The risks of using external storage

Home / News / The risks of using external storage

In today’s digital age, we rely heavily on external storage devices like hard disks and USB flash drives to store and transport our important data. While these devices are cheap, offer convenience and portability, they also come with their fair share of risks. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the potential pitfalls of these storage devices, and a better alternative for storing and exchanging data.

The key takeaway from this post is that all storage media has a finite lifespan. Hard disks and flash drives can and will eventually fail. Relying solely on any single storage medium without a backup is a terrible idea for safeguarding your valuable data.


More vulnerable to physical damage

Accidental drops, exposure to moisture, and even rough handling can lead to irreparable data loss. Unlike internal drives, which are safely housed within a computer and don’t move around, external devices are exposed to the elements and are moved around frequently.

limited lifespan

All electronic devices have a finite lifespan, and storage devices are no exception. On average, these devices last between 3 to 5 years, but this can vary greatly based on usage and quality. Furthermore, frequently powering on and off external hard disks introduces additional wear. We’ve seen brand new drives fail shortly after use, while others have lasted years. This means that you may face the risk of sudden and unexpected data loss due to hardware failure.

Higher risk of data corruption

Improper handling, such as abrupt removal without proper ejection, can lead to file system corruption. This risk is higher with external devices that are frequently plugged and unplugged.

Security Concerns

External storage devices are more susceptible to loss or theft. If not properly encrypted or secured, sensitive data can be exposed. This risk is especially pertinent when these devices are used for portable storage of sensitive information (like personal data) and are carried outside of a secure environment.

So what’s the alternative?

Modern cloud services like Microsoft OneDrive, offer unrivalled convenience, security and accessibility. Unlike external storage media, which can be lost, damaged, or become outdated, cloud storage ensures your files are securely stored online. This means you can access, share, and collaborate on documents from any device with internet access, making it a more reliable and versatile option for today’s modern work environments.

Does the above sound overwhelming? Need professional IT advice? We help several organisations, both big and small, by managing and securing their IT infrastructure. We offer various services to help organisations like yours reliability store and share their data, including backup and archiving solutions.
Get in touch