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Is It Time To Switch To The Cloud For Backups?
As with most tech decisions, the answer is: it depends.
I am not yet storing my backups to any Cloud service. I probably will make the switch at some point in the future, but I’m not there yet because for me, so far, the cons outweigh the pros.
Cloud Storage Pros
1. Your stored files are available to you anywhere you can get internet connectivity.
2. No need to store your own, multiple, local backups: a reputable, quality Cloud storage provider maintains its own backups and guarantees that in the event of some kind of problem with the primary copy, they can restore from a backup copy.
3. No worries about local disasters: since your files are stored on a server that’s far, far away, even if your home or office burns down, your files will still be safe in the Cloud.
4. With some Cloud services, the option for file sharing is available: you can grant access to specific files or folders to specific people by granting them login credentials and certain rights on your Cloud drive – this can be very helpful for multi-worker projects where people from around the country or the globe need to share files or have access to the same files, for small businesses, or for families that want to share some, but not all, of their files with one another.
Cloud Storage Cons
1. Your stored files are only available to you anywhere you can get internet connectivity. Anywhere you can’t get (or don’t want to pay extra for) WiFi, you still need to keep a local copy on your computer, flash drive, memory card, etc.
2. Expense – nowadays you can get a quality external drive with vast amounts of storage pretty darned cheap. I bought the one pictured above as a Father’s Day gift. It cost me less than $55 (with free Prime shipping) and it has a capacity of 1 terabyte.
By comparison, one year of unlimited Cloud storage on Amazon is $59.99. Google Cloud storage pricing is based on an annoyingly complex formula where you’re charged per month by the gigabyte and by how frequently you access your files. Other services charge as much as $50 per month for unlimited storage. I’ve yet to find a single option that costs the same or less than that drive above, and I don’t need more than 1TB of storage.
3. File transfer speed to and from the Cloud can be slow. You’re totally at the mercy of your WiFi connection when trying to upload, download or access Cloud files. This is no big deal for small files, but when you’re talking about video, large graphic/image files or database files, you may be in for a very frustrating wait that you wouldn’t have at all if you were accessing those files from an external hard drive plugged directly into your computer.
Those three factors above are what’s keeping me from going with the Cloud for backup. For now, I’ll stick with my local, external backup drives. But if those three factors aren’t as important to you as the advantages of Cloud storage, Cloud storage may be the more attractive option for you.
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