Pros and Cons of Onsite vs. Offsite Backup for Home Based PCs

You may not be running a Fortune 500 company from your PC, but you do have your own personal fortune on the hard drive of your trusty computer.

Online Backup for Home PCsThe problem is, computers are about as trusty as your favorite pair of sneakers, until, uh, until they’re not. A nasty virus or a flood can wipe your hard drive clean. And with it all of your pictures, videos, projects and personal documents.

The above scenario is not pretty. But no need to panic. As the cliché’ goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Or maybe we should rename it: “A gigabyte backed up is worth a terabyte that’s not.”

Great. You’re now convinced that you should back up your data…pronto. If you are a casual to avid PC user, your head may be spinning with the multitude of backup selections available. The following information will shed some light on different options for your personal backup needs:

There are two standard backup methods: onsite and offsite.

Onsite backup is comprised of backup options that you execute yourself, all taking place in the comfort of your own home. Some options are:

a) Memory stick: Great for specific, important files, as they fill up pretty quickly. Not a good choice for a complete backup of your hard-drive. That would kind of be like trying to fit your foot into your toddler daughter’s size seven Mary Jane. A no-go. Simply doesn’t fit.

b) CDs/DVDs: A simple backup solution and relatively cheap, yet time consuming. Bear in mind that multiple CD’s or DVD’s will probably be necessary. You also must ensure that you have a CD or DVD burner and the software that allows you to do so.

c) External hard drive: The most effective, yet more costly option for onsite backup is an external hard-drive. They generally range from 160 GB to 1 TB of storage, far more than a memory stick or DVD can handle.

The plus side of onsite backup: You only pay to purchase the equipment, and that’s it. There are no monthly fees or charges.

The downside:

    • The relatively small amount of data that a memory stick, CD or DVD can hold is almost humorous.

    • CD’s and DVD’s are destined to go the way of the floppy disk. As in obsolete. As in being relegated to history books.

    • While an external hard drive may have a reasonable capacity, the upfront cost is expensive compared to a low, monthly, cloud-based backup plan.

  • Should your home experience a robbery or any sort of natural disaster such as a flood or fire, your onsite backup will be worthless. Stolen, burned or water-logged external hard drives never helped anybody.

You may prefer to join the millions who have moved over to offsite, cloud-based backups.

Cloud-based backup options offer:

    1. Automatic backup schedules – This is a tremendous advantage. The offsite cloud-based storage works like clock-work, keeping your backup up-to-date daily, hourly or by the minute, dependent on how you set your preferences. Cloud-based storage is never lax and never forgets to backup. Just some of the advantages clouds have for not being human.

    1. Safely offsite – While a robbery or a natural disaster occurring is certainly no picnic; you can rest easy knowing that your irreplaceable data is stored safely out of your home.

  1. Relatively low monthly costs – Many companies offer the first few GB’s of storage for free, with a low-cost charged for increased storage space.

The plus side of offsite backup: Reliable like clockwork, safely offsite, no costly upfront charges.

The downside:

    • While there are no upfront, expensive charges, the small, monthly payments don’t appear so small when you begin adding up the yearly total.

  • You must have an internet connection to access your backup. No amount of pounding your keys or clicking your mouse will retrieve your backup if your connection is down. Even if you say please.

Confused about whether to choose onsite or offsite backup? They are not mutually exclusive and you can choose both! But whatever you decide just make sure you backup. Think of it as an insurance policy.