cloud symbol on a background of local data storage

With the advent of the Internet and cyber attacks, the sensibility of data guardedness is getting higher and higher, especially in situations of hardware failures.

There is a wide range of cloud backup and hard crypt storage, but which one should you choose for your data backup? The two most common and appreciated methods nowadays are cloud storage and hard drives. Let’s take a look at their pros and cons.

Considering the price, financially speaking, the cloud backup is cheaper It requires a little bit of time for the data transfer, but it is a one–time approval. It makes backing up your files very easy to access. However, it highly depends on network speed and has certain impacts on the environment.

A hard drive is not as convenient as a cloud backup in terms of time and cost, but it does make data safer. Although it is a more traditional method that is easy to implement.

Cloud Storage

The use of cloud storage for personal and professional purposes is a widely accepted trend that appears to grow stronger as technology advances. Here is why we believe this is one of the best cloud storage systems one can have for keeping data safe.

  • Easy Access - You can access your data whenever and wherever you want as long as you are connected to the internet.
  • Scalability - You can increase your storage capacity according to your needs without extra hardware.
  • Disaster Recovery - The provider’s backup plans are usually more rigorous than what you could hope to maintain in-house.
  • Cost-effectiveness - For an individual or small business, cloud storage can be bone-cheap in comparison with physical backup.

Yet there are also disadvantages to cloud storage, such as recurrent costs associated with subscription services, privacy concerns over sensitive data, and a dependable internet connection.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are used to back up information, which is a common thing even in modern times.

  • Complete Control - If you’re using an external hard drive, you’re running your own self-contained backup rather than relying on a third-party-owned service.
  • Once-Off Cost - Since you only have to pay for the hard drive once, without protocols to maintain it, it costs little on an ongoing basis, keeping it affordable over the long run. 
  • Speed - In terms of speed, you can copy more things (given the massive capacity of external hard drives), and you’re not limited by internet bandwidth or any internet issues in general. 
  • Privacy - Privacy is enhanced with a physical copy of your file that is not stored on the ‘cloud’. Long story short, planners don’t want you to take ownership of your data (this is basic ownership concentration). It’s nice to be in full control. 

The downsides can be physical damage, theft or some other loss, and the fact that external hard drives need to be backed up regularly. And like anything else, they have a finite life. They can fail, and if your data isn’t already backed up, then it’s lost.

The Emergence of Hard Drives and Cloud Storage

The biggest step forward in data storage came with (a) the invention of the hard drive and (b) the introduction of the cloud.

Hard Drives

IBM

The principle behind the hard disk was used for the first time in the early 1950s by IBM, where their engineers at San Jose Laboratory invented the first hard disk drive (HDD). The first commercial usage of HDD began in the year of 1957 with the shipment of the IBM 305 RAMAC system containing IBM Model 350 disk storage.

This innovation created a new tier in the computer data hierarchy – typically called secondary storage. The first external hard drives, however, were huge units that remained the exclusive domain of behind-the-firewall activity.

Gradually, the technology improved, and the miniaturisation of hard drives greatly accelerated, creating opportunities for their home use and integration within personal computers.

Cloud Storage

This technology can be linked back to the 1960s and the work of the computer scientist Dr J C R Licklider, who envisioned a network of connected computers, but it wasn’t until 1983 that CompuServe added a small box of hard disk space where its consumer user base could stash files, the first iteration of what would be known today as a cloud storage service.

It had a name, too – the cloud – a term popularised in the 1990s by ATT’s PersonaLink Services.

Amazon Move in

The first large hosted service in the sense we are familiar with today was Amazon (launched in 2006), whose Amazon Web Services (AWS) was quickly known and adopted: for example, SmugMug, Dropbox and Pinterest all use Amazon for their storage needs.

All of these innovations by IBM, Amazon and other businesses have laid the groundwork for the diverse storage options currently available and have helped fundamentally reshape the way we store, access and manage our data.

The Most Powerful of Both on the Market in 2024

Among 2024's most powerful hard drives and cloud storage service providers, here is a list of the most trustworthy and efficient companies.

Most Powerful Hard Drives

  • Seagate Exos X20 20TB HDD: Massive capacity and decent performance. Best for an enterprise.
  • WD Gold 22TB HDD: High-capacity drives in a long-life config designed for ‘heavy workloads’, so these are suited to many data centres.
  • Toshiba X300 Pro 20TB: A top-notch hard drive that delivers great value to any business user seeking optimised speed and safety.

Most Powerful Cloud Storage Services

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): Still the dominant player in the market for cloud services, offering flexible storage solutions for personal and business use.
  • Cloud storage with Microsoft Azure: High-end cloud storage with features such as identity protection and two-step authentication, as well as globally distributed data centres.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Offers highly scalable and reliable cloud-storage facilities and powerful data-analysis tools.

These hard drives and cloud storage solutions are the technology market’s current superstars – they offer a whole new range of options for data storage and management.

SUMMARY

Deciding whether to use cloud storage or an external hard drive to keep your files and memories is a matter of priorities. In terms of accessibility, scalability and approach with data, using cloud storage might seem better suited because you can have access from any device you want; also, you can easily expand your needs and save only the contents of your need at the time, so it is a scalable approach. But the hard drive offers you guaranteed anonymity and security, so it’s down to you!