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You already know that you need to back up your files, but should you do it on an external hard drive or with a cloud storage service?
Technically, you should do both. After all, you may want access to an important file even when you don’t have Internet access.
However, you should consider cloud storage over a hard drive alone. The benefits are seemingly endless, but all it takes is six reasons to prove that the cloud is better than your hard drive.
The Cloud Doesn’t Unexpectedly Crash
Hard drives don’t last forever. In fact, 50% of hard drives crash around the six year mark. However, 5% crash within the first two years. Do you really want to risk trying to access an old file, only to get an error message? It’s a gut wrenching feeling to discover an irreplaceable file is gone.
Luckily, cloud storage services prepare for this. The same data is replicated on multiple drives to provide a fail safe. Plus, the drives are stored in different locations to prevent natural disasters from destroying your data.
Easy Access From Anywhere
While there are ways to access your hard drive from anywhere, it can be a bit tricky. It’s much easier to simply log in to your cloud storage account from your desktop, smartphone or pretty much any other device. You don’t have to worry about taking along the files on a USB drive. You don’t have to worry about your hard drive getting damaged while traveling. All your files are save in the cloud.
The Cloud’s Actually More Secure
Depending on the provider, cloud storage could actually be more secure than your hard drive. While the cloud is vulnerable to attacks, just like any web service, many providers offer encryption options to protect your files from prying eyes. Plus, you’re forced to create a password, which you may not have on your hard drive. For optimal security, follow this list of suggestions from Heimdal Security. As you’ll see, they also suggest storing your files in the cloud and elsewhere just in case.
Storage Expands With You
Hard drives have limited space. In fact, it’s even less space than it actually lists. For instance, a 1 TB hard drive may only have 900 GB available. While that seems like a lot of space now, all those pictures you take with your smartphone quickly eat up space. In fact, according to this Quora thread, images could take up 20 MB or more and that doesn’t include videos, which could easily take over 100 MB a piece.
With cloud storage, you simply buy more if you need it. You don’t have to transfer files to new drive or try to separate files between multiple drives. Buy more GBs and you’re all set.
The great thing about cloud storage is it’s actually cheap. According to Wired, it costs an average of $10 per month for each TB of space. Of course, most providers offer at least a few GBs of space for free. Ideally, you only store the files you can’t replace or important documents you need access to from anywhere.
The cost of an external hard drive is around $50 for 1 TB of space. If you want a wireless drive, you’re looking at spending even more. Mix the cost of the cloud with the convenience and it’s affordable. Basically, you get peace of mind about your files for about the same amount as a Netflix subscription.
Share With Anyone
You can’t share files from your hard drive without uploading them somehow. You can send them via email or share them on social media. With cloud storage, you’re able to share the files you specify with anyone you want. Have a photo album of your newest child? Share it with your family. Suddenly, people are able to view the files you want safely and securely. Plus, you’re able to revoke access at any time.
While cloud storage versus a hard drive is still a personal choice, consider using the cloud as an extra backup of all those irreplaceable photos and important WPS Office docs. You’ll be glad you did in the event the worst ever does happen.