Cloud storage has, in a short space of time, become commonplace for those wanting flexible access to their files from anywhere in the world. It also offers a relatively cheap way to offer offsite backup of your local files.
However some would argue that local storage is a lot safer than cloud storage, citing a number of risks that cloud services pose, they include:
- No connection then no data, it's true that if you can't connect then your data is not there.
- Your data is sitting on a hard drive, BUT NOT YOURS. There is the risk of theft or a virus.
- What if something happens to the company taking care of your data, like going out of business or a dispute of some kind - it does happen.
All the above are valid concerns, but they often miss the biggest point in a debate about the safety of your data...
Cloud Or Local - They Are All Vulnerable
The problem with a debate that singles out cloud storage as vulnerable is that it often assumes that local storage is less vulnerable, not true. Of all the data losses that have taken place on the Pro Tools Expert team, the worst have been on local storage devices. Just as cloud storage has vulnerabilities so does local storage they include:
- Mechanical failure
- Software failure
- Network and connection failure - who recalls the early days of Lacie FireWire drives?
- Theft, fire, flood and acts of God.
- Virus attacks
- Data theft
We Need Both, Plus One More
Assuming that one kind of data storage method is safer than the other is creating a false sense of security, neither one is completely fail-safe, they both have their vulnerabilities and it is for this reason we need to make sure we have our data stored in a number of different locations - we have a saying at Pro Tools Expert, if your data isn't in three different places then it's not backed up.
A good strategy for data back-up is to have two local versions on two separate physical drives (preferably not the same make and model) and an offsite backup too. This ensures that if the worst should happen, either locally or in the cloud, then the worst hasn't happened. Keeping your data in one place, either locally or in the cloud is not smart, you can't fully trust either for the reasons outlined above.
Safer? No Different
Is local storage safer than cloud storage? No, it's different, both offer benefits as well as risks and the only way to prevent data loss and mitigate that risk is to have a local and offsite back-up strategy.