Physical Storage vs. Cloud Storage: Which One Suits You?
Over the past few years, the debate between physical and cloud storage has become more prominent as technology advances. With the emergence of cloud storage, the dependence of individuals and businesses on physical storage devices has decreased drastically in the recent decade. Physical storage refers to storing data on physical hardware, while cloud storage means storing data on remote servers accessible through the internet.
Although cloud storage has become a necessity for many industries today, some people still believe in the superiority of physical storage. Suppose you are a business owner looking to acquire IT security services and are wondering whether it is better to invest in cloud storage or to stick to physical storage. In that case, this article is right for you!
Read on to find out the pros and cons that come with each of these storage solutions.
What is Physical Storage?
As mentioned earlier, physical storage refers to storing data on physical hardware, such as servers, hard disk drives, and USB flash drives. Also referred to as ‘local storage,’ physical storage occurs when you save your files on storage devices or local servers, which you can control and operate yourself. Whenever you purchase a device, it usually comes with a certain amount of physical storage. However, this space can run out rapidly.
The Benefits of Physical Storage
- Does not require an internet connection: One of the best things about physical storage is that it requires no internet connection. This means you can directly save your files to any device without internet access. This provides convenience and added security since your files will not require protection at rest and in transit on a third-party server.
- Full control of privacy and security: If you want no one else to have your files – whether encrypted or not – then local storage is your best option, as it offers more privacy than cloud storage. That said, physical storage may present other security risks, like losing your device. Fortunately, you can easily minimise this risk by having your drives encrypted.
- No periodic subscription fees: Cloud storage providers earn money by charging users with periodic fees to keep their files on their platforms. If you do not want to pay such a recurring fee, you should opt for physical storage instead. With physical storage, you only need to pay once – that is, for your hardware.
The Drawbacks of Physical Storage
- Limited access to files: If accessibility and convenience are important to you, then physical storage may not be your best choice. Unless your hardware drive is connected to the internet, you will not likely be able to access your files on any device with physical storage.
- Vulnerability of files to damage or loss: Cloud storage providers utilise data centres that take strong precautions to avoid physical damage, data loss, or tampering. When you own your physical storage, it essentially means that you need to take on these responsibilities yourself. Device damage and theft are serious concerns when it comes to physical storage.
- High upfront costs: While local storage costs have lessened over the past couple of years, buying and setting up a server can still cost thousands of dollars. Aside from this, you may also need to outsource IT support in Singapore to troubleshoot, maintain, and upgrade your physical storage. If you have a limited budget, you can just opt for external hard drives, which are relatively more affordable, or simply invest in cloud storage instead.
What is Cloud Storage?
Unlike physical storage, which makes use of physical hardware for data storage, cloud storage stores data on remote servers that can be accessed through the internet. In essence, this storage solution enables you to save your files over the internet on servers controlled and operated by a cloud storage provider. These providers usually make backup copies of your files in numerous data centres and secure them with complex encryption. With cloud storage, you can access your files in the cloud from any internet-connected device.
The Benefits of Cloud Storage
- Wide accessibility to files: Wide accessibility is among the biggest advantages of cloud storage. Basically, cloud storage providers allow you to have your files accessed from any internet-connected device, and some even provide offline file access if you have no internet connection.
- Strong file security and data recovery: Another great thing about cloud storage is that it is extremely secure, especially if you make use of a provider that offers end-to-end encryption. With cloud storage, your files are likewise backed up across several servers, so data loss is not likely to occur, specifically in comparison to local storage.
- File-sharing and collaboration: With physical storage, you must still utilise a separate service to transfer your files. On the other hand, with cloud storage, you can typically have your files directly shared with anyone from the storage interface. And since file-sharing is built-in, you can also collaborate with others on the files you are working on.
The Drawbacks of Cloud Storage
- Requires access to the internet: If you want to upload files to the cloud, your device must be connected to the internet. Although many services now offer offline mode, you will still be required to have an internet connection to download your files to your device, and they usually take up plenty of storage space on your device.
- You need to secure your account: One of the biggest security threats to cloud storage is unauthorised access to your account. However, you can avoid hacks by selecting a security-concentrated cloud service that provides two-factor authentication and alerts regarding phishing attempts.
- Some cloud storage providers are weak on privacy: Providers such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive are not private by default. These companies have access and can scan each of your files, including your sensitive documents and photos. This can become a huge security risk. Nonetheless, you can mitigate this issue by selecting a privacy-first provider that makes use of end-to-end encryption by default, which means that not even the provider itself can view your data.
Both physical storage and cloud storage come with their benefits and drawbacks. Which storage solutions are suitable for your business will largely depend on your needs and priorities. Generally, if you do not want to be restricted by an internet connection and prefer total control over the privacy of your files, physical storage may be your best option. On the other hand, if your top concerns are accessibility and data security, then you may be better off with cloud storage.
Whether you are looking for physical or cloud storage solutions, JK Tech is the provider you should partner with! JK Tech is a premier IT consulting firm in Singapore that provides a plethora of top-notch IT products and services, such as physical hardware, software programs Adobe and Microsoft 365, Data Centre Modernisation, Device as a Service, Cybersecurity, Email Services, Cloud, and a lot more. Do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our extensive products and services.