Why It's Silly To Trust Dropbox (And Other Cloud Storage Services) With Everything

Dropbox founders target

Photo: Vasillis Online via Flickr

The transition from desktop to cloud computing is definitely upon us.As companies scramble to launch the next online storage killer, we wanted to remind you that cloud services should be considered a supplement to external hard drives because they offer users more flexibility.

Dropbox and similar services are meant to save and sync files, songs, pictures, and other digital media.

The services are great when you need to access something you may have left on your home computer, but what happens when you want to back up your entire computer? Save a movie? Or move beyond 2-20 gigs?

External Hard drives offer more storage

The minimum external hard drive is about 320GB and they go all the way up to 3TB with more options available.

They offer increased privacy

Cloud storage isn't necessarily the safest place for your most important files because it goes through a third party. The only way to be 100% sure your files are hack proof is to make sure they're not stored online.

Warranties

If your hard drive happens to fail within usually 3-5 years the manufacturers will replace them. They wont replace your data but being able to get a new hard drive is still a nice perk.

Portability

You can take it anywhere. Enough said.

Security

External hard drives can be encrypted so that you can only access them with a password. Some are so saavy that they have finger print readers that only allow you into them.

You can create your own cloud using an external hard drive

Creating your own Cloud using an external hard drive has a lot of advantages over trusting a third party with your data. Plus you can always add more storage at very little cost. We discuss how you can exactly do that here.

You get more storage for your money

A basic 1TB hard drive on Amazon is about $100 that breaks down to about $0.12 per gigabyte. Google Drive is offering 1TB of cloud storage for $49.99/mo. or $600 per year. This huge different helps your budget and allows you to physically have your files.

Now some drawbacks...

Physical hard drives can fail and take your data with them

Every spinning hard drive will fail. We don't know when, it could be today, tomorrow, or in 10 years but they will all one day experience failure. That is one huge advantage for the cloud. Despite limited storage it can't fail unless your providers servers do.

It's easier to get files on any device with Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

Sharing files between multiple devices requires plugging the hard drive in to each one and that can sometimes be annoying. Generally with cloud services all you need is a web browser.

Our recommendation...

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain 500 GB FireWire 800/ FireWire 400/USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive available at Amazon for $99.99.

Despite other manufacturers selling 1TB for $99.99 we still think its a good deal. Because of the rugged make you data has extra protection.

We love that this hard drive is ultra portable but is strong enough for you to toss it into a bag and keep going because of its drop-resistant and shock-resistant enclosure. The price is affordable and it is covered by a 3-year warranty.

Check it out.

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