What You Need to Know About Data Backup vs. Data Archive Storage

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Last month, we listed the Top 10 Health IT Predictions for 2015. Safeguarding big data remains a top priority for healthcare CIOs as more than 80 percent of health data is expected to pass through the cloud by 2020. However, while healthcare CIOs are required to ensure protected health information (PHI) is secure and available at all times, there is confusion surrounding data backup and data archive storage. Following are some guidelines for when and how to use each one.

When to use data backup vs. data archive storage

One difference between data backup and data archive solutions is when to use them. Data backups should be an integral part of an organization’s disaster recovery (DR) plan. If an organization’s data and applications are lost due to a cyberattack or simple human error, a data backup can help recover or restore lost or corrupted files. A data backup restores files the way they previously looked before they were compromised.  It can also access a version of a file from a few weeks or months ago.

Unlike data backups, data archives should be used for e-discovery. For example, if an organization is undergoing a HIPAA compliance audit, it may be asked to produce email correspondence containing specific keywords, emails between them and another company, or files and images in a particular directory. Data archives will show a history of files, where and when they existed and who may have changed them.

Data storage capabilities of data archives vs. data backups

Data archives and data backups differ in two ways – how they store data and they type of data they store. Data archive solutions scans a system and archives data as it’s created and received.

For example, if an email or image comes in, it is immediately sent to the archive system.  Unlike data archives, data backup systems run and store a batch of data at once, usually during a specified timeframe.

Another difference between the data archive and data backup systems is the level of detail that each stores. Data archive systems store all of the metadata in a file. For example, when an email comes in, the archive system stores the subject line, the sender and receiver and any key words in the body copy and any attachments (if programmed to do so).Archive systems store this information in a database, which can be searched. While data backup systems store data in a database, it doesn’t provide any search capabilities.

Need help in storing and safeguarding your data assets? The HOSTING team stands ready to help. We offer a full suite of HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions, including the HOSTING Healthcare Archive™ – a vendor neutral solution is designed to provide healthcare organizations with a centralized, cloud-based archive that is fully compliant with HIPAA OCR, HITRUST and PCI audit protocols. Contact us today to learn more.

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