I was discussing backup solutions the other day with a smaller client, and the topic came up about why a cloud backup subscription is needed when they have been able to use their USB drive backups so for with no issue.  While I have used USB drives and even DVDs in the past, I quickly found out why they are not the preferred method of backup and why the monthly subscription of a cloud backup is worth the peace of mind.

Four risks of USB Backups:

  • Remembering
  • Environment Issues
  • Physical Failures
  • Security

When I was performing my backups manually, I knew how important the backup was to make; but I often forgot to create the backup, and I ended up going weeks or months with no current backup.  The more time that passes between backups, the more at risk your data is and the less of a habit you are in creating regular backups.  You can set up a schedule to backup to an external USB automatically, but that leads to other issues such as lack of ransomware protection and theft.

computer hard disk on fire
Close up image of computer hard disk on fire, burning in flames.

Environment Issues

The issues an on-site USB drive presents to business continuity or disaster recovery is if there is a power surge that takes out the computer that is having its data backed up, it can also affect the external drive.  Other less common factors would be water or fire damage, both are major reasons you want to have your data backed up, to begin with; to recover from the unexpected.  Keeping the drive off-site will prevent these issues, but that brings me back to the previous rick of forgetting to create the backup

Physical Failures

A USB drive is prone to physical failure as any computer component is.  There are spinning disks in the larger drives, and all drives have logic boards that can fail; a plug can become damaged if connected incorrectly, and they are also suspectable to drops and falls.  All of these are inherent risks with hard drives, and you do not want to trust your backup to these same issues that your primary drives can fail from as well.


Lastly, but most importantly, the biggest risk to USB drive backups is security.  Your backup usually is not encrypted.  Unencrypted, the data can be accessed by unauthorized users in your office, or even in a worst-case scenario, the drive is lost or stolen, and the thief now has unrestricted access to all of your files. 

We have cloud backup solutions that will nullify all of these risks and give you peace of mind that your data is protected and your organization has a disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place if the worst-case scenario happens.