External Hard Drive vs. Cloud Backup

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Backing up important data is something we all neglect until that dreadful day when we actually lose important files. Data on our hard drives can be lost due to viruses, physical damage, hacking, and hard drive crashes.

In this day and age, almost everyone’s livelihood is connected to computers. Some of us are entirely dependent on files stored in our PCs and Macs, while others are partly dependent on them. People store family photos, resumes, wedding videos and all sorts of important documents on their computers. The computer hard drives are susceptible to many risks and threats, and lost data usually cannot be recovered. Therefore, it is important to back up your data and have copies stored on more than one storage devices.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are plug and play data storage devices. Some of their advantages are as follows:

  1. They are easily available online and can be bought at any computer hardware store.
  2. The best thing about these hard drives is that you simply plug them in, the computer detects them and then you can simply access them like you do any other device on your computer.
  3. Backing up data is easy as you just drag and drop, or copy/paste the files you need to backup.
  4. You can also store data directly in them.
  5. Buying an external hard drive is a onetime expense.
  6. They are available in all sizes, i.e. storage capacity ranging from hundreds of gigabytes to terabytes.

A major disadvantage of external hard drives is that they pretty much are susceptible and exposed to the same risks as your primary hard drive. It has a limited memory, and if you need more memory you will have to buy another one. Also you have to carry them around, i.e. take them to work, library, etc. if you need to access the files stored in them.

Cloud Backup

Cloud Backup is an online solution which helps you store your data on the servers of the service provider. Some of the major advantages of cloud backup are as follows:

  1. There are several online solution providers offering this service, some even offer it for free up to a few gigabytes.
  2. The data is stored on servers at a different physical location than your computer.
  3. Data can be accessed from any computer with internet access; you do not have to carry anything around like in the case of external hard drive.
  4. The system where your data is physically stored is looked after by professionals, that means they take all the necessary measures to reduce physical and virtual threats.
  5. As your storage needs increase, you can simply upgrade your package for a few extra bucks. No need to buy a new device.
  6. Some cloud backup solution providers are offering unlimited storage for a monthly fee.

A disadvantage of using cloud storage is that you have to upload and download files to and from the internet. People with a limited internet usage packages may find it to be problem, because they will end up using their quota very quickly.

Also, cloud storage comes with a monthly fee. Although the service providers use firewalls, and multiple backup copies, data when being sent and received through internet is always susceptible to security breaches.

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Guest article written by: Morris Fisher is a writer for BestOnlineCloudStorage.net – This site provides reviews on the best cloud storage services available today.


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Guest article written by: Morris Fisher is a writer for BestOnlineCloudStorage.net – This site provides reviews on the best cloud storage services available today.


9 thoughts on “External Hard Drive vs. Cloud Backup”

  1. The main difference of these two elements of storage is that there is a risk of loosing data on the hard drive and in cloud back up, there is no risk of data loss. I loved the way you have described the advantages and disadvantages of both the elements.

  2. I think backing up both on an external hard drive and in the cloud is the way to go considering both are really affordable and would save you alot of heartache when your data is compromised or lost.

  3. Cloud storage is good only if you have strong internet source. It is the technology which is going to be used in near future. At present I thing External Hard storage is quite good as internet connectivity is not that good (at least in my area). 🙂

  4. In my opinion the cloud backup is great but it would be good if the uploading speed would fast rather then that

  5. Let’s see, I have a 2TB external hard drive which serves me well from a one-time cost. I do like the idea of using cloud storage but I can’t imagine waiting for some 50,000+ files to upload to a remote server.

    The best compromise seems to me to be that I use DropBox in conjunction with external storage. All in all a very good comparison you have made in this article. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Personally, I do not trust on 3rd party systems to store my information. Look what just happened to the infamous megaupload…just imagine all data people lost when the government broke down the system. You may say cloud backup is not the same than fire sharing systems, but it is the same idea: storing your data somewhere else. Just imagine you save sensitive information into a 3rd party system and employee decides to take a look on it.
    Not in my time, I prefer external harddisks.

  7. We used an online backup service provider and after our server was stolen we went to the provider to restore our files. They said due to the large amount of data the restore could not be done online and they would send it via DVD which would cost $500 per DVD and the data required 4 DVDs. So it cost $2000 to restore our data……always read the small print!

    We are now back to using external disks for all our backups!

  8. For me cloud backup is not really a comparable option to external hard drive.
    My internet connection is slow, and it takes a lot of time to upload the data.
    Second, sometimes my internet connection is not available , and when I need it
    it may not be accessible. My hard drive is always with me, reliable, accessible, not really comparable with the cloud.

  9. You’re right about their being risks associated with each approach; this is an informative look at those risks. Your point about people storing both personal and professional data through technology these days is true as well.


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