When it comes to local backups versus cloud backups, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every user. While one person may swear by cloud services, another may have much better luck with local backups. The only true thing for everyone is that you need to back up your data regularly because you never know when you may get a virus or your hardware may randomly fail.
You always want easy access to your files. After all, some people have small hard drives and use backups as their secondary hard drive. Note, if you use an external drive as a secondary hard drive, please also make a separate backup of that drive.
If you need to access your backups from anywhere, the answer to local backups over cloud backups is usually the cloud. After all, you can access your files anywhere you have internet access. Just make sure your connection is secure to avoid being easily hacked.
Cloud services often have applications too. It also makes it easier to access and store files on mobile devices.
On the other hand, a network attached storage device gives you the same remote access as long as your backup drive remains connected to your home network. NAS drives help create a private cloud at home. But you don’t get the same redundancy as the cloud, which means if your NAS goes down, your backup is gone.
Obviously, you don’t want a random person to access your files. This is where local backups shine. Unless someone breaks into your home, only people in your home can access the backup. Additionally, you can add password protection to your drive for added security.
If you use a NAS drive, you still face the same risks as any device connected to Wi-Fi. Make sure your network is as secure as possible to reduce your risk. Also, make sure that you are using updated antivirus tools as a virus on your network can infect your NAS drive.
With cloud services, your backups are as secure as the security measures taken by the provider. Look for a provider that uses strong encryption. It doesn’t mean that they will never be hacked, but your data is a bit safer. Keep in mind that cloud services tend to be bigger targets for hackers than for individuals.
For some users, security is the primary deciding factor when it comes to local backups versus cloud backups. Some choose to store more sensitive files locally and other files in the cloud.
With cloud backups, you are always at the mercy of your ISP. If your signal drops, your cloud backup is not accessible. Plus, even the best services only offer 99.9% uptime, which means there could be outages. They are rare, but they happen.
The only thing in your way with local backup is hardware failure. As long as the reader is working, you still have access to it.
Winner: Tie (99.9%, not bad at all.)
You can’t talk about local backups or cloud backups without mentioning the costs. You can buy an external hard drive for less than $ 100, and that’s the only expense.
With cloud storage providers, you pay a monthly fee. Many offer free storage up to a certain amount. For example, Google offers 15 GB of free storage. Depending on the provider, you can get terabytes of storage for less than $ 10 / month.
With local backups, you should replace your backup drive every five to ten years to be sure. SSDs (solid state drives) can last longer and are less likely to be damaged, but they cost more.
While you save money with local backups, cloud backups provide a safe redundancy. This means that if the vendor’s hard drive fails, there is another copy of your data on another server to avoid losing data.
Winner: Tie (save money against any risk of hardware failure)
Finally, you need to think about how easy it is to get your data back. If your device, such as a computer or phone, crashes, you want to restart it immediately.
With cloud backups, recovery times are limited to your connection speed and vendor-imposed data limits. For example, trying to bulk download all your files might take hours or days depending on how much you have stored.
With local backups, the connection is direct via a USB cable. The transfer is much faster, although it may still take a few hours if you have a lot of data to restore.
Which one should you choose?
As you can see, there is no clear winner when it comes to local backups versus cloud backups. The ideal answer is to use both. Having two backups of your files at any given time is always the best and safest option.
If you are concerned about security, store your most sensitive files locally or encrypt them before uploading them to the cloud. Some users even give a copy to a trusted friend or relative or buy a safe deposit box at their local bank.
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