Synology Cloud Sync is NOT a Backup – Use Hyper Backup

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post published:May 14, 2024
  • Post last modified:May 14, 2024
  • Post category:Synology
  • Reading time:5 mins read

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From time to time, I’ll receive a message from someone asking why I suggest Hyper Backup and not Synology Cloud Sync for backups, and the simple answer is that Synology Cloud Sync is not a backup. Don’t get me wrong, Cloud Sync is a great tool, but it’s a sync tool, not a backup tool. We’ll look at exactly why it’s not a backup tool below, but I want to be clear that they’re both great in their own way, they’re just nothing alike.

synology cloud sync is not a backup

What is Synology Cloud Sync?

Synology Cloud Sync is a sync tool that allows you to connect a shared folder on your NAS to a cloud destination and sync the data back and forth. This can be from Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.

synology cloud providers for cloud sync.

To configure Cloud Sync, you’ll create a sync task as a bidirectional sync (data is synced back and forth between both devices to act as a mirror) or a one-way sync (to or from the cloud to the NAS).

selecting a connection name, local and remote path in cloud sync, with a sync direction (bidirectional).

You can even configure data encryption if you’d like to ensure the data on the NAS is unencrypted, but the data on the cloud instance is encrypted. The downside of this is that if you lose your password, the data on the cloud will stay encrypted, so if you’re using encryption, you MUST ensure that you remember the password.

Why Cloud Sync IS NOT a Backup

Now that we know how Cloud Sync works, it’s pretty easy to understand why it’s not a backup. When a file is saved on the NAS or in a cloud location, it’s synced to the other server. This means that if you were to open a 10-page document, delete everything in it, and save it, it’ll automatically sync the data to the other location. At that point, you’ll have two locations with a blank document in them.

Another way to think of it is in terms of a ransomware attack. If you’re in a worst-case scenario where you’re hit with a ransomware attack, the encrypted files will automatically sync from the NAS to the cloud location. Simply put, you can’t have this and you need to ensure that the data you’re working with is backed up properly and can be restored.

Comparing this to Hyper Backup, the data is backed up at a set frequency, and a version is saved, so you’ll always be able to go back to a prior backup/version and either restore an individual file or the entire folder. This is how a backup is supposed to work, and why Hyper Backup is almost always a better solution for backups than Cloud Sync.

backup rotation for hyper backup tasks

There is ONE Exception to this Rule

The ONE exception is if the cloud server you’re using has a snapshot/version feature, or if you’re syncing data from a cloud server TO your NAS and have snapshots configured. Keep in mind that even if the cloud server has a snapshot/version feature enabled, it may be on a PER FILE basis, meaning that if there are 1,000 files that are synced incorrectly, you’ll have to go one by one and restore them individually. For this reason, make sure you can restore files in bulk.

This is where a tool like Hyper Backup comes in and is exceptional, as you’ll be able to download an individual file OR bulk restore an entire folder.

hyper backup

Just keep in mind that Hyper Backup is for NAS to Cloud backups only and cannot act as a cloud to NAS backup. However, from what I’ve seen, most people using Cloud Sync as a backup are doing it in the same direction. For your data, make sure you have a Hyper Backup task running SOMEWHERE!