Tape or Cloud: Which Data Storage Solution is Right for Your Business?

Tue, Oct 16, 2018
By: Jim Beran
Tape or Cloud: Which Data Storage Solution is Right for Your Business?

How do you back up your valuable business data? Every small business needs to create regular and reliable backups and then store them in a way that protects them.

While many companies look to cloud-based services when they search for a data storage solution, it’s becoming increasingly common for some businesses to take a more old-school approach. Before cloud back-ups became the norm, a lot of organizations used tape data storage. It turns out there are benefits to taking a step back to the “old days” of data storage.

The Benefits and Risks of Tape Data Storage

Tape data storage involves putting a tape into your server (or a separate backup drive) each night to create a copy of your most important data. In days past, it was common for companies to use a rotating collection of tapes to ensure they always had a current backup of their data.

It might surprise you to know that there are some significant benefits to using tapes to create your backups. For example:

  • Tape data storage brings your data storage off the grid. That makes your sensitive data less vulnerable to cyber breaches and bad actors – and for some companies, it may be worth trading some technological bells and whistles to get that security.
  • Using tapes to back up your data puts you in charge of your backups. You can let your tapes run overnight and come in to a new backup every day.
  • While tape storage might come with some risks, there are ways to mitigate it. For example, you can designate one employee to bring the most recent backup home. That way, in the event of a disaster at the office, your data is safe.
  • Tapes can be less expensive than cloud-based solutions.

Some risks to keep in mind include:

  • Tapes may be corrupted or ruined in a way that cloud backups can’t.
  • Creating a tape backup takes longer than creating a cloud backup.
  • There’s a limit to how much data a tape can hold, whereas there are no such limits on cloud storage and backup.

Very large companies with huge backups to create may not be able to rely on tapes. But, smaller companies with limited data backup and storage needs may find that tape data storage is the best and most affordable option available to them.


The Benefits and Risks of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is modern, fast, and reliable. Many large companies rely on cloud data storage to keep their information safe. Here are some of the benefits of using a cloud-based storage solution:

  • Cloud-based backups can be created in a fraction of the time it takes to create a tape backup.
  • Cloud backups aren’t prone to physical damage the way tapes are.
  • You’ll be able to access your data from anywhere even if your server is damaged or your office is under water.

However, there are some potential downsides to cloud storage and they all have to do with security. For example:

  • If the cloud-based servers that store your data are hacked, you run the risk of losing your data and not being able to get it back.
  • Lost data can cause an erosion of customer trust and loyalty and cause you to lose business.
  • If you have an issue with your wireless connection, you won’t be able to create a backup or access your data.

While the cloud has some real technological advantages over a tape-based system, there is a risk that your servers might be targeted by cybercriminals.

Which Option is Best for Your Company?

Which option is best for your storage needs: a tape-based storage system or a cloud-based system? Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Tape-based systems are ideal for small to medium-sized businesses with limited data storage needs.
  2. Cloud-based systems are best for large companies or companies with huge amounts of data to back up regularly.
  3. Tape-based systems may be less expensive than cloud-based solutions.
  4. Tapes are prone to physical damage in a way that cloud storage is not.

You’ll need to evaluate your particular needs to choose the option that’s best able to provide you with reliable backups of your essential data.


Whether you use tapes or a cloud-based solution, the important thing is that you create regular, reliable backups of your valuable business data.

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