Cloud storage is a fantastic solution for consumers looking to backup data or photos, but is it the best choice for your needs? The list of pros is lengthy, although we have four reasons to avoid a new cloud storage service if you re considering one. That includes security along with a few areas that tend to sneak up on new users in the cloud.
What is Cloud Storage?
Have you heard the term cloud storage but aren t exactly sure what it is? That s understandable considering how many services exist along with cloud computing and a slew of marketing terms. Simply put, the cloud acts as a place for users and businesses to store or back up data.
Business rent space on servers in data centers whereas the average user turns to cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Those are two of the more popular options for consumers today, and a great way to backup photos, files, and other data online.
While you can find thousands of favorable cloud storage service reviews, there are some drawbacks. We ll tell you why you may want to avoid a new cloud storage service and have provided some alternatives for consumers with a variety of needs.
Reasons to Avoid a New Cloud Storage Service
Backing up your data in the cloud removes the need for USB drives and other forms of physical storage. You can set these services to sync up to your devices on a schedule but will want to reconsider if you re concerned about any of these areas.
As the world goes wireless, security has become crucial for anyone connected to the net. It s incredibly important for businesses but also for the average consumer using cloud-based services like Drive or Dropbox.
All the top cloud storage services provide excellent security but are still prone to hack attempts like anything else online. Having photos of family vacations compromised would be upsetting to anyone. Storing those online is common, but so is backing up more sensitive data including passwords and personal records.
Encryption can help, although that comes at a cost and is not something the average user would consider. This is also where offers for free storage can tempt people into subpar services. A quick Google search will bring up hundreds of companies that provide free cloud storage. There is usually a catch, however, and most have poor security or could even be scams.
If you re okay with the security a cloud storage service provides, you should still keep your general privacy in mind. That means you need to consider their terms of service along with the company s data collection policies.
Small cloud storage providers may seem like an unsavory choice for obvious reasons. Larger companies like Alphabet and Microsoft are known for collecting data as well. When you sign-up for their plans, free or paid, you are consenting to a degree of data collection.
That problem becomes amplified when you connect to other services. That includes your Google or Microsoft account as well as smartphones, tablets, or any device that can sync with the cloud. How often do you read the terms of service in full when signing up for a product or service online?
Probably not often, but you ll want to start cloud storage services. Companies have put together data profiles on customers in the past, and even major services like Dropbox can have issues withdata breaches.
Cloud storage solutions are geared towards users and businesses with access to the internet. While useful for long-term storage of data that doesn t get refreshed, many consumers use these services regularly.
Internet outages can happen from a range of factors. It could be a problem at the data center or server where your data is stored. Have a spotty internet connection at home or experience frequent power outages? That can also be an issue, especially if you need to access something in the cloud immediately.
Even major companies like Google have had outagesthat lasted hoursaffecting services like Docs and Drive. If you want to ensure you have access to certain files or data at all times, there are better alternatives that don t require power or the internet.
How much storage space do you need? If you only want to back up a few hundred photos online, you don t need to worry about pricing as a reason to avoid a new cloud storage service. Drive and Dropbox both give users free space to store their files online. That s common with other providers as well, but when you reach a point, you ll need to pay for the cloud.
An individual Dropbox plan for 2TB of storage is $11.99 per month. Drive is a few dollars cheaper for the same amount of data while Microsoft One Drive price is $6.99 for 1TB. If you need unlimited storage space, plans start at around $30 a month depending on the service. That may seem like a deal, but it isn t unless you plan to access that data regularly.
By comparison, you can purchase a solid 5TB portable hard drive for around $100. 6 terabytes of storage from Microsoft is the same price for a year. USB drives and external hard drives allow you to store data for years and decades for one price. Some can even connect to the cloud, but you don t have to rely on the third-parties and have total control of your data.
Alternatives to Cloud Storage Services
The best alternative to a new cloud storage service are the methods most people used before the cloud existed. Portable hard drives, USB sticks, and other forms of storage media are the only way to go when you don t want to depend on the cloud.
WD Elements Desktop Hard Drive
Many cloud service providers only give their users a few gigabytes of data to work with for free and monthly chargers kick in at a 1-2TB. You can put that monthly fee towards this Western Digital hard drive instead, and load up to 20 terabytes of data.
This plug-and-play hard drive will have you transferring files in minutes through a USB port. It s USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatible for a wide range of devices. It s also formatted out of the box for Windows 10 but can be reformatted for Macs. The sleek design would look great on any desktop, although this drive needs a wall outlet along with a USB connection.
Western Digital makes some of the best hard drives around. The WD Elements Desktop is geared towards users that need a lot of storage for their laptop or desktop PC. While we chose the 20TB model, this drive is available in capacities ranging from 4-22 terabytes.
SanDisk Extreme 1TB PRO Flash Drive
External hard drives are a great way to keep large amounts of data out of the cloud. Looking for something a bit more compact? A flash drive can solve your problems, and SanDisk s Extreme PRO line is one of the best options around.
Like the WD Elements hard drive, the SanDisk Extreme PRO is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 drives. That s because it s a USB 3.2 stick, so you ll get top speeds regardless of the file size. It won t take up much space at a little over 2.5 inches long and will hold up well thanks to a metal casing.
This sleek little USB drive can provide 1TB of storage and will pay for itself in about a year. SanDisk s reliable drive will last far longer than that and comes in four capacities. You can pick up 128GB, 256GB, or a 512GB version of the SanDisk Extreme PRO as well.