Cloud vs Hard Drive Data Storage

Should I buy a portable hard drive?

If you’re looking to back up your precious photos, videos and media collections, then you have two main choices; either a cloud based system, or purchasing a portable hard drive.  Both have their advantages – in this article we look at both options to determine whether the hard drive route is the most suitable for you.

Cloud based file storage is essentially renting a small area of secure storage space, so you can upload and download files via an internet connection.  This has it advantages – you don’t have to physically carry any additional hardware, yet can still access your files securely.  Recent events have shown us that cloud based systems are not infallible, and can be prone to hacking should someone gain access to your e-mail account.  In addition to this, you would only be able to access your files via an internet connection – so in remote areas when your connection may be limited or non existent, then you will struggle to gain effective access.  Cloud storage can be free for the first few gigabytes of storage – however if you require greater quantities of space, then most companies charge a monthly or annual fee, which over time can prove to be less cost effective than the one off cost associated with purchasing a hard drive.

Portable hard drives have come down in price due to advances in technology, and are now a fairly affordable method of storing files.  Typically measuring 2.5 inches in size, and not requiring an external power source, modern portable hard drives are powered by USB alone, and offer speedy transfer rates with advances associated with USB 3.0.  Priced at between £40 and £70, hard drives are very affordable, and allow the user to access their files at a moment’s notice.  The main downside of this method of back up is that the drive can be physically stolen or damaged in accidents, and so your data is only as safe as the drive itself.  One of the advantages of this system is that you no longer require an internet connection, so if you are travelling then you are not reliant on a fast WiFi connection or paying for access to the internet in order to view your files.  The cost involved is a one off fee, and so over time this method of storage is cheaper than a paid Cloud based system, as well as typically offering more room.  This is probably the better system for people wishing to back up, yet not share, large quantities of files, such as movie and music collections.  However for those looking to share files remotely with friends and colleagues, the Cloud based option would be more effective.

With consumers relying more and more on digital files, then the importance of backing up files to avoid loss in the event of hardware fail is becoming greater.  Both systems offering an effective method of doing so, and which option you choose depends on your individual situation and requirements, with both being a reliable solution to the task of backing up files.