Onsite vs. Offsite Backup & Recovery: Which is Best for Your Business?

Choosing between offsite backup and onsite backup solutions can be difficult. But what if you didn't have to choose?

Protect your business’s invaluable data and ensure uninterrupted operations by implementing robust backup solutions.

In today’s digital age, safeguarding your information isn’t just a luxury — it’s a necessity.

As you navigate the maze of backup options, two primary methods emerge at the forefront: onsite and offsite backup solutions.

Defining Onsite and Offsite Backups

Onsite Backups

Familiar Storage Types

Whether it’s the familiar local disk, the efficient local network attached storage (NAS), or the traditional removable hard drives and tapes, on-location data backups provide diverse storage choices tailored to meet various business needs.

Easy Accessibility

Onsite backup media is convenient because it is physically located at your place of business, which makes it easily accessible. If you’re having a problem with your onsite backup hardware, you can simply inspect the hardware on the spot and fix or replace it. Offsite backups don’t offer this same level of accessibility.

Offsite Backups

Your Choice of Storage Types

There are multiple types of off-site file storage solutions. These can include public or private cloud storage, or physical media such as the tried-and-true tape drives and removable hard drives that are stored in a secondary location.

External hard drives that are stored offsite have the added benefit of also being offline – meaning the drives are not connected to any machine or network infrastructure. This is known as “air-gapping” and adds an additional level of protection from cyber-threats.

The defining premise of offsite backups is that they are stored away from your primary business location, giving you site redundancy in case there is a catastrophic event at your office.

Flexible Recovery Capabilities

Offsite data backups offer all the recovery capabilities of their onsite counterparts, along with more flexibility. With an offsite cloud backup solution, you can access the cloud backup from any location. For example, you can recover data from the cloud to a company laptop if the office is not accessible.

Onsite Backups vs. Offsite Backups: The Pros and Cons

Onsite Backups


Immediate Access: With data stored onsite, recovering files or entire systems can be rapid and hassle-free. Simply attach the drive to your system and start the recovery process.

Cost-Effective: Especially when considering simple storage media, on-premise backups are generally more budget friendly. They also tend to require a one-off purchase for each storage media, rather than an ongoing (and often fluctuating) cost of cloud storage.

Physical Control: There’s a tangible sense of ownership and control when your backups are within arm’s reach.


Vulnerability to Local Threats: Whether it’s a natural disaster or onsite security failures, having all data stored in a single location can be risky. If something disastrous happens to your office and you do not have any backups stored offsite, you could lose all your critical data.

Manual Interventions: Best practices call for you to rotate storage devices as part of your backup strategy, ensuring you have multiple copies of your data. This means someone needs to be onsite to physically swap out hard drives on a regular basis. With so many companies now offering remote/work from home flexibility for their employees, there may not necessarily be someone onsite on a regular basis.

Furthermore, hard drives have a fixed storage capacity, and once that limit is reached, you will need to either archive the older backups or add new hard drives. Either way, storage usage will need to be regularly monitored.

Offsite Backups


Enhanced Protection: By storing files away from your primary business location, you’re safeguarded against localized issues that could cause data loss, be it a fire, flood, or theft.

Scalability: With cloud solutions, online storage can grow with your needs, often without the need for direct intervention.

Adherence to 3-2-1 Strategy: All offsite backup types naturally align with the 3-2-1 backup strategy, reinforcing your cyber-resilience.


Potentially Higher Costs: Offsite solutions, especially cloud-based ones, can be more expensive, with fees that might fluctuate unexpectedly according to the amount of data you are backing up to the cloud. However, this can be partially offset with incremental backup strategies.

Slower Recovery Times: Depending on your offsite method, recovering your data might be time-consuming. This is especially true if you have large volumes of data and slower internet speeds, or if you have to travel to your secondary location to collect your physical hard drive.

Complex Cost Structures: With egress fees and various pricing tiers, understanding and predicting expenses can be challenging. Check out our guide to help you estimate cloud storage costs for your backups.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy: The Best of Both Worlds

The 3-2-1 backup strategy encourages a blend of both onsite and offsite backups to protect your business continuity and ensure ongoing cyber-resilience.

Think of the 3-2-1 strategy as a simple formula for success: Maintain 3 copies of your data, store them on at least 2 different types of media, and ensure 1 of those copies is stored offsite.

Managing this strategy can be complex, but BackupAssist makes it easy to utilize both offsite and onsite backups. With BackupAssist Classic, you can tailor your backup and recovery strategy to suit your business with a versatile mix of onsite, offsite, online, and offline backups.

BackupAssist ER has been purposefully designed with the disk-to-disk-to-cloud backup strategy at its core to streamline your local and cloud backups. This helps you achieve predictable and successful recoveries.

Unmatched Resilience

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is more than just numbers—it’s about resilience.

By having duplicate data stored both offsite and onsite, you’re shielding your business from various risks, whether they be natural disasters, technological failures, data breaches, or human error.

Efficiency Meets Security

By having backups at your fingertips (onsite) and others tucked away securely (offsite), you’re optimizing recovery times. In addition, you’re providing the highest level of data protection for your organization.


In this digital-first era, safeguarding business data has transcended from being a mere operational need to a central pillar of organizational resilience.

A balanced backup strategy is not just recommended—it’s essential for the foundation of every operation, from a small business to an enterprise.

With platforms like BackupAssist, integrating both onsite and offsite backup methods into your backup strategy becomes a streamlined, reliable process.

Beyond its seamless backup capabilities, BackupAssist ensures encrypted, scalable, and efficient data protection, aligning perfectly with the 3-2-1 backup strategy.

It’s not just about storing your data but doing so with a trusted partner who prioritizes your data’s integrity and accessibility.

Choose BackupAssist for your balanced onsite and offsite backup strategy.

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