The two largest data storage strategies used in enterprise today are backups and archives. Although these two terms are frequently used interchangeably, they actually refer to different technologies and approaches to storing key enterprise data.
About Data Backups
The purpose of a data backup is to assist with disaster recovery efforts. Backups are used to restore files that may have been lost due to user error or malware infections. They are also useful for replacing files whose current versions have become corrupted. Accidental deletions of files or a hard drive crash are events whose effects can be mitigated if the enterprise has maintained an adequate backup of key files and data.
About Data Archives
Data archives, on the other hand, are not intended to provide a backup copy of a file in case of some form of electronic disaster. Instead, archives are primarily intended to assist enterprises with the requirements of e-discovery. These requirements, established by state and federal laws, are relatively recent in origin, but they are subject to frequent changes in case law.
Data archives allow enterprise staff to find specific files that meet the requirements of a specific discovery request. Such requests may, for example, require enterprises to furnish all email messages to or from a certain address. They may instead be focused on a particular set of keywords; requiring enterprises to furnish any and all documents of any sort that contain the designated words or phrases.
Enterprises should consider an IT consulting model to determine if their current backup and archive systems are sufficient to meet enterprise needs in these different situations.