External Drive or the Cloud Storage for File Backup?

Whether it’s a result of device failure, software failure, natural disasters (like earthquakes, fires or floods), or other misfortunes like accidents or theft, losing important files is always a frustrating consequence. It doesn’t have to be that bad, though. Just make it a point to regularly backup your data. The question is — should you backup remotely to the cloud, or locally to an external device? Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which will serve you best. iDoctor has seen a lot of people come through the doors with broken computers that we can’t recover their data. It’s worth a couple of dimes per day for cloud storage or an external drive.

Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage Pros and Cons

Cloud storage has become immensely popular over the past few years. And there are now more options than any (our research shows that Carbonite is one of the cheapest you’ll find.

Pros of Cloud Storage

Cloud StorageIt’s free! – Sometimes. Unless you are looking for premium backup service (automatic and larger storage options), there are regular online backup services available for free. If the free storage allocation is a bit small for you, consider creating multiple accounts. Google offers free storage of up to 15gb per account.

Accessible Anywhere – Unlike an external drive which you need to bring with you, online backup simply requires an Internet-connected device — a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet — so you can access your data. Just open your browser and download all the files that you need.

It has its Own Backup – Your data is stored at your service provider’s data center. This means that loss of data from your end will never happen (unless you deliberately delete files, of course) as it is protected from fire, flood, theft, hard drive failure, virus attacks, and other physical threats.

Easy File Sharing – Sharing of files and folders can be done conveniently, minus the hassle of clogging an inbox. Instead of having to send enormous sized data like videos and/or photos, you just need to store the files in the cloud, and then send a download link to your recipients (Google drives does this effortlessly).

Secure – Cloud storage providers usually have built-in encryption to protect your data from unauthorized access.

Cons of Cloud Storage

Slow – Data transfer (specifically the initial one) is typically slow and is highly dependent on the quality of your Internet connection.

Requires Trust – Storing your data in the cloud means that you are entrusting your data to a third party, which means you have to carefully select a service provider with a credible reputation, otherwise, you might be exposing yourself to risk and potential harm.


External Hard Drive Pros and Cons

External Hard DriveHere at iDoctor we actually recommend that you use both an external and the cloud storage. But most people choose to only use one or the other.

Pros of an External Drive

Economical – Pricing structure is very basic. The bigger the storage space, the higher the price. And, once you’ve paid for it — it’s yours for good. There are no additional maintenance costs or recurring monthly fees that you need to pay to keep it running.

Safe and secure – You are in full control of your drive, no one can have access to it unless you give your permission. Even if you lend it to someone else, as long as you encrypt those files which you do not want anyone else to see, your data will remain confidential and safe from theft or hacking.

Fast – Data transfer can be done quickly in just a few minutes.

Cons of an External Drive

Physical Presence is Required – To access your drive, you have to bring it with you all the time. If you forget to take it with you, there’s no other way to access your files.

Susceptible to Damage and Loss – As a physical item, a hard drive will only work for a finite time, and is bound to fail eventually. Plus, unexpected circumstances like accidents, fire, or theft can happen. In such cases, all your data will be lost.


iDoctor can Help with Your Backup Needs

Can’t figure out how to set up your cloud? Having trouble picking an external drive? Need help recovering data that you backed up but then your computer crashed? We can handle all of those types of computer repair needs. Whatever you do, make sure you backup your computer! If you don’t, we can often recover your data, but it will cost into the thousands of dollars (depending on the damage).

iDoctor is your source for all computer repair needs in Billings, MT. We have two locations to serve you better; one on the West End off 24th Street, and one in the Billings Heights.