External Hard Drive vs Online Storage

Ask a computer disaster recovery expert on the best practices for prevention and the first advice you will get is to create a backup of all the data on your hard disks. Every computer user, whether with a standalone desktop or as part of an army of WAN/LAN, the principle is to have a backup solution. Again, experts in the backup solutions’ provider segment are hugely aligned with online backup being a better ROI over expensive hardware or External Hard drive backup solutions.

The reasons for the slow migration from an external hard drive backup to cloud-based (which is always available online) are several. Read below to get an in-depth look at how online backup works to everyone’s advantage:

Local Backup costs are higher than Online Backup costs
The very first step where external hard drive proves to be a disadvantage is the COST of setting up the solution. Typically, an external hard drive (such as Western Digital) and any backup software would bring the costs of setting up this alternative to a minimum of $165.

The cost at which the online backup solution is set up, is typically on the service provider you choose (such as the most popular Mypcbackup or Zipcloud) and would set you back by approximately $5 a month for unlimited backup. However, if one were to shop around for use promotion offers, such as a 20% promotional discount, the prices would average to as low as $165 for four years of online backup. This is the same cost as setting up the local backup average.

However, on the ongoing cost aspect, an online backup solution will continue to be a monthly cost, while local/external hard drive backups do not incur similar costs.

Basic Technical comfort required for installing external hard drives
At the second step of installing the external hard drives, a basic level of technical expertise is required. It is definitely not just clicking on a few options and your backup is installed (as it is the case with online backup solutions). Here you will be required to install the drive and then configure it for the backup software you’ve chosen. A certain level of technical confidence is definitely required in order to execute this, though the process may be very simple.

Online backup on the other hand only needs to set-up the online software backup of the vendor you chose and you are all set-up for the next couple of years.

Initial Backup and Incremental Backup
Both solutions have a long-phase of initial backup.

While the local hard disk backup software will begin to copy all the existing files in the background, one is always concerned about over heating the disk and the noises that the hard disk will make when the actual copying/writing is being done.

In the case of online backup software and actual backup, the greatest concern is the speed of the broadband connection in use. In case of commercial or business bandwidth the capacity of file transfer is enormous, but the number of files being moved is massive and would be sporadic.
Therefore, a local backup would require just a couple of hours while online backup completion could take about 1-2 days.

The backup of new files and changed files will take just a couple of hours, subject to broadband speeds in use. Whereas, local backup the incremental backup will ideally require the computer to be non-engaged to perform the backup.

Data Restoration
Both solutions do offer the same level of speed and performance to restore a file from backup. Once you place a request for a file from backup the retrieving software will save the file on the computer in both the cases.

Online Backup Safer and Accessible in Real-time
Perhaps where online backup truly becomes a winning option, is that you do not have to secure your data in the physical sense as with the local external drive. Protecting it from natural disasters- fire, floods, power surges; theft or loss; are definite hazards of owning an external hard drive for backup. Additionally, you will have to carry the additional baggage of the disk whenever you travel or need it use it.

Online backup on the other hand does face security threats, but will give greater mobility and easy access at all times.

Take Away
Online Backup has an edge over external hard disk backup solutions because of the following-

  • The ease of a behind-the-scene, virtual, secure and real-time reachable storage format.
  • No hands-on securing and maintaining of backup copies required, as is the case with external hard drive storage solutions. Besides, the entire online backup solution is managed remotely.
  • The costs of setting-up an online backup solution and its ongoing-cost over a few years prove to be better Return on Interest (ROI) over expensive external hard drives, which needed to be upgraded to better technology incurring repeated ongoing costs.

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