Using an external drive to backup your files is an easy, and inexpensive way (approx. $100 for 2 TB) to backup your data. So why use online backup? Well, external drives are not nearly as safe and secure as online backup, for several reasons:
- An external drive can get lost/stolen
- An external drive can crash (just like your regular computer’s hard drive can crash)
- In the unfortunate case that your house sustained fire/water damage, etc., not only could your regular computer be harmed, but the backup drive as well
- Can’t be accessed from a remote location
- Isn’t automatic unless you setup complicated software or purchase automated software
- Even automated backup software doesn’t always back-up in real-time (i.e. it might do it once a day and you could therefore lose any changes you made to a file during the day)
With online backup however, the process is EXTREMELY simple, and you get real-time, continuous backup of your precious data. There’s no need to manually backup files orworry that your external drive is getting full, slow or ready to crash.
Another huge benefit to online backup is file versioning. With nearly every backup company you can access prior versions of files. So if you accidentally saved over a file, or saved changes you didn’t want, or even if you deleted a file, you can access prior versions of that file to find exactly what you want. In addition, you can access your files from any computer (or via a mobile app) in case you are not at home and urgently need a file. No need to carry a laptop with you.
As for cost, while an online backup solution can, in some cases, cost more than an external hard drive, you have to factor in that the external drive will only last x number of years before needing to be replaced. With online backup there’s no need to worry about that. Simply pay your annual or monthly fee and your all set. Plus, several companies offer unlimited data for a price less than that of most 1 TB external drives. Backblaze for example is just $50/year for unlimited, and Carbonite is $59/year.