File Backup vs Image Backup Which to Use and When

image backup vs file backup

Most SMB clients simply see “backup” as a standard procedure that entails making a duplicate of their data. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) understand that there are numerous methods and options available to accomplish this goal, nevertheless. This article seeks to clarify the distinctions between the two main backup types: file backup vs image backup, as well as give instances of when each can be used most successfully.

What is file and folder backup?

Tools for backing up files and folders are used to protect crucial corporate data against destruction, loss, and corruption. As contrast to system-generated files, executables, or other comparable files, these software solutions are particularly made to back up user-created files. They can backup and recover files rapidly and efficiently because of their high level of specialization.

What is image backup?

An image backup records the whole system at a certain point in time, including the operating system, system settings, application data, patches, and files. This makes it possible for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to rebuild a system or restore data to another machine, whether physical or virtual, in the event of a disaster.

The key benefit of image backup is that it takes the guesswork out of selecting which files and folders to backup/recover and which to leave alone. It also gets rid of the difficulties that could result from having to reinstall and reconfigure systems in the event of large malware infections or other catastrophes. The equivalent drawback of picture backup and recovery, on the other hand, is that because of its comprehensive nature, it can be more time-consuming, resource-intensive, and expensive.

Also Read: Microsoft 365 Lighthouse Overview

When to Choose for File and Folder Back up

Most end users in small businesses don’t need highly customized devices or endpoints to do their operational tasks. Workstations and laptops used by staff members typically have basic customizations, including a few lines of business or productivity programs, a few minor security configuration tweaks, and sometimes some setting adjustments that increase productivity. In an emergency, an RMM solution may easily duplicate each of these. Most of the time, their most valuable assets are the data stored on their gadgets. For instance, executives may insist on having important documents securely saved on their computers and easily available whenever needed. Therefore, file backup is a clear decision for a variety of reasons.

4 Reasons Why File Backup is a Clear Choice for Small Businesses

  1. Restoration speed: File and folder backup solutions are perfect for unintentional file deletion or corruption because they are optimized for speedy restoration of individual files or complete folders remotely. Even end users themselves can restore files.
  • Restore flexibility: This can make restoration difficult, particularly when doing it to hardware that is different. Instead of downloading the complete image in these circumstances, it might be quicker and more practical to utilize a fresh installation of Windows and restore files.
  • Mobility: For distributed or remote workforces, image backup solutions might be expensive. A more mobile and remote workforce is made possible by file and folder backup’s minimal storage requirements.
  • Cost of storage: Image backups can be highly expensive and huge, frequently taking up to 20 GB for a device with only system files. When paying for storage, this expense may increase quickly. A cost-effective method of providing data security for devices that don’t need full image backups is file and folder backup.

Also Read: A Brief History of Azure Rights Management

When is image backup more ideal?

Image backup is intended to help sophisticated, mission-critical systems like servers recover from disasters. In the event of a disaster, it offers full bare-metal recovery to reduce downtime. Although some products for image backup also provide file and folder-level restoration, this is not their main purpose. To minimize the impact on the business of their clients, MSPs can quickly virtualize a server during an outage until a new physical server can be set up.

When purchasing and configuring a new machine takes more time than an image restoration, it is advised to create an image backup instead. Additionally, it helps when the higher storage costs are justified by the possible losses brought on by downtime.

Overall, image backup is good for fast virtualization during outages and catastrophe recovery of key systems, but it may not be required for routine file- and folder-level restoration.

Another Thoughtful Read: Global 5G Technology Market To Be Driven By Fast Network And Digitization


Although a lot of MSPs prefer to use picture backup as their main data security strategy, having a trustworthy file and folder backup software is crucial. Even though file and folder backup solutions let MSPs provide more efficient backup across more endpoints at better margins, image backup is still necessary for the disaster recovery of key systems.

Therefore, it’s crucial for MSPs to integrate a dependable file and folder backup solution into their stack rather than depending exclusively on image backup. By doing this, MSPs will be able to provide a more thorough data protection solution that can handle a variety of situations while ensuring more financial success.

Ultimately, MSPs should try to balance file and folder backup with image backup, depending on the demands of their clients and the necessary level of data protection.

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Author Bio

Fazal Hussain is a digital marketer working in the field since 2015. He has worked in different niches of digital marketing, be it SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, PPC, or content marketing. He loves writing about industry trends in technology and entrepreneurship, evaluating them from the different perspectives of industry leaders in the niches. In his leisure time, he loves to hang out with friends, watch movies, and explore new places.

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