Cloud Storage vs Online Backup vs Local Storage: Which one is best?

My name is Mauricio and today will be going over the differences between cloud storage, online backup, and local storage. Now, the word “cloud” is thrown around a lot when it comes to tech, so it’s easy to confuse cloud storage with other types of cloud-based technology. That’s why in this video we’ll get into what sets these technologies apart.

This is the second video in our Cloud Storage 101 series, so if you’re not familiar with cloud tech at all and want to know more, check out our little primer on what cloud storage is. Of course, we’re experts on all things cloud, so be sure to subscribe and hit the bell icon to get notified whenever we post a new video. So with that out of the way, let’s jump right in.


It always bothers me when I hear people calling a backup service like Backblaze or Acronis “cloud storage.” And it may seem like nitpicking to some of you, but we care about our viewers and readers here at Cloudwards, so we want to make sure you don’t make a mistake and purchase the wrong kind of software for what you need. Trust me, cloud storage and online backup are not the same things. So let’s take a broader look at cloud storage and online backup first. Both types of software let you store things online in what’s called the cloud, but they differ in what you can do with them. In general, cloud storage gives you easier access to your online files.


On the other hand, online backup is generally used to backup entire devices, and while it won’t give you the type of quick and easy access that cloud storage does, it’ll be more useful in case your hard drive crashes. So now that you’re clued into what cloud storage and online backup do, let’s look at each type of software in more detail. Cloud storage is what you should use if you just want a place to store some of your files online. Of course, once your files are in the cloud, you can share them and access them from wherever you like. Plus, you can even sync your files across multiple devices so you’ll have an updated copy of them on all of your hardware. For example, I use pCloud to keep all my photos, and whenever I take a photo on my phone it automatically gets added to my laptop via the sync function. If that sounds like something you need, and you probably do, check out our best cloud storage video.

If you just need a straight-up recommendation, you can’t go wrong with either or iCloud, and we have a video comparing the two as well. Now, online backup, or cloud backup as it’s also called, is similar in that it stores your files in the cloud, but its purpose is much different. Using online backup software, you can backup your entire computer to the cloud, in case of something like a hardware malfunction or even a ransomware attack. Normally, you can’t simply access a single file from your cloud backup. To retrieve your files, you’ll have to restore your entire backup instead. If you feel like online backup fits the bill for you, you can check out our cloud backup reviews on our channel. No surprise, IDrive is our top choice, and you can watch our IDrive review video here, but if you prefer an unlimited backup solution, you can also check out our Backblaze review here. Of course, that’s not even scratching the surface when it comes to cloud tech. Let’s look at cloud computing next. Cloud computing is quite different from cloud storage and backup since it doesn’t merely involve storing files online.


Cloud computing services let you use a remote computer as if it were your own. You can install software on that remote computer and run programs that your own hardware would struggle with, and you get the result sent back to you via the internet. For example, you can use a cloud computing service to render a complex 3D model quickly, and just download the render to your computer. Typically, these services come packaged as SaaS, or software as a service, like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. But what about your local storage? Well, let’s see how it compares to cloud software. Let’s start with the obvious. Your local storage is tied to your device. It only exists on one device, you can only access it from there, and if your laptop or mobile phone or whatever breaks, all your data is gone. Even if you have an external hard drive and you don’t mind carrying it around with you, every hard drive will eventually fail, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to recover any data from it. With cloud storage, as we said earlier in the video, you can access your files from wherever, because they’re not tied to a single device.

You just need an internet connection and you’re good to go. No external drives to lug around, either. And if you have an online backup service installed, you won’t even need to worry about your laptop dying on you. Even if you get a new laptop, you can just restore your old files to that one. Some backup services, like IDrive for example, even let you backup and restore all of your programs and OS settings, so you can continue on as if you’re still using your old computer. So that’s it for this video, we hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe. If you’re interested in cloud storage, check out our channel, where we have a ton of useful videos for you. We also do written reviews on our website,, and we cover all of the topics we talked about in this video in depth -- there are links to our articles in the description. As always, thank you for watching, let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for the next one.

Published on: 8/31/21, 5:27 AM