Cloud Storage vs. Hard Disk Storage – What’s Better?
While companies choose storage for compliance purposes, individuals require additional space for photos, music files and an array of documents. Regardless of which category you fall into, your dilemma will be the same: cloud storage vs. hard disk storage.
Cloud storage is an innovative storage format that has been around since the 1990s but gained popularity recently. Basically it allows you to upload your files to the cloud, or virtual servers, for storage and then access and edit them whenever you need them. Some services also allow you to create files in your cloud storage space, but these usually come with a fee. As for hard disk storage, this external unit is physical and you can plug it into your PC and use it like you would its own hard drive.
Should I Go for Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is becoming the most popular form of storage these days. It allows you to share folders and large files with family, friends and colleagues without trading USBs. You can also sync files across different devices, so they will always be the same wherever you go. However, to help you answer the question in the heading, here are the benefits and drawbacks of this service.
The Benefits of Cloud Storage
- Easy Access Anytime Anywhere – Cloud storage allows you to access your files using a client or app on your PC or mobile device. If you have a smartphone and internet access, you can also manage your documents from your browser. Therefore, you’re not bound to one location or a single device.
- Better Security – Most cloud storage services boast about their encryption technology. A number of service providers like DrivePop even use military level technology to ensure that your files are secured against third parties. In addition to taking the burden of security off your shoulders, cloud storage will ensure the availability and integrity of all of your files.
- Enhanced Sharing and Collaboration – Gone are the days when you had to wait ages to share your vacation photos or huge documentation files. With cloud storage services, you can select multiple folders and share them with everyone. You can also grant access to others so that they can edit and modify your documents. This is one feature businesspeople and their employees will love as it makes their operations more virtual.
- Value for Money – Cloud storage comes with a range of services and so much flexibility; this makes it worth the money you invest in it. However, you probably won’t need to pay anything at all since most services offer you ample space for free. For example, Google Drive offers 15 GB while Dropbox’s free 2 GBs can be upgraded to 16 GB with referrals.
The Drawbacks of Cloud Storage
- Slower Speed – The transfer speed of your files can be slow if your internet connection isn’t too fast. So it will take a while for your files to be uploaded and synchronized across different devices. Though it won’t be much of an issue for personal users, corporate ones won’t be able to wait weeks for their huge amounts of data to be uploaded and ready for use.
- The Cost of Additional Data – Some paid plans are heavy on the pocket, especially those targeting businesses. However, you can’t afford skipping a single payment once you sign up for the service or else your data will be inaccessible.
- The Need for Trust – By using cloud storage, you’ll basically be transferring your important files to a service you hardly know. Now you need to trust your provider before you can take this step, so find out as much as you can through reviews and expert opinions before signing up for the service.
Is Hard Disk Storage the One for Me?
External hard drives are the simplest form of storage. All you need to do is plug them into your PC’s USB port and upload or download your files. However, before you decide that this is the storage solution for you, take a look at its advantages and disadvantages first.
The Benefits of External Hard Disk Storage
- Lower Cost – Storage prices are low today and will continue to decrease at a fast pace. So rest assured that you’ll get external hard drives at a very cheap price. In fact, 2 TB of data costs $100. So if you ever need more storage, you can simply buy another drive for the same price or less or replace your old one with a model that offers more storage.
- Quicker File Transfer – New technology and USB 2.0’s high transfer speed enable your files to move around quickly. Whether it’s your HD video collection you want to back up or a huge number of spreadsheets, rest assured that your files will be transferred within hours.
- One Time Cost – If you’re on a budget, hard drives can be a wise choice since you only have to pay once for huge amounts of data. Besides, there aren’t any hidden fees that will surprise you when your bills come in at the end of the month.
- Customizable Security – Rather than depending on an unknown service to secure your files, you can do that yourself by deciding how to encrypt your files. That way even the NSA won’t be able to access your private documents since they’ll be with you and for your eyes only.
The Drawbacks of Hard Disk Storage
- Susceptibility to Loss or Theft – If you had forgotten you sunglasses or keys somewhere and forgot where they were or someone stole them, chances are that the same fate will befall your hard disk. This is especially true in the business sector where corporate espionage is the norm these days.
- Fragility –A physical hard drive can fall or slip out of your hands. As a result, your data can be lost forever unless you had a backup plan ready.
- More Trouble for Non-Technical People – If you’re not technical savvy, you may think that you just need to transfer your files on the external hard drive without encrypting them. This can be dangerous since it allows other people to access your files whenever they want. So, this storage option may not be feasible for those who don’t have a strong background in IT.
- Wire Trouble – The external drive needs to be connected at all times or else you won’t have access to the data. However, with the wiring comes the chance of the drive falling. In addition, it can be a hassle if you have less office space.
- Compatibility Constraints – External hard drives don’t necessarily work with all hardware specs or operating systems. Therefore, when buying one, you need to make sure that it’s compatible with all the devices you use.
What Storage Is Actually Best?
One of the beauties of modern technology is that you can combine as many modes together and avail all their benefits. Therefore, you can easily use both cloud storage and external hard drive storage. However, if you absolutely have to choose one, use the list of advantages and disadvantages to select the best option. Then, do a little research on the best service or model and invest in it without looking back.