Online Storage Disadvantages


Online storage is increasingly becoming popular. It is often said that Web 2.0 is all about social media and the ‘Cloud’. The latter refers to having one’s data stored on an online storage service rather than on one’s own computer. All the big players of the operating system industry including Microsoft, Google, Apple and Ubuntu are offering online storage. There are numerous other online storage providers as well, offering several packages to suit different users. Despite all the conveniences of online storage, there are also a few drawbacks.


  • With inexpensive, high-speed, always-on Internet service becoming the norm at home as well as on the go, free Wi-Fi hotspots being increasingly available in most urban regions, a lot of us are always connected to the Internet. However, this connectivity can’t be 100 percent reliable. There are server downtimes, weather issues causing disruptions in wireless broadband access, speed hiccups and other often unavoidable circumstances when we just can’t get data access, be it temporarily. There are also regions where the only connection options are dial-up or satellite, the later not being affordable for the masses. Thus, there is always a risk of not being able to access online data due to connectivity issues, making online storage unreliable to a certain extent.


  • As the technology is progressing, both offline and online storage offerings are expanding in terms of space, yet with terabyte drives being available for offline storage and a mere few gigabytes offered by most online storage service providers, there is an obvious size advantage of offline storage. Today’s high definition media has lead to an average Joe having several hundreds of gigabytes of music, pictures and videos on his computer. Even most of the paid online storage packages offered today just aren’t enough to cater to these gigantic media collections, despite the fact that even most free online storage packages are sufficient for most of our basic documents storage.


  • For sensitive data, online storage can pose a security threat. When someone else has access to your data, there is always a chance of abuse of this access. In certain jurisdictions, governmental agencies are legally entitled to have access to any data stored online at any time. Furthermore, the process of uploading and downloading the data adds to this risk. Unless a strongly encrypted connection is used, the data can be intercepted while being transferred.

Service Provider Solvency

  • Obviously, for an online storage provider to continue providing the service, it must remain in business. In case of bankruptcy, the storage space goes down with the company. Michael S. Lasky of the Laptop Magazine blog highlights the importance of this reliability constraint in an article titled “Throwing Caution to the Cloud: The Risks of Online Storage”, citing the demise of Xdrive as an example.

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