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Definition: data synchronization

Keeping data in two or more electronic devices up-to-date so that each repository contains the identical information. Data in handheld devices and laptops often require synchronization with the data in a desktop machine or server.

One Way or Two Way
One-way synchronization is widely used for backup as well as to ensure multiple venues contain identical data (see replication). Two-way synchronization typically employs a cloud-based service that sends the latest copies of photos, videos and documents to all required machines. When a change is made in one machine, whether desktop or portable, the changes are sent to the cloud server, which typically "pushes" the data onto the other machines as long as the appropriate application is open and active in the device. See cloud storage and push technology.