Is cloud storage a suitable replacement for USB drives?

What a good question right? USB drives have become the norm these day, but what about cloud storage? In this article I will go over the advantages and disadvantages of both, I will also explain my opinion.

So what is the difference?

To start with I will explain the difference between cloud storage and USB drives. It’s simple, cloud storage is storage on a server (or someone else’s computer) which we can access via an app or by logging in to our accounts on a web browser.

A USB drive is a device which you can attach to your keys or add to a lanyard, it allows us to store files without the need to connect to the internet.

So overall both of the above allow us to store files one in the cloud and one locally, therefore they are practically the same. However, depending on how you configured your cloud storage you might need to be connected to the internet to view files.

What can USB drives do that Cloud Storage can’t

Bootable Media

When we buy new laptops or PC’s we create recovery drives – at least some of us do! In order to create these drives we need USB sticks or a hard drive, but that’s in a home or small business environment and it’s important to remember that in a business environment we can boot from a server (This is known as PXE boot). We can also create bootable media for a new installation of Windows or even a Linux system.

Great as a local back up

USB drives great for small local file backups. However, for larger or system backups, I would recommend either a portable hard drive, a server or a cloud back up solution.

Great for transferring “local” data

Sometimes we need to transfer files from one PC to another, the best way of doing so is by using a USB drive since it’s simple and plug and play compatible.

Storing media

Whether it’s in our cars or on our TV’s, USB drives are ideal for storing music and videos. They are small and it definitely stop us from carrying our entire CD collection in our cars – This is a huge bonus!


So why cloud storage?

In the classic secondary school style of writing, “On the other hand” Cloud storage also has its advantages…

Great backup solution

Some cloud storage providers allow us to create file backups automatically from our computers and mobile devices. This is great because it eliminates the possibilities of losing files since you have a backup copy in the cloud. It’s also good in case of disaster as you never know when your hard drive will fail or a virus of some form infects your file.

All your files in one place

When you have more than one device – and most of us do, I mean you have smartphones, tablets, laptops and sometimes even more. Having all your files in one place can be a life saver!

To answer the question…

It totally depends on your needs, I mean as you might have guessed by now, both have different uses. If it’s basic file storage then cloud storage might be enough, but some of us prefer to have a local copy instead.


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