will_the_coud_force_hard_drives_to_extinctionToday, more users are storing their data on the Internet than ever before. Instead of housing their pictures, movies and other important documents on data drives in their homes, they are shifting that storage online to one or more of the many cloud storage options available. Businesses have slowly begun to follow suit and are moving much of their data and even their applications to the cloud in an effort to shift the costs of technology management away from the company and provide an environment that allows employees to work from virtually anywhere.

Low-Cost Devices
Manufacturers are increasingly creating low-cost devices that encourage users to use the cloud, often shipping with minimal internal storage somewhere in the neighborhood of 64 GB. These devices are designed to fit perfectly into a cloud-centric environment with many manufacturers believing that most users will give up a secondary drive for their data in favor of moving their files online.

Local Storage Still a Need For Many
Cloud storage only works if you have the Internet download and upload speeds to make them worthwhile. For some users around the country, these speeds simply are not available yet, making it almost impossible to utilize cloud storage as an exclusive medium for housing data. It’s simply faster for them to copy files to a local storage data drive than it is to try and endure the long upload and download times provided by their Internet service providers.
Security becomes another major concern for the cloud as well. If hackers are able to penetrate their networks, users and businesses alike can quickly find their data property stolen right out from under them. For some businesses, this means that they avoid the cloud for many of their most sensitive files, preferring instead to utilize local storage options that provide better security.

Cloud is the Future
Despite the risk and limitations for some, cloud storage remains the future for many users and businesses. More and more cloud companies are offering individuals blocks of storage for free with the cost of additional storage being pretty minimal. Businesses are also beginning to realize the benefits as they shift more of their technology to the cloud in an effort to reduce IT costs by shifting the management and infrastructure of data to other companies. Companies can shift many of their applications and data storage to the cloud, limiting the internal infrastructure and manpower needed to maintain these once large internal networks.

The bottom line is that cloud services and storage are becoming cheaper by the day, and with companies offering more and more of these services and Internet speeds continuing to improve, soon it will make sense for a majority of data to be stored online. That doesn’t mean the hard drive will completely die out, as it will still be the medium of choice for users wanting more control over their data or seeking additional security of local storage. However, the hard drive may soon become extinct for many users and even for some businesses depending on their markets and data needs.

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