Is it Better to Store Data on the Cloud or on a Hard Drive?

IT Vision, Nelspruit, IT Company, laptop storage

With so much of our work and personal lives revolving around computers, just about everyone has a surplus of data, and they all need somewhere to store it.

But what’s the best option?

There are few methods of storing digital data – either locally on the hard drive, optical drive, memory cards, tape drive or remotely with a third-party service.


Both options have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Not all are enough technically sound to feel the present topic as basic.

Knowing what points can help to choose the method that is best suited for your data may help to use smartphones to 2-in-1 laptops more efficiently.

Here’s an in-depth look at the pros and cons of storing data on “the cloud” versus a hard drive.

Overview of Cloud Storages


The concept of “the cloud,” also commonly referred to as “cloud computing,” was introduced in 2006.

It basically entails storing data on the Internet, or more specifically, multiple data centres worldwide.



Because the cloud allows customers to store data on the Internet, anyone with a cloud account will be able to access their files from anywhere in the world, from any device. All they need is Internet access.

Peace of Mind

Storing data outside of a remote server means that cloud users can rest easy knowing that, even if their computer or laptop bursts into flames or some worst-case scenario occurs, their data will be unharmed.

Ample Storage

Some websites that provide cloud computing services will allow customers up to 15GB of storage for free. To put that into perspective, that’s well over 1 million pages of documents! Additionally, when someone stores data on the cloud, they create more space for downloading software on their own device.


It is much cheaper even if we take account of adding data backup/mirror and redundancy.


Slower Download Speeds

“Convenient” is often synonymous with “fast,” but that’s not always the case when storing data on the Internet. Sometimes cloud customers will need to have a bit more patience when it comes to accessing their files

Security Risk

Cloud security tends to be effective. It’s also constantly improving. But putting anything on the Internet is a risk, especially when considering how computer hacking continues to pervade businesses worldwide.

Overview of Hard Drives


For as long as there have been computers, there have been hard drives, or “local storage.”

Using a hard drive entails storing data on a computer’s local server.

There are two types of hard drives:

The O.G. “hard disk drive,” or the one that looks like a small CD with a mechanical arm

IT Vision, Nelspruit, IT Company, laptop storage

“Solid State Drive,” or “SSD,” a new device that pays more similarities to a microchip

More and more people are making the switch to SSD since its lack of mechanical parts enables it to run faster and smoother (although technology such as Intel Optane memory can help hard disk drive users achieve SSD-level speeds).


No Internet Connection Required

Because hard drive users store data offline, they can immediately grab it any time they want without having to rely on Internet access or wait out slow download speeds where public Wi-Fi is spotty or mobile internet is cheap.

Massive Storage

15GB of storage is generous, like buying someone a beer at the bar. But 2TB of storage is like buying someone the whole brewery. That’s the gigantic level of storage hard drive users get.


Today, entry grade solid state drive not exactly too costly.


It is fast especially for transferring, accessing larger files such as RAW files of DSLR, unedited video files, Adobe Photoshop files, files related to data science, master backup of website/database etc.


Third Party Accessibility

When a hard drive user has their laptop with them, accessing their data couldn’t be easier. But when they don’t? Retrieving their data suddenly becomes a hassle. They also run the risk of forgetting to bring their hard drive with them to an important meeting. But no matter how forgetful someone is, they can’t forget the Internet.

They’re Costly

While cloud accounts are relatively cheap, hard drives cost $100 at the bare minimum. And in some cases, the cost can even reach the thousands.


It is not easy to always carry your external drive everywhere. A USB OTG cable required to connect with Android smartphones/tablets.

Conclusion: Storage is in the Eye of the Beholder

Factually, both ways have different use-cases.

External storage is faster and cheaper per byte, but it can be a hassle to carry it around.

Cloud storage is usually more costly for high volume sensitive data.

We have to pay a monthly fee but essentially we do not purchase the cloud storage – we pay the rent.

Both the cloud and hard drives have obvious advantages in distinct cases, but other times can leave users in a tight spot.

Choosing the right option is about carefully considering your needs, access to Wi-Fi, and how sensitive the material you’ll be storing is going to be.