Full vs Incremental Backup

Creating a backup of your data is crucial, whether you’re a business or home user. You also need to be sure that in the event of a data loss incident, you can undertake data recovery and restore your backup. There are several types of backups that you might want to consider undertaking.

The most fundamental data backup strategy is the full backup, and here, a copy of all the data in a dataset is copied and backed up. Although it is the most time-consuming method, and uses the most space, it is clearly the best strategy for protecting your data; it is much easier to restore data from a full backup. You can do a full backup once a week, and then do what are known as incremental backups.

An incremental backup is a type of backup where only data that has changed since the last backup is copied to the backup device. The main advantage of an incremental backup is that it is the least space and time-consuming method of protecting your data. The downside, however, is that when undertaking data recovery and restoring the data, you’ll need to reconstruct it from the last full backup and all the intervening incremental backups.

There is a third option, known as a synthetic full backup. This takes a full backup and combines it with all subsequent incremental backups, providing a full backup that’s always up to date, making data recovery a last resort. 

Data Recovery