White Paper

AWS Backup and EBS Snapshot: Key Differences Explained


Protecting AWS EC2 Data

Data stored in the cloud can seem less vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. In fact, cloud data requires the same or even higher level of protection than on-premises data centers.

Amazon’s native EBS volume snapshots are sometimes used as an alternative to backups. But a deeper look into their functionality reveals that snapshots cannot fully meet today’s data protection challenges. They are also costly and less efficient than dedicated backup solutions. What’s more, the “snapshot-only” approach to the data protection of AWS EC2 instances can lead to more security risks.

AWS Snapshots vs Backups: Not the Same

Although AWS snapshots and backups are often used interchangeably, they are two different ways of protecting data in the Amazon cloud:

  • An AWS snapshot is just a point-in-time copy of an Amazon EBS volume with limited storage and recovery options.
  • A backup is a more comprehensive and flexible copy of your VMs that offers reliable protection and ensures fast and consistent recovery.

Relying on snapshots in lieu of backups is a rather cumbersome and costly solution that limits your possibilities and drains your resources. Understanding the difference between AWS snapshots and backups and introducing a reliable backup solution into your cloud infrastructure can help you save 4X on backup storage costs while improving data security and reliability.

Download our White Paper to get more information about the key differences between the EBS volume snapshots offered by AWS and fully-functional backups created with NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

This white paper covers

This white paper covers:

  • What are EBS volume snapshots?
  • EBS volume snapshot limitations
  • How backups differ from snapshots
  • Ways to reduce data storage costs by 4 times
  • Security risks and how to avoid them
  • Maintenance issues and ways to cut administration time


NAKIVO is a US-based company that delivers a comprehensive data protection and disaster recovery solution for virtual, physical, cloud and SaaS environments. A leader in the industry, NAKIVO boasts 24 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth and 98% customer satisfaction with support. More than 22,000 customers in 171 countries trust NAKIVO to protect their data.

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