Dec 30, 2011

Why should I pay a monthly fee for cloud storage for data backup when I can purchase an external hard disk?

The cost of cloud storage is pretty reasonable for small amounts of storage, as in free for 2GB. Costs go up as you reach actual usable amounts of storage, so 200GB costs around $10 per month. Clearly this is not a huge amount of money, but I can buy a couple of terabytes of external HDD storage for less than it would cost for 200GB each year. I'm not a large company, which on the upside means I have less data to store, but on the downside I have less money to spend, and a hundred dollars here and a few hundred there eventually add up to real money. Is it worth it for small companies to perpetually pay for cloud storage when the cost of on-site data backup is so affordable?


Three quick reasons come to my mind.  The storage is offsite, it enable you to have multiple layers of backup, and the cost is really quite low.  As jimlynch pointed out, there is always that element of concern about your data being out there under the control of someone else, and you being forced to rely on the security measured decided on by a cloud provider, whatever they might be.  I would be willing to wager that most of those cloud providers, at least the large, well known providers like Amazon, have a much greater focus on security that most small businesses ever will.  I do understand the inclination to purchase your own storage and not face ongoing expenses, but you also have to take into consideration the lifespan of those big HDDs you mentioned, and the time value of money when you look at ongoing smaller expenses vs. larger up front costs. 

Well, I suppose it depends on how valuable you think your data is and if your local disk will be safe or not. The cloud offers an additional place to store data off-site. So if you had a flood, hurricane, etc. you could access the data if your hard disks were destroyed.

However, putting your data on a cloud service could also be dangerous but in a different way. If somebody hacked the cloud service then your data could be stolen or corrupted.

It sounds like another local storage backup would probably be fine for you. I'd go with that unless you have some pressing need to put it in the cloud.
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