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Cloud Backup vs. Exernal Hard Drive: Which Is Better?

Updated by Gemma on Nov 29, 2021
Written by Jean

The time we live in right now is called the age of technology, where we have been using technology like never before. Currently, we use our computers beyond writing letters or doing trifles. From shopping to hosting business meetings, we do everything online. With increasing malware attacks and data losses, it became more important for us to find a way to store our data securely.

cloud backup vs external hard drive

Cloud backup and external hard drive are the two most common backup solutions. Both are the most popularly used backup solutions with almost similar functions. One of the main differences that you get to find between both of the backup solutions is their location. Cloud storage backup is an offsite backup solution where data is sent to a different server at a different location. Whereas the external is like a remote service where you have an external cable to store data. Both of them have their own pros and cons and can be chosen as per your specific need.

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Cloud Backup vs. Local Backup - Which One Is Better? Or Both?

Cloud backup vs. local backup is an everlasting debate. We all wonder which is more suitable for us. If you can not decide which backup option to choose, we are here to help...

cloud backup vs local backup

This article is all about cloud backup and external hard drives, their pros and cons, and which is better for you.

Comparison Between Cloud Backup and External Hard Drive Backup

Basics Cloud Backup External Hard Drive
Universal Access Easy to access Slow to access
Backup Speed Low High
Recovery Speed Low High
Real-time Backup Low High
Cost per Quality High Low
Scalability High Low
Durability High Low
Security Low High

1. Universal Access

Cloud backup wins for universal access. If you want to use a cloud backup, then the only thing you need to have is an account created by your name. You don't need any external device for cloud storage. It is quite easy to transfer any kind of file only by using an internet connection. But, for the external hard drive, you need to carry it all the time in order to access it. It also takes a little effort to set up an external hard drive for backup.

universal access

2. Backup Speed

When it comes to backup speed, external harddrive wins here. It is very easy to back up files using the external hard drive; the only thing you need to do is to connect it with the USB cable. When it comes to cloud backup, you need to upload and download the files all the time to save them.

backup speed

But with EaseUS Todo Backup, a professional Windows backup and recovery software does the same in backing up a computer to the cloud and the external storage drive, as long as the internet connection is stable. It's to save the backup image to the cloud, not manually upload the original files with incredibly large size.

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3. Recovery Speed

External hard drive wins again when it comes to recovery speed. You can simply recover all the files without putting in much effort. Downloading files from the cloud takes a little bit more time.

Similarly, EaseUS Todo Backup can restore backups from its cloud storage and external drive at the same fast speed.

recovery speed

4. Real-time Backup

Continuous backup of data is what we require if we think for a long time. It helps to store our data more effectively. Cloud backup wins for real-time backup. Cloud backup automatically allows us to save information without any trouble using sync technology.

Sync technology allows you to upload all the files in the background automatically. It saves you the time and effort in thinking all the time. It means, no problem, even if you forget. You can backup as many files as you want using your wifi. But you need to connect your external hard drive every time you try to back up the files.

5. Cost per Quality

Cloud storage offers you different packages that you can choose from. The price decreases gradually with the capacity that you choose. But, it is recommended to buy a physical drive if you are using it for the first time. Anyway, SSDs are a little expensive when compared to HDDs nowadays.

However, if you buy an external hard drive, you will not have a second option to contact customer service or visit the store every time it gives you trouble. But cloud offers easy and accessible customer service that can help with any kind of problem you face. Expensive companies may be a little difficult to afford, but the quality will be best.

cost per quality

6. Scalability

Cloud backup wins this time. One of the great features of cloud backup is that it allows you to extend your storage space without losing any of the old data. But if you need to extend your data storage space through an external hard drive, you will have no other option than to go to the store and buy it once again. Then you need to try to upgrade a small hard drive to a larger hard drive. If you don't want to lose data, you need EaseUS Todo Backup or some equivalent disk cloning programs to clone one to the other.


7. Durability

Cloud storage wins again when it comes to durability. However, it always depends on the service provider's reliability when it is about durability. But the physical devices must be taken extra care of and always have the risk of breakage, malware attacks, and viruses.


8. Security

External hard drive wins when it comes to security. Local storage has many options such as Bitlocker, or software encryption technology that provide sophisticated ways of security like EaseUS backup encryption mechanism. But when it comes to the cloud, it has only one option, password lock. So, passwords can be easily detected, whereas the advanced security provided by external hard drives is difficult to be hacked.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Backup and External Hard Drive

  Cloud Backup External Hard Drive
  • Cloud backup is very easy to access at any time and anywhere.
  • Cloud provides high durability as it is not a physical device.
  • Storage has high scalability options if the storage space is filled.
  • Cloud is a little bit higher in quality, along with a good customer service experience.
  • The external hard drive has a high backup speed.
  • External hard drives provide fast real-time backup.
  • When it comes to security, the External hard drive provides more security compared to the cloud.
  • The external hard drive has recovery speed.
  • Cloud backup is very easy to access at any time and anywhere.
  • Cloud provides high durability as it is not a physical device.
  • Storage has high scalability options if the storage space is filled.
  • Cloud is a little bit higher in quality, along with a good customer service experience.
  • External hard drives are quite difficult to access globally.
  • The external hard drive provides low durability as it is a physical device.
  • External hard drives have low scalability due to limited storage space.
  • External hard drives are a little bit low in quality compared to cloud storage.

What Are The Data Backup Best Practices?

You can follow some habits like backing up your data regularly in time and other such practices. But sometimes, it can be difficult for us to do everything perfectly. But, no worries. I have an alternative option for you. You can start using EaseUS Windows backup software, one of your data backup practices. It keeps at least two copies of backups for 100% protection.

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Support Windows 11/10/8/7

EaseUS Todo Backup allows home and business users a backup computer, hard drive, operating system, all types of files, user data, and emails to a wide selection of locations, including a cloud drive and a physical drive. So, it's the best practice to enjoy all the benefits from both the Cloud and external storage drive.

Step 1. Click the "Select backup contents" button to start backup.

create file backup step1

Step 2. There are four data backup categories, File, Disk, OS, and Mail, click File.

create file backup step2

Step 3. Both local and network files will be listed on the left. You can expand the directory to select the files to be backed up.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the on-screen guide, select the destination where you want to save the backup.

File backup step4

Click "Options" to encrypt the backup with password in "Backup Options", set the backup schedule and choose to start back up at certain event in "Backup Scheme". There are also many other options you can explore, customize the backup task according to your need.

Backup options

Step 5. You can store the backup to local drive, EaseUS's cloud service, and NAS.

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables users to back up data to both third-party cloud drive and its own cloud drive.

If you want to back up data to third-party cloud drive, choose Local Drive, scroll down to add Cloud Device, add and login your account.

Backup to cloud
You can also choose EaseUS's own cloud drive. Click EaseUS Cloud, sign up with your EaseUS Account and log in.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click "Backup Now" to start backup. After the backup task is completed, it will be displayed in the form of a card on the left side of the panel. Right-click the backup task to further manage it.

File backup step7

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

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  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

    Read More
  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

    Read More


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