Backing Up Your Data — Manual vs. Cloud

You can reduce the risk of losing all the files on your mobile devices or computer by regularly backing up data. There are different ways to accomplish this task, each of which offer different benefits and risks. Experts suggest you backup and save your data on at least two separate storage systems, although one backup should suffice for most people. Here’s a breakdown of the two common methods:

Manual Backups

The days of floppy discs and burning CDs are long gone, but manual storage using USB or external hard drives still survives as a secure method. This approach requires you to manually update and transfer your files, which can take a significant amount of time. And while using external drives eliminates some of the risks of hacking and data breaches, the threats of damage due to natural disasters and/or water damage still exist. The main restriction of this method is that only one user can access the files at any given time.

On the plus side, external drives don’t require any form of subscription or repeat payment. External drives with 1TB of storage can be purchased for anywhere between $45 and $60. This option may be better suited for individuals looking to avoid monthly fees and those pesky storage upgrade reminders that just don’t seem to go away. In this case, retrieving files of any size do not require an Internet connection, allowing users to access files regardless of where they are.

Cloud Backups

Today, most consumers rely on the cloud to house and protect valued photos, documents, and files. Utilizing the cloud allows you to access files across multiple devices and retrieve information from anywhere with Internet connection. The downfall, of course, is that password-protected storage is more vulnerable to hacking and theft. This is an unavoidable risk users must take on, so it’s advised that you carefully set a unique password.

On the positive side, backing up data to any cloud service does not require as much time and management as manual backups. In most cases, cloud storage is maintained automatically and constantly updates itself with the latest versions of files. Popular platforms including Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox will give new users anywhere from 2 to 15GB of storage for free and offer different levels of upgrades for a small monthly fee.These leading platforms offer 1TB of storage for a standard $9.99/month, with OneDrive keeping a competitive advantage selling 1TB for only $6.99/month. All of these options allow for infinite scalability; whenever a user needs more storage, they can purchase it.

There is no clear answer when determining which method of data backup is most effective in terms of cost, time, and safety. Manual and cloud storage both offer a variety of benefits and safety features for users, and whatever works best for you is the way to go.

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