Online backup, also known as remote backup, is a method of offsite data storage in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up on a remote server or computer with a network connection.
By frequently backing up data on a remote hard drive, the risk of catastrophic data loss (such as a result of fire, theft, file corruption, or other disaster) is practically eliminated. With a high-speed Internet connection and a Web browser interface, the remote files and folders appear as if they are stored on an external local hard drive. Encryption and password protection help to ensure privacy and security.
A number of companies provide online backup services for subscribers whose computers are connected to the Internet, automatically copying selected files to backup storage at the service provider's location. A wide range of online backup services are available to suit needs ranging from those of individual consumers to those of large enterprises. For medium-sized and large enterprises or for particularly valuable data, the cost of online backup can prove to be a wise investment.
In a database, an online backup, more often called a hot backup or dynamic backup, is a backup performed on data even though it is actively accessible to users and may currently be in a state of being updated. Online backups can provide a convenient solution in multi-user systems because they do not require downtime, as does a conventional offline (cold) backup.