Important Cloud Storage and Data Backup Terminology

For those who are new to the world of cloud storage and data backups, there might be a few terms or services that are somewhat unfamiliar. Cloud computing and data backups are recent developments in technology, relatively speaking, and this naturally leads to some terminology that might confuse people who are new to it – but if you’re considering such forms of storage, either for personal or business needs, knowing some of the basics here can have several benefits.

At Storage Whale, we’re proud to offer both business and personal cloud storage and data backup services, offering simplified solutions that allow our clients to understand exactly how we’re protecting and securing their data, plus assisting with backups, disaster recovery and related themes. Our services range from personal needs like unlimited photo storage and several other areas to in-depth business needs such as protecting large quantities of sensitive data in the workplace.

What are a few of the simplest, but most important, terms and areas to be aware of within the realm of cloud storage? Here are several to keep in mind.

cloud storage data backup terminology

Cloud, Cloud Backups and Cloud Migration

First and foremost, let’s define the cloud itself for those who are still wondering exactly what it is. “Cloud” is actually a very broad term in this case, one that refers to any software system that utilizes hardware connected to the internet and has access to that system via the internet. There are several different cloud services or major companies involved in this realm.

Now, the cloud itself would be mostly useless if it were not for cloud backups, which are also known simply as online backups. These refer to any service that’s able to replicate the data on a local hard drive or file system, then store that same duplicated data in the cloud. Rather than being performed using physical file locations for the backup, this process is conducted over a traditional internet connection, and this allows you to access the duplicate data anywhere, from any web browser. The direct goal of cloud backup systems is to protect against data loss, plus maximize how quickly you can recover and restore any data that does happen to be lost.

Finally, cloud migration refers to moving your data and applications from on-site backup systems to cloud-based systems. This is a process that’s become common over the last decade.

Cloud Sync

Also sometimes called cloud drives or just file sync services, cloud syncing is the process of replicating files across multiple local hard drives utilizing an internet connection. The most common process for this involves a specific drive or virtual folder being created on the machine itself, then this folder being replicated from there.

The primary goal of cloud sync is to make data-sharing easy and straightforward. Instead of needing to take the time to attach a file to an email and access rights, you can simply sync a copy of the data using cloud sync, allowing both parties access to it at the same time. You’ve almost certainly used this technology at some point even if you aren’t aware of it – programs like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and others all utilize this cloud sync method constantly.


Is it possible to transfer data from one cloud system to another? Absolutely, and this is known as cloud-to-cloud backup. This process involves no data from a local hard drive, but only data that’s in the cloud space.

Once again, you’ve likely utilized services that use cloud-to-cloud backups regularly. Do you have a Gmail account, for instance? This and other similar apps utilize cloud-to-cloud backups all the time, and they’re common across these sorts of web-based applications. These systems are designed to extract data from these apps and move them to separate cloud storage systems, confirming that if some kind of security breach takes place, user data isn’t destroyed entirely. Cloud-to-cloud systems are known to improve productivity and efficiency within workplaces, among other areas.

Cloud Region

Now, despite cloud services being internet-based, they are still broken down into regions based on geography. Most cloud service providers offer services in several regions, both for security reasons and to serve the highest number of clients possible. However, in these cases, cloud region will still be used to describe the actual legal jurisdiction where data is physically being stored.

This isn’t only for security reasons, either. Offering services in multiple regions also limits transmission latency in the data, which is beneficial for many clients.


Connected to the world of cloud storage and cloud backups is what’s known broadly as SaaS, or software-as-a-service. SaaS refers to an alternative to traditional computer software based on a simple concept: How the programs are accessed, and how data is created or loaded into these applications.

For most normal programs, your computer uses its hard drive for the installation of software, plus for all related transfers of data to and from that software. However, within SaaS services, applications are instead accessed through a web browser. Any data created by or loaded into these applications will be stored on non-local cloud-based web servers, with users paying a monthly subscription model rather than a single licensing fee. There are numerous individuals or businesses who may benefit from the use of SaaS services, which borrow from several important cloud backup and storage themes.

For more on important terms to be aware of within the cloud storage and backup realm, or to learn about any of our data backup services, speak to the staff at Storage Whale today.