How are you backing up your important files, if at all? Backing up is crucial as disaster can strike anytime. Hard drives can fail at any given time and a malware infection might delete essential files.
There are two primary methods of storing data: locally or in the cloud. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a close look at each option.
Backing up locally means to use your own media, such as an external hard drive or CD, to store extra copies of your data. This is often the most affordable way to backup large amounts of data.
- You have 100 percent control over the data.
- Very affordable, especially for large amounts of data. External hard drives come quite cheap these days.
- No internet connection required.
- It’s not always very easy or convenient to find room to store your external media.
- Just like your primary hard drive, external media can fail as well.
- Possible theft
- No data access on-the-go unless you bring the media with you which might be too bulky. However, flash drives may work well.
Local storage not for you? Try cloud storage, which means to store data online. There are many services, both free and paid, that provide cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Windows Live SkyDrive. Some services are free but if you’re trying to store large amounts of data, expect to make a payment.
- Some services offer a basic free version, such as Dropbox (2 GB) and SkyDrive (25 GB)
- Available anywhere there’s an internet connection without having to carry anything extra
- Third parties handle taking care of the hardware so no worries about storing external media in a safe place
- Internet connection required. In addition, a relatively fast connection is recommended for the uploads and downloads to work well.
- Depending on a third party that you have no control over. They can technically do whatever they want with your files. Be sure to read their terms and privacy policies.
- The third party might randomly shut down due to financial hardships or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Just like your primary hard drive, the hardware third parties are using can fail at any time.
- Often can be more expensive if you need to store large amounts of data. Free services usually only offer a maximum of a few gigabytes.
Cloud storage is quickly gaining popularity with events such as the introduction of Chrome OS, an operating system that is completely online.
So what do you prefer? Local storage or cloud storage? Or do you prefer to use both so if one fails, you have the other to fall back to? Are you even backing up your data at all? Vote in the poll below and share your backup methods with us in the comments.