Sync vs Backup

What Is The Difference Between Syncing and Backing Up Files?

This topic can be confusing since the terms “sync” and “backup” are often used to denote the same thing. However, they are two distinct operations. The mass migration to the Cloud makes it essential to understand these terms and their true meaning.


When synced, the most recent file version is copied to a destination.  Applications like Dropbox and Office 365 come to mind. This helps people collaborate by being able to access files in the Cloud. It is critical to remember that the most recent file replaces older versions with the same name.

Syncing replicates the current version of files to another location, overwriting existing files. Some services may hold prior copies for short periods. However, for the most part, previous versions are lost.

In the recent mass migration to the Cloud, many people assumed that their data was being backed up. They were wrong. Sadly, many businesses still don’t realize this flaw in their Disaster Plans.


Backup systems copy files from one location to another at specific points in time. This lets you recover files that were changed or deleted in prior periods. In a ransomware attack, you would be able to recover using a backup prior to the infection. With a system that only syncs files, your data would be lost.

Be careful when selecting a Cloud backup solution. Some Cloud systems only keep prior data for short periods, like 30 to 60 days. Your data would be lost if a file was deleted 60 days ago, and your backups only go back 30 days. At a minimum, you should keep one year’s worth of backups.

Furthermore, your backup strategy should include the data in the Cloud (i.e., Office 365, G Suite, etc.), your servers, workstations, and mobile devices. Most people don’t realize the amount of data they have stored in emails, SharePoint, Teams, etc. Back it all up!

 XSolutions is an Elite Partner of Datto, the world leader in Hybrid-Cloud Business Continuity solutions whose systems protect 460+ Petabytes of data with over 1400+ employees and 9 offices around the globe. Call (845) 362-9675 and let us introduce you to the ultimate defense against data loss—whatever the cause. Backup & Disaster Recovery | Business Continuity | Data Risk Assessment