How often do you back up your business’s data? Research shows that over nine in 10 businesses that experience a catastrophic data loss event don’t recover from it. Rather, they are forced to shut down. While there are different ways to back up your business’s data, differential is a popular backup technique. Many businesses use differential backups to protect against data loss.

What Is a Differential Backup?

A differential backup is a type of backup that involves creating copies of files that have changed since the previous backup. It’s not the same as a full backup. During a full backup, you’ll create copies of all of your business’s files. During a differential backup, on the other hand, you’ll only create copies of modified files.

It may sound confusing, but all differential backups begin with a full backup. You’ll create a full and complete backup initially by copying all of your business’s files. Following this full backup, though, you’ll only create copies of files that have changed since the previous backup. Differential

Advantages of Differential Backups

Since they only require copying changed files, differential backups are fast. You can create differential backups more quickly than full backups. Full backups may take hours, whereas differential backups may take minutes. If you only changed a single file since the previous backup, in fact, the differential backup may take less than a minute to complete. Regardless, differential backups are fast.

You’ll conserve storage space by using differential backups. They won’t clutter your computer’s storage drive with full backups. Differential backups only consist of changed files, so they consume less storage space. If you’re running low on storage space, you may want to choose differential backups.

If you experience a data loss event, you can use a differential backup to recover from it. You’ll have a copy of all of your business’s data — from the last backup. Therefore, a differential backup will restore your business’s lost data.

Disadvantages of Differential Backups

While differential backups can conserve storage space, this isn’t always the case. Over time, the amount of data created with differential backups will grow. Eventually, the size of differential backups may outgrow full backups.

Not all backup software supports differential backups. You can typically create full backups, as well as incremental backups, with most types of backup software. Differential backups, though, are less common, so they aren’t offered by all types of backup software.