Cloud vs Hard Drive - Cloud Dolphin Ltd

Cloud vs Hard Drive

As technology keeps moving forward, almost all of us face the risk of being left behind and not benefiting from what is available. If you are still using external hard drives for storing your data backups, which is probably a manual process, then the next few paragraphs could change your life for the better.

Nowadays, making a backup of our files is more important than ever before as we now store a large part of our lives on our computers. We often think that our PC’s will be with us forever, but the reality we fail to realise, they could break down, get stolen or even develop a virus.

Cloud

There are different storage setups you can choose from. There are some that are designed to only store a single type of data, like file backup, whereas others can handle all sorts of data, like emails, databases and system images. To help you choose between external hard drive or cloud storage, here are the pros and cons of cloud storage.

Pros

Storage Space: You get a place in the cloud to keep data. Not only that, the amount of hardware space you get can grow with your needs, or it can even start off as unlimited. Upgrading your account to get more space is an effortless process which can be done at your desk.

Hardware: You don’t see or have to deal with where your data is physically stored. That is for your provider to worry about the moment you sign on, which is always within the UK if you choose Cloud Dolphin. Imagine not buying a different type of external hardware just to keep your system backed up. All you have to do is keep your computer connected to the internet, and the rest just happens automatically.

Automated Backup: No need to make sure the external hardware is connected and turned on at the right time. Just keep your internet connection on, and your system will be automatically backed up as often as you need it to. Your cloud storage account will come with some default settings, and you can change them if required to suit your needs. You can back up your system once a day or even several times a day, it’s that easy!

Seamless Restoration: Suppose the worst happens and you need to restore your hard drive from a backup. Traditionally that has not been an easy or straightforward process, and it’s often required technical help from a computer expert. In contrast, when you need to restore your data from a cloud storage service, it’s a simple, streamlined process.

Access From Anywhere: You can easily access your data files from anywhere in the world if you are using cloud storage; the only requirement is an internet connection.

Secure Storage: A good cloud backup solution will take care of your privacy and the safety of your files by encrypting them with a minimum 256 bit encryption key and backing them up on multiple servers.

Cons

Online file storage comes with recurring subscription costs. However, this con has been negated in recent years as prices in the industry have been forced down due to competition and cheaper storage technology. Many companies today will give you a year of online storage for about the same cost as an external hard drive or less.

The third party are responsible for keeping your information safe and available. It’s also up to you to make sure you choose the right cloud service and use all the safety options available to you (client side encryption, 2-factor authentication, strong password).

A third con is that online storage requires an internet connection for backing up and restoring your files. If you lose access to the internet for a significant length of time, you’ll have a hard time backing anything up or accessing anything. Most of the cloud storages allow you to store your files for offline access which pretty much negates this con.

Hard Drive

Some of the most common uses of external hard drives include: Storing important and confidential files, movies and music. It is primarily an extension device for your computer space. The common capacity of an external HD can be found on the internal drive as well. If you are looking for a significant increase in your storage system, you can opt to buy an external HD with a bigger capacity. The price may be higher, but in the long run, it is more functionally maximized. An example would be, if you have a lot of files you want to backup, you may opt to buy a 500GB HD instead of a 250GB one. Thus, with just a few more pounds, you can get a higher storage capacity.

Pros

External hard drives can be easily set up from the box after purchase. All you have to do is connect it to your computer and transfer your files over. I don’t think anything is easier than that.

Another advantage of external hard drives is that they come with a one off cost. Once you pay the purchase price of an external hard drive, you’re done paying. There are no recurring subscription costs with this backup method.

Cons

The biggest disadvantage of the external hard drive is that you have to manually perform backups. This one is bigger than it sounds because you might be motivated to back everything up weekly right now, but you might get tired in the long run. Copying hundreds of files over every week “just in case” is not very rewarding work.

They are more prone to damage because of their size. These small, square devices are easy to break. You also don’t want to risk moving your laptop around while your drive is still plugged in. You could end up snagging your USB slots or bumping your external drive around.

They are susceptible to flood, fires and theft. Most people just leave their external hard drives sitting around the home or office somewhere. If you leave your backups in the same building as your original files, you run the very real risk of losing everything in one fell swoop.

To summarise, the decision has to be right for you and we may seem biased toward Cloud over hard drives due to the nature of our business. Experiences will dictate your choices and if you have ever been struck by data loss without a secure off-site backup in place, you will appreciate the importance of cloud and know it’s worth every penny.