Backup and recovery terms that you should know in 2023

Backup and recovery terms that you should know in 2023

New Jersey business owners know all too well the havoc that natural and man-made disasters can wreak on their operations, and so should take backup and recovery seriously. Who can forget the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, the costliest natural disaster in the history of the state, in 2012? The storm cost New Jersey businesses up to $30 billion in damages and lost income. Or remember the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017? That attack resulted in an estimated $4 billion in losses. Count yourself lucky if your business was spared of these calamities. Many other businesses are not so fortunate, as such data loss events forced many companies to shut down for good.

While many CEOs and business owners still aren’t very tech-savvy today, it’s in their best interest to be IT-conversant. This isn’t a case of fear of missing out; rather, it’s a case of “be in the know or be left behind.” If you are a business owner or if you run a business in the Garden State, here are essential backup and recovery terms you need to know.

Data backup

Data backup is the process of creating duplicate copies of digital data to safeguard against loss, allowing for data recovery in case of unexpected events or data corruption.

The three types of data backup are:

  • Full backup – a complete copy of all data at a specific point in time.
  • Incremental backup – a backup of only the data that has changed since the last backup. Incremental backups are smaller in size and quicker to create, reducing storage requirements and backup time.
  • Differential backup – involves backing up all changes since the last full backup. Differential backups can be faster to restore from than incremental backups. These backups are larger than incremental backups but smaller than full backups.

Backup media

Backup media are the physical or digital storage devices used to store duplicate copies of data. These media serve as secure repositories for backed-up information.

  • Tape backup – stores data on magnetic tapes, often used for long-term archiving
  • Disk backup – backs up data to hard drives or solid state drives, and is usually faster for both backup and recovery

Backup types

Backup types refer to the various methods of storing duplicate copies of data.

  • Local backup – Data is backed up to a device or server within the same physical location.
  • Off-site backup – Data is copied to a remote location to safeguard against physical disasters such as fires or floods.
  • Cloud backup – Data is stored on remote servers via the internet. These servers are often provided by third-party services like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Recovery terms

Recovery terms are the specific metrics and objectives that define how quickly and completely data should be restored after a data loss event.

  • Recovery point objective (RPO) – the maximum acceptable amount of data loss in case of a disaster
  • Recovery time objective (RTO) – the maximum acceptable time it takes to recover data after a disaster
  • Failover – automatically switching to a backup system or data source to maintain business continuity
  • Failback – transitioning back to the primary system or data source after a failover event

Data retention

Data retention refers to the policy and practices governing how long data should be stored and maintained.

  • Data life cycle management – managing data from creation to deletion, including archiving and disposal
  • Data retention policy – a document outlining how long data should be retained and when it can be deleted
  • Disaster recovery (DR) – the comprehensive strategy and set of processes, including planning, backup, and infrastructure, aimed at restoring IT systems, data, and business operations
  • Disaster recovery plan – a documented strategy for recovering IT systems and data in the event of a disaster

Business continuity plan (BCP)

A BCP ensures that essential business functions can continue during and after a disaster.

Testing and validation

Testing and validation refers to the practice of regularly assessing backup systems and data recovery processes systemically to ensure they function correctly.

  • Backup testing – regularly verifying that backups are working correctly and can be restored
  • Backup validation – ensuring that the data backed up is consistent, complete, and accurate


Encryption is the process of converting data into a secure and unreadable format using algorithms and encryption keys to protect it from unauthorized access or theft.
Data encryption – converting data into a code to protect it from unauthorized access
Encryption key – a piece of information used to encrypt and decrypt data


Compliance is the adherence to specific laws, regulations, and industry standards governing data protection, retention, and security. Different industries have different legal requirements, guidelines, and noncompliance penalties. Three major regulations you need to remember are:

  • HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, relevant for healthcare businesses
  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation, relevant for businesses handling EU citizens' data
  • SOX – the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, relevant for financial reporting and compliance


Data versioning refers to the process of keeping multiple copies or versions of a file, allowing businesses to revert to previous states as needed.

Storage snapshot

A storage snapshot is a point-in-time copy of data that can be used for recovery purposes. It provides a read-only, instantaneous view of data for backup and recovery purposes, allowing for quick data restoration to a specific state.

Backup software

Backup software are applications or tools used to manage and automate the backup and recovery process.

If you want to be more IT-savvy along with your managers and employees, then you should partner with us at Online Computers. We’ll be your expert IT consultants when you need first-rate management and support. Or let our experienced IT professionals train you and your employees to navigate and use your technology effectively. Interested? Contact us today.

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