5 ways a portable SSD can boost your productivity instead of cloud storage

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We spend a lot of time working on and editing documents, projects, and designs, so backing up the digital fruits of all your hard labor is crucial. With the lingering threat of security and hardware issues like malware attacks or disk failures, you want to think carefully about what solution works for you.

Backing up your data to an external portable SSD is cost-effective, and time-saving, but cloud storage has definitely changed the storage game with some pretty impressive perks - though this has come at the cost of never truly owning or controlling your storage. Is it time to get back to basics and rely on our old faithful, physical storage? Here are five reasons why we think so.

1. Once bought, it's yours forever 

In a world of subscriptions that feel never-ending, the key benefit to owning a physical SSD over using cloud storage is that once you’ve bought it, that's it. You don’t have to fork out a bit of money every month, you don’t have to worry about falling behind on a payment and losing access to the service.

You get all the storage you need when you purchase, and it’ll likely last you a very long time. For most people, the goal is to simply get the cheapest solution possible, and it may seem like cloud storage subscriptions are cheaper in the short term. However, subscription prices are subject to change whenever the company decides and there’s nothing worse than learning your monthly fee is about to be jacked up. 

2. Photography Freedom 

Photographers greatly benefit from SSD storage, as you can’t properly rely on cloud storage when you’re immersed in the great outdoors. This can also be said for many other people who work outside of an office or their home - internet access is a luxury we’re not always lucky enough to have.

When I was growing up in Zambia, at a time when power cuts were abundant and frantic, I simply cannot imagine what I would have done if I had to rely on cloud storage. There was a period in school when I briefly tried to use cloud storage - before finding out the hard way that I needed an external drive because I kept losing work between power cuts. 

3. Work on the go, wherever you are

Nowadays, plenty of people are hybrid workers or learners - and often you’ll be taking your files from home to work and back, sometimes multiple times a day. I know when I was navigating online learning in university at the height of the pandemic, the first struggle I had to deal with was keeping all my work to a good standard when I was constantly hopping between different devices.

I could slap my stuff onto my drive right before I left the house, run around town, get to class, sit at any workstation available on campus, and carry on without the hassle of logging into a system. Just plug and go. 

4. Superior security for your files

Cloud networks might offer good security features, but at the end of the day, they’re still vulnerable to cyberattacks or bugs since they have to be hosted online. That’s not to say that it's a guarantee this will happen to you, but it's a risk you are taking putting your files or photos online without local physical backups. 

Inversely, if you’re using a physical SSD, someone would have to actually snatch the drive from you IRL and make a break for it in order to get ahold of your files - and even if they do that, modern portable SSDs like the Crucial X10 Pro offer sophisticated hardware encryption features to protect your precious documents.

5. Lightning fast performance 

SSD tech offers significantly faster data speeds than cloud storage options, mostly because it’s not dependent on the internet speeds of where you happen to be. Again, I often had terrible internet connections when I was growing up and had to rely on hot-spotting my laptop or computer off my phone. 

With a portable SSD, you’ll be storing your data on instantly accessible memory which you can reach in and out of any time, wherever you are, and you’re probably going to have access to larger memory capacity than the cheapest cloud storage option, so it's a win-win situation!

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.

Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.

Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).