A guide to information backup in general practice

Types of backup

Cloud backup

Login and upload to the cloud

This process is ongoing backup to a storage medium that is always connected to the internet. The term ‘cloud’ refers to the backup storage facility being accessible from the internet. Cloud backup is different to online backup in that the data can be accessed securely from any other computer with an internet connection.

Good pyhsical protection
Easy to access
Files are automatically backed up
Data is replicated across several storage media
More expensive than local backups
Slow initial backups
Slow to restore
Requires fast internet connection for optimal performance


A process in which files in multiple locations update each other – copying changes back and forth – whether it be real-time local or offsite. There are many different file synchronisation software packages.

Local backup

Backup by connecting directly to a storage device

Any backup where the storage medium is kept close at hand. Typically, the storage medium is plugged directly into the computer that is being backed up.

Good protection from hard-drive failures, virus attacks, accidental deletes
Fast backup and restore
Low cost
Backups are easily obtained
Full internal control over the backup device (no third party involved)
Does not offer good physical protection from theft and natural disaster
Prone to virus attack and accidental deletes
Offsite backup

Backup by connecting to a storage device and relocate offsite

The backup storage medium is kept at a different geographic location from the source. The backup is initially completed locally on the usual storage devices. The storage medium becomes an offsite backup once it is taken to another location.

Offers additional protection from natural + disasters in comparison to local backup Requires more due diligence to bring the storage media to the offsite location » Increased handling increases risk of damaging the device

Defense in depth

A strategy whereby security controls are multi-layered throughout an IT system in order to reduce the risk of network attack.

Online backup

Login via internet and upload directly to a storage device offsite

A storage medium that is always connected via the internet and is usually located offsite.

Good physical protection
Data is replicated across several storage media
Frequent backups
Requires little manual interaction after setup
More expensive than local backups
Initial backups are slow
Slow to restore
This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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