External Hard Drive vs. Cloud Storage

With modern technology increasing by the second, many people have caught on to the trend of cloud storage. It isn’t a wonder why; they allow you store files in a “cloud” which doesn’t require you to use any sort of physical connection like a USB thumb drive or external hard drive. Although there are undoubtedly perks to using cloud storage, external hard drives are still widely in demand for their ability to store larger files cheaper and at faster transfer rates.
However, if you are considering both an external hard drive and cloud storage, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the pros and cons of using both external hard drives and cloud storage services
Storage space
When you purchase an external hard drive, you will likely have much more storage space on any of the external hard drive options than you would with a cloud storage. This means that cloud storage is a great option if you just want to store some pictures or text files. Since cloud storage typically comes in much lower space packages than external hard drives, people who don’t need much space will normally choose cloud storage over external hard drives.
However, if you need to store a lot of files and be able to pull them up on-the-go, you will likely prefer to have an external hard drive over a cloud storage service since the space they typically offer is simply not able to be competed with by cloud service providers. Most external hard drives offer a one-time fee that allows you store massive amounts of space. In just about any case, purchasing an external hard drive means that you will receive a lot more space.
Accessibility
The most obvious perk of choosing cloud service is that you can store files without needing to have a physical thumb drive or similar object to keep with you to use your files. Although this is a very attractive feature on first glance, it also requires that you keep an internet connection available at all times. Of course, if you have cellphone service with unlimited data service, for example, this will not be a problem most of the time. However, if you go out camping and your cell phone service doesn’t have data, don’t count on being able to access a single file.
A major perk to choosing an external hard drive is that you can access all of the files that you need without logging into a service, or having an internet connection. There are times where everybody, no matter who your cellphone service or internet provider is, will be out of internet service. If you need to avoid running into the problem of not accessing your files because of a breach in your internet or data service, simply make things easier on yourself and get an external hard drive instead of cloud service.
Price
If you want to subscribe to a cloud service, the main idea is simply that: subscribe. This means that you will have to pay in increments, whether it be weekly, monthly or annually to be able to keep your files in the cloud. What happens when you stop paying? At the very least, you shouldn’t expect to continue accessing them. This would be the parallel comparison to purchasing an external hard drive and then running it over with a car. The files won’t be there anymore.
The main idea here is that when you subscribe to a cloud service you will have to keep paying or else your storage is taken away and files removed (unless you back them up offline). However, purchasing an external hard drive means that you only pay one price, one time. Then, as long as you maintain the hard drive and keep it safe from harm’s way, you will be able to access your files forever. When you keep in mind that an external hard drive gives you more space, they are easily the most affordable means to store your files in the long term.
File security
If you are dealing with sensitive files which need to be protected from people who might otherwise use your files for sinister purposes, there is simply no reason to even think about getting a cloud service. Anything on the internet is susceptible to hacking, which means that if somebody really wants to see what you are storing on the cloud, they will. As a result, external hard drives are much more secure than cloud services.
Transfer speeds
A final perk to using external hard drives is that you will be able to transfer your files over to storage much more rapidly than you would be able to with any sort of cloud service. Even with fast internet, it is much more time-consuming to upload and then write files for storage than to simply move them from one disk to another. This is where external hard drives really shine. If transfer speed is a top concern, you will definitely want to consider an external hard drive instead of using a cloud service.
External hard drives vs. cloud storage: Which is better?
Of course, answering this question requires you to keep in mind the above factors. Keeping this in mind, the only time that online cloud storage is better is when you only need to hold onto a few, not-so-important files for a short period of time. Additionally, if you dread the experience of carrying around an object the size of a smart phone, you should just use cloud service.
However, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, get the fastest transfer speed, highest level of security possible, and be able to access your files anywhere in the world, external hard drives are much better. Since they only require a one-time fee, offer much higher amounts of storage space, and really aren’t that big, they are still the ultimate option for backing up your files and ensuring that you never lose your files.

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