an organisation’s main site. This is why it is also referred to as Local backup. Organisations using traditional backup data usually employ disk-based hardware to secure their data. The utilised backup software has been instructed to copy data to these hardware storage sites.

This software can be coupled with the hardware or programmed to function independently. This method also utilised data reduction features such as deduplication to compress the amount of data backed up on these hardware devices. TechTarget affirms that tapes were the most commonly used devices for traditional backup before the advent of disks in the early 2000s. When tapes were used, an organisation transferred data to a tape cartridge located in a library.

Nevertheless, several organisations still use tapes today, usually for offline protection against ransomware, cyberattacks, and durable archiving. An alternative to tapes for traditional backup is external hard drives.  Smaller businesses adopted external hard drives because they appeared to be a more basic mode of backup that simply transfers data to the drive.

Modern Data Protection

On the other hand, modern data protection entails the process of protecting data against loss, compromise, corruption, and attacks. Modern data protection doesn’t only involve data backup. It also entails data recovery and reuse and covers the entire techniques an organisation uses to safeguard data and maintain its availability for services and operations. Most modern data protection utilises cloud backup.

The ideology behind data protection has always been the issue of redundancy. An organisation can not afford to be nonchalant about its data and should always have a backup. Nevertheless, backing up data is just a little part of the overall process if we’re being practical. Data protection is an operation that manages your recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives for the most important services in an organisation.

Comparison Of Traditional Data Backup With Modern Data Protection

Modern data protection has witnessed a huge increase in popularity. In addition to existing vendors who possess more cloud capabilities, new cloud storage and backup platforms are emerging. The simplicity and volume of cloud backup provide organisations with everything they need to protect their data securely.

Even at so, enterprises that provide traditional backups are not sitting idle. Disk transfer speeds and tape storage capacities have been improving and increasing over the years. However, an organisation that sticks with local backup for a long period may encounter some hitches when transitioning to modern data protection strategies. But the IT staff can handle this if they have adequate know-how. Also, several organisations choose to combine both methods. This decision comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Traditional Data Backup  Modern Data Protection 
Involves copying data to a physical device, usually disk-based hardware operated by backup software Process of copying data over a network to an off-site or virtual storage site ( server) managed by a service provider.
Organisations that use traditional backups need to be conscious of space, cost, and installation processes. Relatively easier to scale and possess limitless storage capabilities. However, the cost of operating increases as space increases.
On-premises hardware can be accessed easily, provided there is no disaster at the location. Nevertheless, the speed of data recovery varies. Disks are very fast in terms of data recovery, while tapes are slow. Modern Data backup schemes are easier to access if you have access to the internet. However, recovering data from these schemes might take a little time, based on the volume of data they hold.
The more sophisticated local backup devices possess some security features. However, they are still susceptible to cyberattacks, natural disasters, or workplace hazards. Significantly mitigates concerns associated with data storage, as end-to-end security is a primary feature of every modern data protection strategy.
An organisation’s IT staff must handle its local data backup. Hence, an organisation may prefer its management rather than seeking the providers’ services. The cloud provider handles data management, especially for businesses that do not have the resources.
The chances of recovering the data after a disaster depend on the severity of the disaster. Data recovery might not be feasible if there’s a disaster at the primary site of storage. In downtimes, failing over to a cloud disaster recovery platform isn’t hard. Even though recovering the data can be arduous due to its volume, this varies with internet speed.


Traditional data protection was all about backup—simply copying data. And its effectiveness is being doubted due to several reasons, such as the cost of storage and the fact that data that is not used might become dead. However, the modern data protection strategies have integrated new opportunities in using this data. The modernised data protection process includes several processes: data backup, processing, recovery, and reuse.

Risks Associated With Traditional Backup Systems

Using traditional backup systems comes with some risks.

  • Risk of a Single Point Failure

When it comes to hardware risks, some circumstances are related to proprietary appliance backup mechanisms.  These issues can bring a single-point failure into the data protection process. If an organisation uses local backup devices that gather the whole backups and transfer them as a whole to the cloud, it can experience interruptions when there’s a device failure.

Also, if the hardware backup system reaches its capacity, the backup process is interrupted, and there’s a possibility of not discovering the issue until after multiple backup cycles.

  • No Off-site Backups

Traditional backup systems utilise disks and tapes to store backup data. This implies that the data is handed over to physical backup devices at the organisation’s location susceptible to damage. Growing businesses may not fully utilise the benefits of proper storage hardware management. In a situation whereby a company’s backup storage is situated under a water pipe, and the pipe starts to leak, the stored data can be permanently lost.

Likewise, the threat of natural disasters can also come into play. If the entire backups of an organisation are stored in one location, any destructive event that occurs at that site will most likely wipe out the whole backup system. This can be catastrophic for the owners.

On the other hand, modern data protection entails direct-to-cloud backups that eliminate the security risks of relying on storage devices at the customer’s location. This feature securely stores and professionally manages an organisation’s data in an ISO-certified data centre. The stored data remains intact if a natural disaster occurs at the customer location.

  • Lack Of Accountability

When an organisation partners with multiple vendors to protect its data, accountability can be a concern. This is the case with traditional backup systems. These local backup methods require three vendors: a backup software provider, a local data storage provider, and a cloud service provider to store a reliable offsite copy.

An issue emerges if recovery fails; ascertaining who and what is the cause of the failure and how to handle the issue becomes difficult. Vendors may start to point fingers, blaming one another, and such an organisation might have no choice but to deal with two or three different support organisations at a stressful time.

However, modern data protection techniques integrate backup software and cloud storage into one general solution with end-to-end accountability. In the event of a failure, an organisation has only one vendor partner and one support team at its service. This way, the staff can spend less time tracking down the failure’s source and more time delivering a top-notch experience to your customers.


Traditional Backup System Modern Data Protection
Traditional backup systems have limited scalability. The process of increasing space is labour-intensive because the organisation has to purchase more storage devices and install them. Almost all modern data protection systems are internet-dependent, especially cloud backups. When data is stored on cloud backup, it can only be accessed via the internet.
Associated with a high cost of maintenance. The staff has to be dedicated to managing and maintaining traditional backup systems. Most backup providers try to keep their customers in a long-term contract. This means even if their data storage and backup needs reduce, they still pay the amount stated in the agreement.

Business Needs

Organizations that want to decide the type of data backup system to adopt should consider the benefits each of these methods can offer and how they can address their pressing needs. Even though modern data protection methods continue to gain ground, traditional backup systems still come in handy for some businesses. A more suitable approach will be to combine both methods if the budgets and resources are available. The combination of modern data protection and traditional backup systems provides excellent data protection and backup.

Storware Backup and Recovery is the perfect example of data protection software that combines best of both worlds: it can work as an independent backup island or as a proxy for legacy backup systems. Get the free Trial or contact us if you are interested in a one-on-one demo.

Paweł Mączka Photo

text written by:

Pawel Maczka, CTO at Storware