It doesn't seem that long ago that the only way to sync and backup my iDevice was to iTunes. However nowadays a new user may not even be aware of iTunes backup or even have access to a computer for that matter. Instead you are encouraged to signup for iCloud and backup to iCloud. If you just got your first iDevice or are not a heavy user this works wonderfully. But for some of us, there are still some things to consider about backing up our iDevices.
iCloud Restore is Slow
If you ever need to restore your iDevice iCloud will restore your settings first, followed by all the Apps. Restoring the settings gets your iDevice up and running fast. Hopefully you won't even miss a call. Next comes downloading your backed up Apps. It is this second part that can take a very long time, especially if you are on a slow network.
Data Usage and Storage Cost Money
If you are on a cellular network forget it. In some cases if you have Apps that exceed the cellular download limit you may only be able to restore them while connected to WiFi or a computer. In every case I'd recommend not using your cellular bandwidth for lengthy downloads. If you own a lot of iDevices or are a heavy App user you will very likely hit your free limits on iCloud and need to find more storage or buy more from Apple. There are as many strategies as there are free or low cost alternatives.
What is Easy to Do
If you do have access to a computer then the easiest is to use your own storage. Whenever possible perform a backup to iTunes. iTunes will back up your settings and data for all of your Apps. Then you will need to do one more thing. Keep the iOS Apps you have on your device in iTunes and keep them up-to-date, or update them en masse prior to restoring your iDevice. Now when you need to restore your iDevice just connect to iTunes and restore your backup from there. You will be tethered to your computer for the duration but it is still faster and more reliable than trying to do the whole thing over the network at the mall outside the Apple Store. The day will probably come when iTunes backup and restore will only be for geezers and Apple customer service. But not yet.