Difference between Sync and Backup

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The act of copying data from one area to another, typically from one hard drive to another, is what we normally call as "backing up." This can be done manually or automatically.

Synchronization is the process of ensuring that two different sites have the same collection of files by manually or automatically copying or deleting them as required. Syncing is a faster option, but it comes with a risk.

Read through this article to find out more about Sync and Backup and how they are different from each other.

What is Sync?

Synchronization (sync) is the process of ensuring that data in different locations on a system or across several systems are same. For instance, if there is an application in which data is changed, then these changes should also be applied to the systems that are using the data from this application. This is because these systems are dependent on the data from the application.

The purpose of synchronization is to bring modifications made in separate locations up to date. There are six types of Sync:

  • Fast Sync (Two-way Sync)
  • Slow Sync
  • One-way Sync from Client
  • One-way Sync from Server
  • Refresh Sync from Client
  • Refresh Sync from Server

Characteristics of Sync

Syncing the data makes it much simpler to work together on a project since it enables several users to access the same data at the same time. This is accomplished by granting each user the appropriate rights before allowing them to collaborate on the data.

  • Syncing takes less time (as compared to backup) and the modifications are reflected within a few seconds' time.
  • Overwriting takes place at the time of syncing. The files with the most recent version are rewritten on the files with the older versions in order to make the data same in both locations.
  • Synchronisation of data occurs in real time. Syncing is important for realtime business objectives such as trading, marketing, stocks, and other similar activities.

Drawbacks of Syncing

The fact that syncing involves overwriting the old files results in the loss of any previous versions of those files, which is a significant drawback.

Synchronization magnifies the impact of ransomware attacks since, by its very nature, if data in one area is corrupted, it will also damage the data stored in other sites due to the fact that it is synchronised.

What is Backup?

Backup is the process of making copies of data in order to retain a copy of the data in the event that the system fails. Each and every piece of data is useful at some point in time, hence there is a need for backup so that duplicate data can be obtained, when necessary, in the event that the original data source becomes corrupt.

There are three different varieties of backups −

  • Full Backup
  • Incremental Backup
  • Differential Backup

Characteristics of Backup

Taking a backup helps in recovering the precious data, should there be any reasons that makes the systems inaccessible.

  • Even if the data at one site is lost or stolen, you won't have to worry about it at the other location where it is backed up.

  • Backups can be created either offline or online, depending on the requirements of the situation.

  • To protect against the possibility of losing data, the most effective method for backing up data involves creating three copies of each file that are then kept in two separate locations.

Restrictions of Backup

Since new data is added on a daily basis, it is necessary to take regular backups because older backups will not be able to restore the newly added data. Hence, the backup process needs to be scheduled at regular intervals.

The necessity of ensuring the safety of the data being backed up also contributes to an increase in costs associated with the backup procedure. Because of this, the cost of backing up data is increased.

Difference between Sync and Backup

The following table highlights the major differences between Sync and Backup −

Basis of comparison Sync Backup
Basic Synchronization is the process of making data or information from separate locations equal to one another. The procedure of creating duplicate copies of data for the purpose of maintaining data safety in the event that the original data is lost.
Copy Files File copies are bidirectional in nature. Backup is a one-way copy of the files.
Operation This is accomplished through the use of two operations: copying and deleting. It only involves a single operation, which is copying files from one location to another.
Process The procedure moves really quickly. It is a process that requires a lot of time.
Information All locations and systems share the same version of the information. Due to the fact that new data may have been added to the system after the backup, there is a possibility that the information will not be identical.
Function It is a necessary process for the application to function properly. It is not required for normal function, but rather for emergency scenarios.
Data Data is synced between separate processes or apps. Backups can be stored on the same device or in a different device or location.
Occurrence It is a regular occurrence. It occurs in a less frequent manner.


I hope this article helped you in identifying how Sync differs from Backup. You can browse through more resources to learn how to back up data locally and, in the Cloud, as well as sync the two

Updated on 10-Aug-2022 07:15:14