Welcome to our first edition of "Your Storage Blog," a new feature here at BSN* where you ask storage-related questions that interest you, and in return you will have a chance to win a 1TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex portable drive for Mac or PC if your question is selected.

Our first question is from Ben, who asks: "What are the pros and cons of storing files in the Cloud vs. on a local hard drive?"

Wes Perdue, Product Line Manager for Cloud Storage Strategy, Seagate EnterpriseFor the answer, we went to Wes Perdue, Seagate Enterprise Product Line Manager for Cloud Storage Strategy.
 
There are many advantages to storing files in the "Cloud," or using online storage services; however, there are some potential downsides that one needs to be aware of as well.  The importance of any one of the pros and cons listed below will vary between individual consumers or business who are evaluating Cloud storage services.

Pros:
1) Storing files in the Cloud is very affordable, paying only for what you use. Some Cloud storage providers offer the first few gigabytes (GB) of storage for free; thereafter it costs pennies per GB per month (typically $0.05-$0.15/GB), based on a sliding scale depending upon the amount of storage purchased.
2) You can instantly decide to use, increase or discontinue the service at any time.
3) Cloud storage can serve as a disaster recovery plan or backup to local storage should anything happen to your local storage such as theft, fire, flood, or other disaster.
4) Many storage providers have services that allow you to easily share your content or data with families, friends or other businesses.
5) Ease of access – you can access your content from anywhere and not be locked down to a local storage device. This is especially useful in this day of the increasing number of different types of mobile devices that can be used to access the internet.
6) You don’t have to go out and buy or invest in additional storage hardware or upgrades, you pay for only what you use online.
7) Especially for companies, Cloud storage and computing enables organizations to instantly scale up or down providing improved agility and flexibility to launch timely or short-lived promotions or to easily cope with seasonal demand, without having to heavily invest in additional infrastructure that would be underutilized.
8) Some Cloud service providers have much higher levels of security to protect their customers’ content and data than what most individuals or SMB’s would have.

The winner of our first Seagate 1TB FreeAgent GoFlex Hard drive is "Ben"Cons:
1) You obviously need an internet connection to access your content; without internet access you have no way to get at your files.
2) You have less control over where or how your content or data is stored.
3) Unless you have another copy of your data somewhere else, you are totally reliant upon the service provider to serve up your content and provide continuous availability. If a service provider’s site goes down, has an outage or has trouble serving up your content or data, you are stuck until they can get it back up and running to provide it to you.
4) You do not have control over the security of your content and some companies may find certain service providers’ security controls insufficient.
5) Data is subject to the law of where it is stored. For certain companies, this could be an important concern.

Thank you for your question Ben, and congratulations on winning your new Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex drive!

Readers – do you have a storage-related question you’d like to ask us at Seagate? We’ll be giving away at least two drives every month.

Visit the Seagate "StorageMeans Business" blog landing page to submit your question and learn how you can win your own 1TB FreeAgent GoFlex portable drive. You can read the official rules here.