Why we’d pick an external HDD over the Cloud

Whilst we and many other commentators persistently advocate the importance of people and businesses regularly backing up their data in order to avoid damaging data loss, research consistently shows that most people are still failing to do so.

Perhaps this stems from so many of us being blissfully unaware of the fact that storage media can and does fail? It could be because we’ve never considered just how valuable our data actually is both monetarily and sentimentally? These are both distinct possibilities, but we can’t help but feel that the plethora of potential options available for backups is causing confusion and that consumers would be more inclined to secure their data’s longevity if they knew what device or service was best suited to the task.

With this in mind, we’ve considered the two most obvious options available to non-commercial users with large amounts of data – namely external hard drives and Cloud storage – and have concluded that there’s a clear winner. So, without further ado, here’s why we’d pick an external HDD over the Cloud for backing up data:

Lower cost

As we’ve said previously, we’ve assumed that anyone reading this article is going to have to backup a substantial amount of data. If you don’t, most cloud operators offer modest amounts of storage for free. If, however, you’re looking to store a larger amount of data, an external HDD offers far better value for money.

An external HDD with 1TB of storage capacity can be purchased for less than £50. Cloud providers, on the other hand, will charge roughly £9.99 per month for the same amount of storage. In other words, you’ll have overspent in just six months and this figure will only grow until you cancel the service.

They can be kept offline

Yes, data centres invest a lot of time and money into security and they’re unlikely to be hacked as a result. That said, just consider how many high-profile companies have suffered from significant data breaches over the last few years. Sony, Yahoo, Equifax: these are just three examples and we think it’s safe to say that they’d invested heavily in security.

By keeping your drive offline, you’ll all but guarantee the security of the data stored on it. Furthermore, even if you wanted to add your external drive to a network to allow remote access, it’s unlikely that you’d personally be targeted by hackers – the same cannot be said of data centres.

Oh, and don't forget that the Cloud isn't immune to data loss.


Finally, backing up data to an external device is a far quicker process than uploading it to the Cloud. Granted, this may not seem like a huge bonus but, with free time at a premium these days, it’s certainly worth mentioning.

The case for the Cloud

Whilst we personally prefer external drives, it’s only fair to point out that the Cloud does have a few advantages over its main rival.

Most significantly, it’s cheaper if you have a small amount of data to back up. Most providers offer a few GBs for free and the capacity can be increased for a nominal monthly fee. Its only when you need to backup 500GB+ that Cloud storage becomes more expensive than more traditional storage options.

Cloud storage is also a good option for those who want to backup with a minimum of fuss as automatic backups can be setup with just a few clicks.

If you’ve failed to backup and have lost your data, you can find out how much it’ll cost to get your data back with a free quote from Fields Data Recovery today.