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Should I Have a Physical Backup and Disaster Recovery Device or Move to the Cloud? 

managed IT Services

Contribution by Nathan Hock, vCIO with Usherwood Technology

IT equipment is complicated topic for most. For this reason, we worked with our skilled team to provide you with answers to the most common questions asked regarding backup and disaster recovery. We hope this knowledge helps to make you feel more confident with your decision making when it comes to making a decision.

First, what is Backup & Disaster Recovery?

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery are similar in the way that they help to minimize the effects on your business when data is lost. Although they both help to prevent an IT catastrophe, the processes of the two are quite different. For this reason, it is important to understand what both Data Backup and Disaster Recover are so you can successfully implement them in your IT infrastructure.

Data backup is when your data is stored in a different storage location then where the original data is. This is so that if any of your data is lost, you can find an extra copy of it in the data backup drive and restore it. By having copies and archives of data, you do not have to worry that your single copy of a file will be lost forever if your hardware were to get a virus, or you accidentally do not save something.

Disaster recovery is a process in place when a disaster occurs, such as an outage where important data could be lost. The reason to plan for disaster recovery is so that you have a plan that can get your data center back up and running and resume normal operations as soon as possible. It is important that you have a written-out plan with all the procedures for each disaster. This way when something happens you know what to do and can simply respond, allowing the recovery time to be as minimal as possible.

Should I Have a Physical Backup and Disaster Recovery Device or Move to the Cloud?

Physical Backup


The nice thing about having a physical backup storage device is that you have all your data physically stored right where you can see it. You will want it to be in a secure space with surveillance to ensure it remains safe from any damage, but if you have this environment, it is unlikely that it will be tampered with. Physical backup drives and servers are also very fast, so you don’t have worry about waiting a long time if you need access to a large file.


The cons to a physical backup device are that it is not safe from physical damage if it is not secure. If anyone was to get their hands on it, they could cause destruction very easily to the system and it would need to be replaced which can be costly, which is why we recommend you place this device in a very secure area.

It is also important to make sure you have a warranty on your device, because if the server dies you will need to go to the manufacturer to get it back up and running. If you don’t have the warranty, it can be a substantial cost that would be out of pocket. We heavily encourage to have it covered for the lifetime of the server.

Another disadvantage is that you do not have access from anywhere like you do with the cloud backup. Many companies had trouble with this when it came to remote workstations and with employees requiring files that they could not access from their homes or remote environments. Physical backups can be very hard to scale if you have a large company with many employees. Increasing backup storage requires purchasing, storing, securing, and managing more equipment.

Cloud Backup


Cloud backup is a remote and online backup that stores important data on an internet-based cloud server. The convenient thing about this is that all the data on cloud is all automatically stored and available to access from anywhere as long as you have internet access.

If you suddenly require more space for storage, no installations are necessary, you can simply purchase more with the click of a button. It is also very hands-off. All your backups can be managed by a trusted managed service provider to ensure it is receiving the necessary updates to stay up and running and secure. For this reason, it is important to know you are working with a reliable and reputable company who will properly manage the cloud backup.


Cloud storage is only as good as your internet access. For instance, if your internet crashes or is acting up it can make accessing files very difficult. Trying to access files with a slow internet connection can be a huge headache and will require some waiting around. If your internet goes down, you will not be able to access your files in the cloud at all. For this reason, it is important to stay on top of important updates and network security to ensure that you have fast internet connection and no delays or crashes.

Any more questions?

We are here to help! We hope that we helped to provide you with a little insight to our thought process here at Usherwood. We love receiving questions from our clients to discover what topics we can help you to better understand in your Managed IT decision making process. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly on linked in or visit our blog. You can also call our Usherwood service line at 800.724.2119. We look forward to hearing more from you!