Cloud Storage vs. USB Drives

Cloud Storage vs. USB Drives

Portable storage is a big issue these days. Entire industries have gone to great lengths to improve their portable storage options. One solution that some companies are adopting is to store their data on the Cloud! Cloud computing is internet-based computing where information is shared on a demand basis; similar to how an electric grid functions.

What was really interesting to us here at Premium USB was to determine how useful Cloud computing can be, as well as determine if it can knock off the king of portability, the USB flash drive, from its pedestal as the industry leader for portable storage. Here are some quick pros and cons to each type of technology to help you decide which is right for your business.

Cloud – Pros

  1. Because there is no equipment, Cloud storage is fast to set up. Most of the time, your Cloud network will be set up by a third party company for you, and everyone will be given usernames and passwords to access the stored data.
  2. Cloud networks have unlimited scalability. Most companies who offer Cloud will either have data capacities you can purchase, or offer plans that depending on how much information is on their servers, they bill you accordingly. With Cloud, you use very little storage, or you could literally have unlimited online storage for your company's files.
  3. Cloud offers much more freedom than a traditional network. Since all your information is stored online, accessing your data is much easier than before. Simply put in a username and password, and you get instant access to your stored information anywhere in the world.
  4. Cloud offers reliable backup as well. In the unlikely event your company’s network was to crash or catch a malicious virus, you might be out of business for several hours or days! But with a Cloud storage backup, you can access your information instantly, which prevents any unnecessary downtime.

Cloud – Cons

  1. One problem with storing stuff on Cloud is bandwidth. Depending on the size of your business, Cloud storage may be out of your financial reach because your business is simply too big. For example, Sony Picture Image Works graphical designers generate between 4 and 12 terabytes of data a day. Imagine their monthly bill on that amount of information every month if they had switched to Cloud!
  2. Another con to Cloud storage is performance. Your connection speed to transfer files is based on the speed of your internet as well as how many users are currently accessing the server. Depending on the demand, transferring files could take longer than normal depending on your bandwidth.
  3. Security is a big issue with Cloud as well. Do you know who has access to your server or how tight your security software is? Do you trust a third party company to keep your information confidential? All of these questions need to be answered before you decide to go to the Cloud.
  4. The last con would be that some files or projects might not be Cloud worthy. If you are paying for a certain amount of Cloud space and bandwidth, you really want to make sure what is stored on the servers is actually worth the space. You also have to ask yourself how sensitive that information is- Clouds can be compromised. Customer information would be one type of information you may not want to put on the Cloud, for example.

USB – Pros

  1. USB drives tend to be on the lower end of capacity; this makes them a fantastic choice for quick files transfers between computers or portable backup storage. If you need to move some files from one computer to another or hand off information to an employee, it is rather hard to beat the speed and efficiency of a flash drive.
  2. USB drives are also super cheap compared to Cloud. With a USB drive, you can buy as low as 1GB for a few bucks with the price steadily increasing as the capacity goes up. This means you can purchase what you require on a need basis without forking over a monthly bill.
  3. USB drives are also extremely handy. You can store them on your desk for easy access, keep them in your pocket or briefcase for easy transporting, and are the most widely recognized and accepted form of storing data.

USB – Cons

  1. One downside to a USB flash drive is that they can get lost rather easily. The average flash drive is only a couple inches long and maybe an inch wide depending on the model; it’s not hard to see how a simple misplacement of the drive could result in a total loss of data.
  2. Flash drives are also a one-time buy item, meaning that if you buy a 4GB flash drive, but still require more space, then you will have to buy another drive. Often times people underestimate how much information they will carry around with them, and end up buying a larger size drive. This can cost more money.
  3. USB drives, for the most part, are simply a storage device to hold your information and are not protected with any form of security. This makes USB drives a prime target for thieves or a lucky recipient who found your lost drive to access your data. However, there are some drives on the market that are extremely secure and have even gotten government security access up to level 3, like the Ironkey.

All in all, both technologies offer an amazing way to store your companies and personal information and you’re probably much better off getting one of these to speed up your business. The question remains, though: which one do you choose? It is our recommendation that you first decide what you will need this storage for, as well as how much. Do you expect your business to grow? Is owning a Cloud storage fast for small file transfers, or would USB drives be a more logical solution? These are all questions you need to answer before choosing to go with the Cloud, or USB drives.