Should You Avoid New Cloud Storage Services? Here‘s What You Need to Know

Have you considered signing up for a new cloud storage service like Google One or Dropbox to backup your precious photos, videos and other personal data online? With promises of anywhere access, seamless syncing across devices and peace of mind from data disasters, cloud storage can sound very appealing.

However, experts warn that consumers should carefully weigh the risks before transferring troves of private information into any new cloud provider‘s hands. From security gaps and hidden data policies to unexpected reliability issues and ongoing costs that can pile up, new cloud services may not live up to expectations.

Fortunately, easy-to-use external hard drives and flash storage provide alternative solutions without many limitations of solely cloud-based backup.

4 Key Reasons Experts Suggest Avoiding New Cloud Storage Providers

Before you move your personal data into any new cloud provider, consider why relying entirely on cloud carries some downsides even with major brands.

1. Your private data faces security risks in the cloud

While leaders like Apple, Google and Microsoft pledge strong safeguards in marketing claims, researchers reveal consumer cloud storage as one of the most vulnerable data targets. Over 850 million user records were publicly exposed just in cloud breaches tracked during the first half of 2022 according to cyber risk monitoring firm RiskBased Security.

Table: 2022 Cloud Customer Data Exposed (RiskBased Security)

Records Exposed% Increase Over 2021

And those are only the publicly reported incidents so far this year at major providers like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon AWS.

According to analysis by, the volume of cloud cyber attacks has grown by over 500% in the past 3 years. Often lax personal account security combines with encryption gaps on many consumer cloud storage platforms to leave your private data an enticing target for hackers.

While companies make efforts to shore up defenses, individuals have limited visibility into true safety levels. And recovering hacked personal data or identities can prove difficult or impossible. So relying solely on new or unproven cloud systems poses very real risks even big providers struggle to contain.

2. Extensive private data collection remains hidden in dense cloud terms

Have you ever fully read new terms of service agreements when creating accounts? Studies show over 90% of users do not according to Harvard Business Review research.

Yet cloud providers conceal expansive data gathering allowances and usage rights within those hard-to-digest terms that few consumers ever fully grasp. Services collect far more about you than just storing your uploaded data.

As reported by Yale Privacy Lab, both Apple and Google cloud storage services reserve rights to mine user data including cloud-stored content. They capture everything from usage habits to device details in order to infer further sensitive facts about health, relationships, private behaviors and more. While not reading the terms doesn‘t make it legal, it does mean your personal data can end up used in ways you never anticipated.

And trying to opt out of various tracking and profiling policies piecemeal can prove nearly impossible with intertwined cloud services and accounts. So relying on new cloud systems means possibly extensive personal data collection happening behind the scenes without your full understanding or control.

3. Cloud reliability still depends on inconsistent internet access

Cloud providers emphasize global networks of data centers that promise maximum uptime for cloud account access from anywhere. However, internet outages both locally and in the cloud remain more common than they suggest.

Table: 2022 Cloud Service Outages

ProviderOutagesAvg. Length
AWS1449 min
Azure32115 min
Google Cloud1361 min

According to monitoring by ThousandEyes, major cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure suffered over 170 outages just in the past year (as of November 2022). The impacts ranged from brief blips to multi-hour disruptions for cloud customers.

While usually short, without reliable internet connectivity, cloud convenience falters. Local WiFi dead spots or ISP failures can instantly cut off access. For businesses, even brief 1-2 hour cloud interruptions can impact critical operations and lead to losses averaging $140,000 per outage based on 2021 data calculated by Omdia.

And consumers trying to retrieve family vacation photos during a cloud service incident may feel equally frustrated when cloud reliability fails at an inopportune moment. So putting all data exclusively into the cloud means unavoidably tying that access to inconsistent internet delivery.

4. Accumulating cloud storage fees undermine budgets over time

What seems like a negligible $60-$100 per year for mid-tier cloud backup can turn into a long-term budget bind. Cost creep as accumulates while storage needs also typically expand over years of adding photos, videos, documents and application data.

Let‘s consider average scenario comparing leading consumer cloud storage plan costs:

Table: Annual Cloud Storage Service Fees

ServiceStorageAnnual Price
Apple iCloud+2TB$119/year
Google One2TB$99/year
Microsoft OneDrive2TB$69/year

Meanwhile, purchasing an external portable hard drive provides a single upfront cost for equal or greater capacities without recurring fees down the road.

For instance, a desktop external hard drive can deliver triple the storage space for a similar one-time price as a single year of OneDrive cloud subscription.

Table: External Drive vs Cloud Pricing Comparison

StorageOne-Time CostCapacityAnnual Cloud Equivalent
WD Elements Desktop HDD$1005TB$210+

So while handy for transporting files everywhere, cloud costs accumulate dramatically over years for premium capacities compared to local external drive backups.

2 Alternatives to Put Your Data in Safer Hands

Without having to entrust all your personal data to a new cloud provider of uncertain security, privacy protections or reliability, external drives give you other options. Let‘s look at two top solutions for ample at-home backup capacity with better control over your privacy.

WD Elements Desktop Hard Disk Drive

For max long term backup capability rivaling business servers, the high-performance WD Elements external hard disk drive packs up to 18TB locally.

WD Elements desktop external hard drive

The simple plug-and-play USB HDD setup gets you storing files in minutes without software or cloud accounts required. Backward compatible USB ports allow use with nearly any modern Windows PC automatically. According to custom performance testing, WD rates the Elements drive at over 200MB/s data transfer speeds.

Matched only by business-targeted rivals, the colossal storage provides ample space for entire libraries of home videos, photos, music, documents and applications with room to grow for just a one-time cost. Securing your data in your hands instead of the cloud.

Check Price on Amazon

SanDisk Extreme PRO USB Flash Drive

For those needing ample yet portable personal storage, the SanDisk Extreme PRO USB 3.2 flash drive provides up to 1TB that fits in your pocket. Durably constructed with a rugged metal casing, the compact form stores as much data as an average laptop SSD inside.

SanDisk Extreme PRO USB 3.2 flash drive

The versatile USB drive reaches peak transfer velocities up to 420MB/s for quickly saving or retrieving documents, media and other personal files on the go. No WiFi or software needed, just plug and play operation with nearly any PC thanks to the stick supporting the latest USB 3.2 along with earlier USB generations.

Starting around just $30 for 128GB, the SanDisk Extreme PRO flash drive provides private portable capacity rivaling premium smartphones in your choice of sizes up to 1TB. All without recurring cloud subscription costs down the road after purchase.

Check Price on Amazon

Key Takeaways: Think Twice Before Rushing Into New Cloud Storage

  • Leading cloud providers still expose your data to growing security & privacy risks
  • Hidden terms enable more tracking and rights to leverage your data than most users expect
  • Despite marketing hype, disruptive cloud outages occur regularly tied to unreliable internet
  • Unlimited cloud capacity incurs big costs over years compared to one-time drives

For these reasons and more, experts suggest treading carefully regarding new cloud signups. Established names have still fallen short protecting user data according to research.

Alternatively modern external HDDs and flash drives now offer ample private space for safe personal backup. Without recurring fees down the road.

So weigh options closely. Combining selective cloud access with personal external drives may provide the right balance of security and convenience for home data needs. But blindly trusting any new cloud provider as your sole repository could lead to regrettable long term headaches.

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