Your External Hard Drive Isn't Good Enough Anymore

article by Deeann B. author
Dating back to floppy disk technology, computer users have used some sort of external storage. Some may remember being regularly reminded to back up work in order to prevent loss.

As technology advanced, floppy disks gave way to flash drive and external hard drives. There are many users that are still using external hard drives to backup critical data. While it is smart to backup data, there are still risks inherent to using an external hard drive for that purpose.

One way to avoid the inherent risks common to external hard drive use is to use cloud storage. Signing up for one of the best cloud storage providers gives one an excellent backup source available whenever needed.

Hardware Damage or Failure

While it’s not uncommon for some hard drives to last for decades, the average device lasts about three to five years. The life span of a hard drive depends on the size of the drive, the frequency of use and the environment in which it’s used.

For example, smaller hard drives tend to give out faster than larger ones. The same is true for high usage. Some hard drives fall victim to environmental conditions such as excessive head,

Then there are the instances where a user damages a hard drive. External hard drives are often damaged when one drops a device. External drives can also be damaged due to power surges and electro static discharge.

If one were to use cloud storage, then they don’t have to worry about hard drive failures as far as data is concerned. All data is backed up to the cloud and if their local hard drive fails, they can just login to a new computer and download their data.

Viruses and Malware

Most users are aware of the importance of antivirus and malware protection for PCs but some overlook protection for external drives. As a result, external drives often become infected with viruses or malware.

If a drive becomes infected, it may become unusable until it is cleaned and in some cases cleaning may result in loss of critical files.

When one uses cloud storage, viruses and malware are not an issue. Cloud server have the best antivirus and malware protection available and once files are uploaded, they are protected. Users can read cloud storage reviews to find out just how much security is offered.

Data Corruption and Incompatibility

Another risk to external hard drives is data corruption. This can be caused in multiple ways but common causes are sudden computer shutdowns or when someone removes a drive from a computer without unmounting the drive.

Also, one has to consider the issue of compatibility. While most external drives will be recognized by most modern hardware, that doesn’t mean the software is going to be compatible. For example, a drive that is formatted to NTFS will be readable by a Mac but it cannot write to the drive without additional help.

Data corruption and compatibility issues are not a problem with cloud storage. If a file is corrupted on one’s local machine, they can retrieve the last version uploaded to the cloud. In addition, it doesn’t matter whether a user is on a PC, Mac or even a mobile device, they can access their data via the cloud. Operating systems are also irrelevant because most cloud services are web-based.


Theft is always a concern by computer users and when one has their computer stolen, that often results in the loss of an external hard drive. Most users keep the external drive with the laptop or computer they are using so when the laptop case is stolen, so is the external drive.

It is going to be virtually impossible for someone to steal your data if it is uploaded to the cloud. As long as one uses best practices for data security, data cannot be physically stolen.