Have you ever made backups of your hard drive or SSD on your home or office computer?
The files you have on your home or work computer, such as photos, videos, receipts, software, banking information, and personal information, are probably very important to you. Losing this kind of information can greatly affect you, and it is not uncommon for hard drives to eventually fail over time. If your hard drive does fail, all of your files could disappear in an instant.
Think about all the files you have on your computer, and what would happen if you lost them. No matter how many files you have or how big the file size, you should always create backup files
Why Should You Backup Your Files?
Mechanical hard drives can fail at any time, and over time they become more prone to failure. People often do not backup their files because it would take up too much space on their PC. Other people do backup their files, but on the same drive as the originals. This is a big mistake because if the drive fails, all of your backups will be lost as well. It is much safer to keep several copies of your backups on separate drives, and in different locations.
For business owners, not creating backups can be detrimental. Sometimes data can not be recovered at all, or can only be partially recovered. The more time you spend trying to retrieve lost data, the more your business will be impacted. If all of your files have been lost, that could have a devastating impact on your business. For businesses that heavily rely on data, it just isn’t worth the risk, especially if nothing can be recovered.
Data corruption and drive failure are not things that we have control over, and creating backups is the best way to prevent losing your files.
Luckily for you, storage options have become more accessible and a lot more affordable over the years. There are now many 2TB or 3TB hard drives available for $100 or less.
With the new affordability of storage options, there are 2 options when it comes to creating and storing backups for your files, online cloud storage, and on-site NAS storage.
What is Online Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage allows you to store your files remotely on another network, where a third party takes care of maintaining, managing, and encrypting your files. Using cloud storage to create and store backups of your files is a very cost-friendly option for storing your files.
Cloud storage providers operate and manage the security of your files as well as their whole server. They take care of maintaining drive performance, and physical storage durability. In most cases, you pay for the amount of storage you use, and you can access your files as you need them. Cloud storage providers will have a room filled with servers, with hundreds of drives storing your data and the data of thousands of other users. You may have already used the biggest cloud storage provider, Google Drive.
With cloud storage, your files will be stored on the internet by a cloud storage provider, and allow you to access your files from anywhere at any time. Rather than needing access to a physical drive to get your backup, you can access your files from anywhere, and you can also back up your files from wherever you are.
Because your files are being saved off-site, your files will still be safe and accessible in the case of a disaster. Larger cloud storage providers create copies of your data and save them in several locations, eliminating the risk of losing your files in the case of one facility going down.
What is NAS Storage?
NAS, or “Network Attached Storage”, has become an affordable option for those looking to save their files on-site. Instead of letting a third party manage your files, NAS storage lets you keep your drives with you, giving you on-site access to your files. You can even use a NAS storage device to offload file movement to and from your computer or smartphone. Additionally, NAS storage solutions allow you to access your files from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection, just like Cloud storage. However, you will still be able to access your files without an Internet connection, as the physical drive is stored on site, allowing you to retrieve files directly from the drive if necessary.
NAS devices allow you to choose how much storage you need and can connect your home or office devices, allowing you to move files around quickly and easily. There are different types of NAS storage devices with different specifications based on what you need. If you are just looking to backup your files, then a NAS device with a single or double bay may be for you. For most home users, for example, a two bay NAS device should be more than enough for photos, videos, and file backups. For office use, or a business with a larger team, more storage bays will be necessary. The more bays you have, the more storage space you will have.
If you choose to backup your files using NAS storage, you get a lot more control over how much storage you use, how many copies of your data you will have, and the speed of the drives. Using an NAS device will give you the option of whether or not you want your files to be online or not.
Which Storage Option is Safer for Backing Up Your Files?
The biggest controversy surrounding cloud storage is security. While your files can be accessed remotely on both cloud storage and a NAS device, a third party is responsible for your data if you choose cloud storage. Larger cloud storage providers do encrypt your data and have added security measures to protect your files. Before choosing a cloud storage provider, make sure you do your research and find out if the company will provide enough security for your files. If you would prefer to have complete control over the security of your files, NAS may be a better option for you.
Another factor to consider when choosing between NAS storage and cloud storage is how much storage you need. Typically, if you do not need more than 200GB of storage space, it is more cost-effective to use cloud storage to store your backup data. If you need to store more data than this, consider investing in a NAS storage device. Instead of paying a monthly fee to a cloud storage provider, making a 1-time payment for a NAS device and drives may be well worth the investment.
Ultimately, whether you choose NAS storage or cloud storage depends on your storage needs and your preferences. Consider what your storage needs are while comparing each option to make sure you choose the one that is best for you.
Which Online Cloud Storage Provider Should You Choose?
If you’ve decided that cloud storage is the best option for you, here are the 3 cloud storage providers we recommend for storing your file backups.
Crashplan is an easy to use cloud storage solution specializing in backups. You have full control over how often backups are made, which devices get backed up, and any changes to your files. Crashplan even backs up the files you’ve worked on most recently so you don’t have to worry about losing your recent work. While your files are in transit, and while they are in storage, they will be encrypted so only you can access them.
Moving files from Crashplan to your computer is easier than any other provider, and they allow you to choose where your files will be saved. Crashplan is great because there are absolutely no extra fees or file size restrictions
Google Drive is the most used cloud storage provider, allowing you to save up to 15GB of data for free. Google Drive is also the most affordable option for those looking for cloud storage at only $0.02 per GB. Unlike IDrive, Google Drive is not dedicated to storing backups and you will have to manually upload and download the files you wish to backup.
Google allows you to pay for the exact amount of storage you use, and will create several copies of the data you upload, so you never have to worry about losing your data.
Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage
This cloud storage solution comes free with Microsoft Office 365 and will let you edit your files without needing to download them first. It is one of the best cloud storage solutions for Windows 10 users, but is also compatible with MacOS, Android, and iOS. It is simple to use and allows you to access your files across multiple devices. We recommend OneDrive if you need to access your files across several different devices and plan to migrate data from one device to another.
It is far too risky to simply not back up your data, so no matter which method you choose, always make sure you create backups.