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External Hard Drive vs. Cloud Storage: The Pros and Cons

Data storage is a crucial part of a computer’s function. Once you’ve completed a document, uploaded pictures, or downloaded games or music it all has to go somewhere. Computer hard drives fail, which means that the smart computer user will have a data storage backup they use to keep their data safe.
Two of the most popular data storage methods are: the external hard drive, and cloud storage. An external hard drive functions a lot like an internal computer hard drive except that it is connected to the computer through an external port. That means that data can be saved to it, and it can be unplugged and taken to a safe place for safe keeping. Cloud storage is the newest and most innovative data storage method. Instead of storing your data on your computer, your data is saved remotely using large storage servers maintained by an authorized third party.
Like anything else man made, there are pros and cons to both the external hard drive and cloud storage.
The Good
External Hard Drive: A lot of people like to store their private information on a device they can see with their eyes and touch with their hands. An external hard drive is a physical device where they can save their data, and then unplug it and take it with them. External hard drives have a wide range of storage capacities; anywhere from 250GB to 4TB of storage space available.
The Cloud: Cloud storage allows users to store their data where it cannot be touched by physical damage or loss. Because the cloud is, well, pretty infinite, it can hold A LOT of data, but the amount of storage space available will depend on the subscription. Pay more money, get more storage space. Also, because the data is stored remotely, it can be accessed from anywhere with a reliable internet connection.
The Bad
External Hard Drive: Because an external hard drive is a physical device that can be seen and felt, it can also be damaged or stolen. Also, external hard drives have a nasty habit of being really cheap or really expensive, which can make finding a high quality device tricky. You can buy a 2.5in SATA HDD with 500GB of storage for $36.99 , or you can buy a system that is comprised of two 3.5in swappable SATA II removable hard drives with a combined storage capacity of 4TB. This external hard drive will cost you $320. Knowing which devices are worth the money will take some research into the brands and the retailers.
The Cloud: Because the cloud is strictly online, it requires an internet connection. There could be issues with connection speed which can greatly affect how long it takes to transfer data from your computer to the cloud server. Also, depending on where you’re connected, there can security issues. Cloud storage also requires that the user download third party software onto their device. Another negative of storing data on the cloud is the money it can cost for a monthly or yearly subscription. Subscription costs vary between providers with some offering monthly storage for between $32.30 and $759.17, and some offering yearly storage for $59 per year.
Make the Right Decision
The information provided in this article is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more in-depth, detailed information out there to digest, if you really want to. When it comes right down to it, you should choose the data storage method that will work best for your situation, your storage capacity needs, and your budget.


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