Physical (USB) or Cloud (Virtual) Storage?

USB flash drive is a data storage device that includes flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. USB flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than an optical disc. Other types of physical drives includes tape drives, optical media drives and external hard disks.

Cloud Storage is a model of networked enterprise storage where data is stored in virtualized pools of storage which are generally hosted by third parties. Cloud storage services may be accessed through a web service application programming interface (API) or by applications that utilize the API, such as cloud desktop storage, a cloud storage gateway or Web-based content management systems.

Examples of cloud storage providers are Dropbox, Google (Google Drive), Microsoft (SkyDrive), Amazon just to mention a few.

USB Flash Drive

Pros Cons
  • Physical custody and security of users’ files
  • Could be easily stolen, damage or misplaced
  • Access to the internet not required
  • Life span is limited
  • Transfer sped could be extremely fast
  • No provision for automatic backup except user purchase a third-party software
  • Comes in different shapes, colours and sizes
  • Not expandable. User would have to replace the old one with a larger drive
  • Option to run portable versions of software such as Windows OS, Adobe, VLC etc directly from the USB
  • Possibility of getting infected by a virus is very high

Cloud Storage

Pros Cons
  • Expandable. Just request for additional storage capacity or claim some points
  • Data recovery is often extremely complex and expensive
  • Multi platform access to your document on any internet enabled device
  • Installation of provider’s app is required
  • Many providers offer free account with a sizeable Gigabytes
  • Transfer speed is limited by the user’s internet speed
  • The threat of virus is low
  • Personal information and files are susceptible to creative hackers.

Our Conclusion

The decision to choose between a physical or virtual storage is dependant on the user (individual or company), cost and availability of a dedicated internet speed but a combination of the two ain’t a bad idea.

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