Digital Archiving vs. Backup: Differences and Business Benefits


Digital archiving and document backup solutions play unique roles and provide specific benefits for your business. Although they work hand in hand to support your document management system, key differences impact the accessibility and functionality of the two document storage methods. Here we look at each, compare the differences and list the business benefits of leveraging both.

What is Digital Archiving?

Digital archiving services help manage long-term data while freeing up space on your short-term data storage system. Your digital archives ensure you remain compliant with retention regulations while also providing a record of information that might come in handy down the road. You can archive documents you consider inactive and that no longer require regular access. The digital archive software is secure and stores data to remain compliant while also using indexing to make it easy to search and retrieve old digital files as needed. As a result, you have an ongoing reference of information available should you require it in the future.

Digital archiving offers several benefits, including:

  • It frees up space in your current document management system
  • Inactive records retention ensures you comply with industry or government regulations
  • You can free up physical space by scanning paper documents for archiving purposes
  • Indexing makes it easier for your team to search and find old files based on several cross-referencing keywords and meta tags for quicker retrieval of archived documents
  • You can ensure you have access to older documents for legal purposes, from HR disputes to client lawsuits 

An effective archiving system is worth implementing as it will optimize the space in your day-to-day document management software.

What is Digital Backup?

Digital backups ensure you have a copy of all your digital files providing dependable data loss prevention. Whether it is hardware failure, natural disaster, breaches, or loss, you can instantly restore a complete library of all your stored documents. Day-to-day errors also avoid disaster with a backup ready in case of accidental deletion, overrides, edits, etc.

Document backups ensure you always have a second copy available should something happen to the original. More importantly, data is backed up daily, so you always have a copy of the most recent version. Backups are critical to your business operations for several reasons, including:

  • It replaces documents that are lost, deleted, damaged, or altered
  • You always have backup documentation with the most recent version of all active documents in use by your enterprise in case of unauthorized edits
  • You can instantly restore your entire document management system document by document in case of disaster or system failure
  • You create a secure storage system to keep all data safe for dependable document disaster recovery
  • You avoid disruptions to your business should there be accidental or intentional damage to files
  • You avoid disaster in the case of data breaches that might seek to destroy critical data

Using a digital backup service such as MEDI provides several automated document backups a day, ensuring you always have the most recent document available. 

What is the Main Difference Between Backups and Archives?

Backup systems allow you to quickly restore the most recent versions of lost or damaged active data, while archives provide long-term storage for complete records of inactive data. The two distinct functions make it necessary to use both as part of an effective document management strategy.

Digital Backup vs. Archiving

Digital backup provides a quick and easy document restoration solution so you can almost instantly recover data if documents are lost, deleted, or altered. However, backups are limited to the most recent version. Should you need to find a later version, your backup does not offer this option. This is where digital archives come in. Your digital archives include a history of your records, whether it is a client’s invoices, patient records, legal documents, contracts, or versions of ads used throughout the years. 

As a result, you have more advanced technology. Archiving software solutions allow you to maintain a tidy primary document storage system while keeping complete records of data versions throughout the lifecycle of a document, ready to retrieve with a quick search. Although you might want to keep backups in the longer term as your archiving system, data backup systems aren’t designed with the same functionality. 

They are quite limited and can’t act as a data retrieval system. They are also designed to override versions with the latest data, so you end each business day with a current version. Digital archives maintain the same functions as your active document management system, using the same keywords and metadata to make retrieval easy.

Why You Need Digital Archiving

Digital archiving provides secure, long-term data storage with quick access to files. It is a critical tool serving multiple purposes, including:

  • An audit trail to prove compliance with regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Transparency via version retention
  • A quick reference point for all document types and departments
  • Historical data to improve business decisions
  • A time-saving document storage solution using indexing for quick reference
  • Minimizing the risk of legal problems by storing records for HR, taxes, contracts, invoicing, procedural manuals, etc.
  • Your digital archiving system serves as your data preservation system to support your current document management system

Why You Need Data Backup

Data backup and data loss prevention software solutions ensure quick and efficient data recovery for disaster resilience that minimizes downtime. As a result, your business can:

  • Avoid downtime: Disruptions related to hardware failures, disasters, data breaches, and human error are avoided to minimize downtime with quick disaster and document recovery. An effective system like MEDI backs up data and captures snapshots of servers and workstations every few minutes for real-time backups stored on the cloud.
  • In the event you need to rebuild a server, more advanced backup solutions will allow you to spin up a server in the cloud in minutes rather than days.
  • Reduce damage caused by bad actors: Cybersecurity issues and ransomware attacks are a constant threat. Cloud-based backup solutions use encryption for safe storage, allowing you to bounce back in minutes.
  • Avoid data loss: Data loss can result from numerous issues, meaning backup is necessary to recover data, including digitized paper documents. With the proper backup solution, the system performs several daily backups allowing you to restore lost data that is always up to date.
  • Improve security: Backups ramp up security to protect your data from breaches and ransomware attacks. File sync & share solutions also enable safe collaboration.

Because digital archiving and backup each provide essential roles in data management, you need practical solutions for each. Leveraging both systems ensures complete data protection that enhances your document management and improves overall business efficiency.

MEDI’s team of archive and backup solutions experts can help you find effective solutions to protect and retain data. Click here to set up a free consultation.