Given recent news articles about celebrities having their photos and data hacked from cloud based data storage services, many consumers choose the cheaper and arguably more secure method of backing up their files via a portable hard drive. Modern portable hard drives are slim devices, which require no external power source, other than a standard USB connection. Typically being around the size of a wallet, these 2.5 inch drives have the capability to back up to around 2TB of data – or 2000GB. Being small in nature, they are incredibly portable yet provide a method of accessing your files whilst away from home, without the need of an internet connection.
The main disadvantage of purchasing a portable hard drive is that it costs a little extra initially, with prices typically being between £40 and £60. However with many cloud based services charging a monthly fee, this upfront cost will soon work out as better value for money.
The advantages of a portable hard drive over a cloud based system is that you do not need an internet connection in order to access your files, and that you are less likely to lose data to hackers, as someone would need physical access to the device in order to access the files.
The major manufacturers for portable hard drives include Samsung, Western Digital and Toshiba. All of these brands are similarly priced, and offer pretty much identical specifications, and so often it is worth purchasing whichever model you can find at a reduced price. Given that even the smaller capacity drives, which usually provide 500GB of space, are priced at around £35, it is often worth choosing a 1TB drive for an extra £15, as they offer better value for money in terms of storage space to total cost. Modern hard drives tend to be USB 3.0, which results in faster data transfer than the older USB 2.0 interface, so it is worth ensuring that any reduced hard drives include the modern technology, if required. It is also worth investing in a case to carry the portable hard drive, as they are quite delicate and prone to breakage if dropped.
Essentially you should aim to purchase a hard drive which receives good reviews and is manufactured by a company with a decent track record in this industry. Unlike many other electrical components and appliances, the most valuable part of a hard drive is not the actual hardware but instead it’s contents, which if lost often can’t be replaced. Receiving a new replacement hard drive may be scant consolation for losing important files and sentimental photos and videos. Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital are examples of three manufacturers which are proven to produce well made and reliable drives, which should provide you with years of good service. Some manufacturers also include free cloud backup as part of the hard drive package, as well as data recovery in the event of an accident, both of which should give you further peace of mind.