I had a discussion with my friend the other day on whether thumb drives are still relevant. Both of us are still relatively fresh polytechnic graduates, and this conversation stemmed from the loads of projects that we had done.
Personally, I always used a thumb drive to transfer files between my computer to my team members or to the printing station. Sure, I also used email and Dropbox, but the thumb drive was my go-to solution.
On the other hand, my friend used Dropbox (the most preferred third party cloud storage provider around) almost exclusively. He also uses his external hard drive as a thumb drive from time to time, and wonder why people like me would still use thumb drives when they had other - according to him - obviously better alternatives.
And that's the question, what is the best storage solution? Cloud storage? A thumb drive? An external hard drive?
Our conclusion was in fact, neither!
Both of us admit that Dropbox is in many ways more convenient that its physical storage counterparts.
It lacks some of the annoyance when using physical storage solutions like thumb drives and external hard drives.
First world problems like when they refuse to connect to your computer, or when bringing it outside means risking it to the dangers of life - if you dropped your external hard drive that is filled with all of your illegally downloaded music and TV shows, life literally slows down as you watch as hours of painstaking downloads kiss the floor and disappear.
You could also very well lose it, which I believe everyone had experienced at least once since thumb drives are so small and easy to use that we just simply do not take care of it anymore.
So cloud storage like Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive and many others make the thumb drive redundant since it works pretty much like a thumb drive, only you can't physically hold it.
You do need an internet connection though, but other than that, you and all your friends can access the same files at the same time even if it means you are all at different locations. Obviously better right?
But there are some limitations to cloud storage too. For one, it no longer feels like your file. If you'd notice, there is always an emotional security to when we put things into our thumb drives rather than online. Sure you can set a password that is required before accessing that file, but if it was sensitive, a physical assurance is almost always more preferred.
And every now and then, files that is being transferred to the cloud storage gets lost in transition, and if there is a feeling that is worse than frustration over the loss of a file because of your mistake, is losing a file because of someone else's mistake.
Thus, our conclusion of the best storage solution was not in the 3 that we began with, but essentially a hybrid that brings all of them together - that solution is NAS (a Network-Attached Storage).
A NAS is still relatively new to the average consumer. Once reserved from those who knew how to ultilise them, companies such as Western Digital had innovated to make them easier for more people to benefit from its advantages.
A NAS sits within your home network, and can be configured to allow access to all your files while you are out and about, provided you have an active internet connection.
It is essentially your personal cloud storage, one that is there with you physically and digitally, and one where you are always in control.
You could choose the storage space your NAS should have, and this can be added by purchasing another hard drive to connect to it. The cost is also much cheaper than expanding a third party cloud storage provider.
A Dropbox pro plan offers 100GB for S$12.40 a month. A Western Digital My Cloud drive offer 2TB (2000GB) for a single payment of $239 – that’s S$11.95 for 100GB. So not only does your personal cloud storage offers more storage space and security, it is also cheaper overall.
But more than that, your personal cloud storage can also be used as a back up device, much like you would with your external hard drive. This not only makes backing up your computer more convenient, but also makes sense as we enter the Internet of Things.
If you have got more than one computer in your home, then all of them can utilise a simple NAS for its back up service.
Files on the NAS can be accessed by all other computers in your home or on your phone and even the media player. It is your very own physical storage solution that doesn't require you to go through the hassle of the cable.
It may seem as an expensive one time payment, but for the convenience, for the security, a network-attached storage is fast becoming the best storage solution of them all.
GIVEAWAY: Win a Personal Cloud for you and a friend!
Fancy having your own personal cloud? Well for 2 weeks only (from 15 August to 31st August 2014, 2359hrs), you can join my giveaway where you and a friend can win a Western Digital My Cloud Mirror (4TB) worth S$549 and Western Digital My Passport Ultra (2TB) worth S$229.
Here’s how this giveaway works:
- Like the OKJ Discoveries Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OKJDiscoveries
- Like the Western Digital Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WDSingapore
- In the Facebook post below, click on the comment icon to comment on what is most precious to you in your External Hard Drive.
- The comment with the most likes will win the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror.
- Remember to tell your friends to like your comment. One of those likes will be randomly selected to win the Western Digital My Passport Ultra.
A special thanks to Western Digital for supporting this giveaway. :)