The debate between cloud backup and on-site hard drive backup has been ongoing. There are pros and cons to consider for each including speed and reliability. Each of the solutions has its own vulnerabilities and risks associated with putting your company data on them. However, if we set all of those aside and only look at the bang for your buck, which one would win? For the hard drive option, when it comes right down to it, the larger storage space you want on your hard drive, the more you will pay.

According to PC World, it breaks down to about 10-50 cents per gigabyte. This cost covers the vast majority of hard drives, but there are always going to be a few that lay outside of this average on each side. Although this is a range, it is a pretty small range in comparison. A hard drive should be guaranteed to last at least three years. The overall cost of a cloud service is determined in a completed different way. There are many options for cloud backup that have different features and benefits. Paying top dollar in the cloud space will often get you the benefit of quality file encryption, and customer service, and multiple restore points meaning if your data is lost you can revert to your data settings a few hours ago, a few days ago or a few months ago. At the lower end of the spectrum, you will get you basic needs covered- your data will be backed up on the cloud. With this wide of a range in perks, the price per gigabyte varies widely too; the price per gigabyte for cloud backup can range from a fraction of a penny to $10 or more; meaning for the same size of storage, you could pay a very different price depending on what perks you want and need. As you can see, this isn’t comparing apples to apples. There is no true price comparison that lays it out precisely per gigabyte and tells us the most cost effective solution. If we take a look at the range in sizes of storage and look at the average, we can start to make some comparisons. Smaller storage, under 20GB, doesn’t store much, but sometimes that’s all you need. If you are just wanted to back up a few pictures and documents, this is all the more storage that is needed. Cloud-based solutions in this category include Dropbox, which is widely used, and for the basic package, free. When looking at storage that is still pretty small, but larger than 20GB, it is still cheap, but up charges may apply. When your Dropbox is full and they ask you if you want to upgrade, it will cost you. These solutions can be anywhere from $1-$4 per gigabyte. Cheaper solutions such as OpenBox Home come in at a lower price tag, however. This small category still falls under the 10-50 cents per gigabyte for hard drive backup solutions. Moving up in storage size to 100-500GB, a standard size meeting many needs, hard drives are more competitive per gigabyte. They are practically dead even at 41 and 42 cents respectively on average. If we look at large storage, 500GB- 1T, it is also a very close race. Per gigabyte, the external hard drive is about 10 cents cheaper on average. This, of course, depends on the features you select for you cloud-based backup. When your storage needs exceed 1T cloud-based solutions are cheaper at a mere 4 cents per gigabyte. When dealing with this much data, an external hard drive lasting only three years is also something to consider. Cloud-based solutions take the cake for the bang for your buck category even though it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. You get comparable storage size or more for the same money when you choose the cloud across the board. Online backup services are also becoming cheaper each year as more and more providers enter the market. As cloud-based solutions continue to gain popularity for good reason. These solutions are reliable and open up many opportunities when it comes to integrations and business intelligence.