Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Should Your Head Be In The Clouds Or On Your Hard Drive?

Everyday people are bombarded with crushing fear that their data will disappear. Those photos of you on vacation, that giant work file that needs to be constantly at your fingertips. It could all dissolve just because a connector on your hard drive couldn’t connect to the other bit. That’s why you had to beat with that baseball bat, it was no one’s fault, it just had to happen. At least that what you told the police. One day a great man in a black turtleneck sweater said that you no longer needed to fear losing all your data. That there was a way that it could live on forever, and that way was The Cloud.  It was a internet vault that would protect your data while at the same time making it available wherever there was a wi-fi connection, and a high enough download speed, and you held very very still.

So what should you do, where should you go for your data storage, the freedom of the clouds or the safety of the hard drive?  There are, like anything, pros and cons of both and the question is what works best for you?  The best answer is somewhere in between, have certain files available on the internet and some on a hard drive, just in case the cloud company folds like a cheap card table.  But the question is, how much in one, and how much in the other? The world we live promises all your data at your fingertips, but what if you don’t need it all at your fingertips right then?  What if it’s perfectly safe sitting in a hard drive on your desk in your office at home?  

The first question of cloud or hard drive is, when do you need it? Pictures of your summer vacation in ‘07 were great to show people, but now not so much. But you want to know that you will have those photos available so you can embarrass your children in front of their prom date/ life partner/spouse. Other things, like your music is something that you are often updating and changing, and it doesn’t do you much good gathering dust on your hard drive at home.  Also, most music downloads now have to be updated so that they can make sure that you paying for the privilege of listening to “Baby Got Back” in your exercise mix.

So everything that needs to be now, music, videos, that season of Game of Thrones that you promised yourself you were going to watch, on The Cloud. Leave somethings, like your top ten favorite songs, should go on the hard drive, and your favorite kid movies should be on there too. Something are sacred, and if you lose that download of Adventures in Dinosaur City, you won’t be able to live with yourself.

So for the hard drive, this is where I would say files need to be stored that are important to your work life. Most people use their email as a way to keep documents safe, they shuttle them between co-workers, and themselves so that they can keep up with the new versions of what they need. This is a good system, but don’t forget to back them up on hard drive, because the latest version may not be the version that is important to you, or the newer version may have lost some of what you may have liked. But you still have the master copy at your work email, but you also have something to go off of it there were things that you liked. Also all important large files are a good for hard drives.

So in the end, much like life, a little bit of both is what is best. So the hard drive for the stuff you don’t need now, and The Cloud for stuff you need every where.