Computer Network Services and the Difference Between Backups and Archives

Computer Network Services

When it comes to retaining your business’ information, there are two methods: backups and archives. As a provider of computer network services, NobleNetworks feels that it is important to understand the core differences between these two concepts. Depending on your needs, one may be preferable to the other or – as is the case most of the time – you may find yourself needing a mix of the two methods. In today’s post, we’re going to look at the differences between backups and archives and, more importantly, discuss why – and when – each method should be used.


Backups are copies that can be used to restore lost data in the event that the original data is lost, corrupted, or destroyed. The fundamental goal of backups is to quickly return your systems to a functioning state in the event of data loss. Typically used with data that is frequently changed, backups are a “snapshot” of the data in its current form and aim to restore your system quickly, with as little data loss as possible.

Constantly updated based on an interval that you define, backups usually have a retention time, as well. This retention time defines how long the data is preserved until it is overwritten by new backups. In this way, backups create a permanently rotating “buffer” – similar to your computer’s recycle bin – that allows you to restore – and revert – to slightly older versions of essential information, in the event that the original is no longer accessible.


Archives, on the other hand, are a point in time copy of your data. They are rarely – almost never – used to restore from system failures. Unlike backups, archives typically do not get overwritten and are designed to be a static, unchanging reference of what your data looked like when you made them.

In most cases, archives are used for data that is no longer in use, such as old databases or documents that aren’t updated but are occasionally referenced. They are also commonly used to store temporary data that doesn’t need to be immediately available but may need to be referenced in the future, especially for legal or compliance reasons.

At NobleNetworks, we provide our clients with a comprehensive set of computer network services. If you’re concerned about your business’ backup and archival processes, we encourage you to reach out to us today to discuss how we can help.