Online Cloud Storage Backup vs External Hard Drives

Previously, I have written about using cloud storage and backup solutions hand in hand with your current physical drive backup solutions. This time, I am going to compare the differences between online backup and physical media such as external drives when it comes to backing up, essentially the benefits you get from using something like cloud storage compared to external drives.

Now when it comes to backing up your data and precious memories if it doesn’t exist twice then it doesn’t exist at all. That said you have two main options when it comes to backing up, you can either use online backup methods via cloud services or use external media. However that doesn’t mean you can’t implement both into your backup process, in fact I always suggest to use both. It’s a bad idea to only use hard drives and physical solutions if you cherish your files. Here’s a look through how online backup can work to your advantage compared to using external devices.

Cost Efficient:

This is pretty self-explanatory; with most cloud services you pay anywhere from 5-10 dollars monthly which means that you’re paying less or around $100 a year, whereas buying external hardware over the course of the year may cost you much more. You may also need to upgrade or scale for more storage, whereas online services may offer unlimited amounts of backup space.

Local backups or hardware can easily fail as well and can encounter issues along the way, this may lead to you needing to replace or upgrade them which will cost you more in the long run.

Therefore in this case online storage proves to be much more cost effective.

Technical Expertise:

Now both methods require some level of technical expertise however physical hardware may prove to be more tedious for users. Installing it, setting up software, and troubleshooting hardware can raise issues with those who aren’t technically inclined. With cloud based software most of these things are handled for you & automated making it much easier to set & forget.

Automated Backup:

Some hardware manufactures nowadays may include some software with their hardware but in most cases most people won’t use it, this means it requires a manual backup or 3rd party software in order to handle scheduled backups. Whereas most cloud providers have an app that implements rules that make you back up your files regularly, whether that’s daily, weekly, or even monthly. This makes it much more convenient for the user.

Data Restoration:

Both methods allow for restoring your files from either service. However when it comes to hardware you have one big limitation; It’s a single point of failure and isn’t off site, So if the drive fails, is damaged, or stolen you can’t recover your data. The great thing about cloud based storage is that it’s all stored online. It’s also easy to access wherever and is secured with much higher end hardware and servers, this makes data restoration and the retrieval of files easy no matter what device or app you use.

Off Site Storage:

Again touching on the point from the previous section of off-site storage, it is key in this day and age. For example in the event of a house fire or flood not only is your computer damaged but your external devices are as well, this means that all your data is vulnerable no matter how many times or drives you’ve backed it up too. The idea of cloud storage and one it’s major selling points is the fact that it’s saved into the cloud securely. This means that it’s always reachable, restorable, and reliable, this also eliminates physical space being taken up or the need to bring devices on the go whilst traveling.


All in all both mediums allow for the backing and storing of your most important files which is what matters most. However online backup should always be a method considered in any form or tier of backup whether that is personal or for business. This is because of its numerous advantages such as cost saving, efficiency, and reliability. These are all advantages that can’t be ignored in this day and age, investing in a great service that suits your needs and protects the data that matters to you most is imperative.

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