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This article applies to Code42 for Enterprise version 4.

Other available versions:

Version 6 | Version 5icon.qnmark.png

Code42 Support

Compare cloud backup and cloud sync and share

This article applies to Code42 for Enterprise version 4.

Other available versions:

Version 6 | Version 5icon.qnmark.png


This article describes how cloud backup differs from cloud sync and share services. While there are some similarities between the two, they are designed for different purposes, and therefore, there are some key differences to consider.

For more on the benefits of cloud backup versus cloud storage, see our executive brief Top 3 Iron-Clad Reasons Why File Sync/Share is Not Endpoint Backup.

Basic differences

At the most basic level, cloud backup is designed to securely back up all your files and keep them safe so you can easily restore your files. Cloud sync and share services are intended to make a subset of your files available for syncing and sharing with other devices or people. Ultimately, whether cloud backup or cloud sync and share services are best for you depends on the features that interest you most.

For more information, read our detailed description of cloud backup, cloud sync and share services, as well as frequently asked questions below.

What is cloud backup?

Cloud backup services, like Code42, create a copy of the files stored on your device so that they can be recovered, known as restoring, in the event that the originals become lost or corrupted. If your hard drive fails, or files become infected by a virus, Code42 can restore all of your backed up files. Additionally, with Code42:

  • Files are encrypted before they leave your computer, transmitted securely to their destinations, and remain encrypted at the destinations to ensure the security of your information.
  • Files are automatically backed up on a schedule and a real-time file watcher monitors your files for changes.
  • The CrashPlan app runs as a background service that doesn’t interrupt or slow you down while you do other things.
  • Data is analyzed and de-duplicated so that only changes are backed up, saving on bandwidth and storage.
  • Versions are retained so that you can restore prior versions of backed up files.
  • Files deleted from your device are never removed from your backup (using the default version settings).
  • You can back up an unlimited amount of data.
  • Web restore enables you to download files anywhere with an internet connection.

What are cloud sync and share services?

Although services vary, most are used to sync and share files across multiple devices. Whether or not those files are stored directly on your devices or in the cloud depends on the service and the settings you choose. These services typically:

  • Let you select certain files that you want to sync across devices.
  • Let you selectively share these files with other people.
  • Sync any changes made to a file on one device to every other synced device.

Frequently asked questions

How does backup differ from sync and share?

There are differences when comparing any two services or products, but here are three major differences to consider:

Features Code42 cloud Backup Cloud Sync and Share
File protection Files are encrypted and not shared Files are synced across devices and available for sharing; files intended for sharing typically aren't encrypted (varies by service)
File management Backs up all of your personal files automatically Requires you to manually upload a selection of your files
Redundancy Files are backed up for the purpose of creating redundancy in case one version is lost or corrupted Files are synced across devices; if a version is deleted or corrupted on one device, all devices syncing with it are impacted
Can I use cloud sync and share services as a cloud backup solution?

Since cloud sync and share services and cloud backup services are designed for different purposes, there are inherent dangers in using a sync and share service as a way to back up your files. Because most cloud sync and share services sync changes across devices, a file that is deleted, corrupted, or infected by a virus on one device may sync to all of your devices and could lead to data loss.

Additionally, since these services or their pricing models typically only allow you to store a portion of your files in the cloud, anything not stored in the cloud is vulnerable in the event of a computer crash, theft, loss, or virus.

With Code42, are files that are deleted from my device kept in my backup? Can I restore them?

Yes. Using the CrashPlan app's default settings, files deleted from your device are never removed from your backup archive. In fact, restoring lost or accidentally deleted files is one of the things Code42 does best! However, because Code42 is designed as a backup service, not an online storage service, we do not recommend using it as a way to "archive" old files you no longer want stored on your computer.

To ensure the safety and integrity of your data, we always recommend maintaining files on the source computer.

Tip: archive files on external drives
If you have access to an external drive, you can move files you no longer want on your computer to the drive, then back up the drive with Code42. Even if you disconnect the external drive, the drive's files stay in your backup archive as long as you use the default setting to never remove deleted files.
Can Code42 back up cloud sync and share services?

Yes. We actually recommend it. Because syncing can lead to inadvertent data loss, we advise using Code42 to back up any files you choose to sync with a cloud sync and share service. If the files are located locally on your computer, Code42 can back up the files.

See our guide to Backing Up Cloud Services for tips about including files from different cloud services in your backup file selection.