Archiving is the process of protecting records from the ability to be further altered or deleted and storing these records under the control of dedicated data management personnel throughout the required records retention period. Archiving is a formal process of taking a record off-line it to a different location disabling it from any further changes.

Archiving vs. backup

Backup and archiving are often being confused, while in fact, they differ significantly. Data backup means copying the data in order to restore the critical data in case of an unexpected data loss due to various events, like hard drive failure, theft, flood, ransomware attacks, etc. Data archiving, on the other hand, is transferring the data to another location for a long-term storage and it concerns data that is not used actively anymore.

Data backup is a process of duplicating data to allow retrieval of the duplicate set after a data loss event.

Backup is the process of copying data, applications, or files to another disk, tape, secondary computer, or also through a cloud backup solution. It is used to protect crucial data from various risks (e.g. disk failure, natural disasters, theft, system failure, and others). This type of protection enables users to access copies of their data, applications, and files and restores them in case of emergency situations.

The risk of losing data is real and high. In order to avoid data loss and consequently a hold-up in a smooth functioning of business, backups should be made on a regular basis, as a part of a proper and secure Disaster Recovery strategy.

There are some general principles of how the data should be backed up, usually depending on the safety policy as well as on the type of data. Sometimes just one copy is enough, but very often it is required to keep more copies, both on-site and off-site, both locally and in remote sites.

The best backup solution is the one that includes both local and remote solutions and makes copies of data in different time intervals, e.g. once an hour locally and once per day remotely.

Archiving may be done on different media: on the same device, but another disk, on portable devices, online or also on cloud. When archiving the data, you do not copy them, but you move them to long-term data retention. Certain references are created so that it is possible to have access to archived data. However, proper data archiving doesn’t indicate that backup is not required – in fact, the two processes should be combined.


PurposeData used regularlyData is no more actively used
MethodCopies of dataData moving
Destination of data transferOn-site (local) and off-site (remote)