Benefits of Cloud Storage over External Hard Drive
Both external hard drives and cloud storage services are distinctive technologies on their own and both have advantages and disadvantages as well. The external hard drive offered enough storage space to its users as would an internal hard disk of a computer. And, an additional benefit, it was portable. People no longer look for numerous CDs/ DVDs or USB flash drives, especially when they need to carry their files or data from one place to the other. A single external hard drive would prove to be useful. However, then emerged cloud storage which instantly eliminated the requirement of an external hard drive. As both these technologies have pros and cons, we are forced to differentiate between the two and choose the best possible one.
External Hard Drives
Let us first discuss about everything you should know about external hard drives and why you might consider using those rather than cloud storage services.
- External hard drives are far-flung: The price of storage is decreasing at a faster rate and due to this you will be able to get external hard drives at a relatively cheaper price. If you need more storage space for your additional files, you can simply buy another external hard drive or just replace your old one with a one with more storage space. All these aspects make external hard drives a flexible solution.
- External hard drives are hasty: With the emergence of new technologies, the transfer speed with external hard drives has seen a considerable increase. Regardless of whether you want to backup your extremely large photo library or your high definition movie collection, everything can be transferred to your external hard drive within hours.
- External hard drives are more secure: If your major concern is about securing your files, then external hard drives provide you all the flexibility you would require to encrypt your files and store them with ultimate level of security. Also, unlike cloud storage, you would be the only person with access to your files stored in the external hard drive.
- External hard drives are affordable: Investing in an external hard drive is a wise decision, especially when your financial situation is tight. With external hard drives, you do not have to sign up for a subscription that requires you to pay a monthly or annual charge and hence, all you do is a single investment and enjoy comprehensive benefits.
- External hard drives can be stolen or lost: It is extremely easy to lose your external hard drive as you do with your wallet or sunglass. Since it is just another physical device, it can be easily misplaced and with people waiting to get their hands on your sensitive data, it is very much important that you carry your external hard drive carefully. In addition, external hard drives also get broken easily, which may lead to losing your valuable data that are irretrievable.
- External hard drives require manual connection: Whenever you want to use your external hard drive, you will have to connect it to your system manually. This makes this device impractical in the long run, especially during times in which you need a data quickly and cannot waste time connecting the device.
The advantages of cloud storage over external hard drives are many. These include:
- Accessibility: With a cloud storage service, you can access your data or files from anywhere in the world on any device, may it be your laptop, tablet or smartphone, with just an internet connection, which is not possible with external hard drives.
- Space savings: Internal or external hard drives, both take up space in your home or office. With cloud storage, all your files are saved on the internet, leaving back less clutter in your office.
- Redundancy: The providers of cloud storage services usually make use of a technology called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) in addition to automated backups to secure your data or files against unexpected user error, drive failures, and other natural disasters. Also, when cloud storage is used in combination with local storage, it provides you a second and offsite copy of all your files, thus providing an additional insurance against software and hardware deformities.
- Maintenance: If an external hard drive runs out of space or fails, you will have to buy a new one to replace it and copy all the data again, which is a tedious and lengthy process. But with cloud storage, the storage providers have systems to maintain their equipment in good working condition and up to date with changing technologies, relieving you from that burden.
- Security: Almost all cloud storage services have encryption technology to secure your data and files from third parties. Only those people you wish to provide access to your files will be granted access. With cloud storage services, unlike external hard drives, you do not have to worry about the encryption and security of your files, as the cloud storage provider will take care of it for you.
- Sharing made easy: Cloud storage services make it easy for you to share selected files or folders with your friends, family members, or colleagues, no matter where they are located around the world. This makes it extremely easy to update changes on a presentation, or send your vacation photos to your mom before you actually reach home.
The one major disadvantage of cloud storage is that you will need to sign up for a subscription package and pay regularly on a monthly or yearly basis. Though these costs would be reasonable, you will still have ongoing storage costs.
Before you actually decide which of these two methods you should use to store your data, you must first analyze your storage needs. If you own a business and want to store your confidential business information, then an external hard drive would do you good. However, if your storage needs are huge, then you should probably consider using a cloud storage service.