Top Security Flaws of Popular Storage Options

By | September 27, 2011

Your data is important. Whether you’re talking about business data that is essential to keeping your company up and running, or whether you’re talking about a home user who stores precious video and photographic memories electronically, you want your data to be safe.

Today, there are more storage options than ever. It’s not like it was just a decade ago where you were limited to choosing between storing your data on your local hard drive and perhaps copying it to a disk. Now, you can store it on a hard drive, put it on flash media, store it on a network, or even upload it to an online storage server.

To make the most informed decision, however, you need to be aware of the security flaws in each model. Here’s a quick look at popular storage options and some of their flaws:

  • Hard drive storage. You can still store your data on a hard drive if you want. The biggest security flaw here is that your data is susceptible to corruption. There’s no backup and there’s no redundant hardware. Your hard drive can fail physically, or it can be affected by a virus. Hard drives are perhaps the least secure storage model. The rule of thumb is this: if your computer needs it to perform a task (like run a program or boot up) then it belongs on the hard drive. If a file is user-generated, it should probably be stored somewhere else.
  • Network data storage. Another option is to store data on a network server or network-attached storage device. These devices or servers have redundancy and (usually) backup features, but they carry the danger of physical damage of the medium. In addition, if you don’t have network access you don’t have your data. Network storage does allow for much better security than a local hard drive.
  • Removable media storage. This category includes all sorts of removable media, such as DVDs, flash drives, SD cards, and more. These media are good for temporary storage or transport, but they’re easily lost or stolen, too. In addition, as with a hard drive, you can only access the data from one location at one time (even if it is portable).
  • Online storage. Storage via an online service isn’t perfect, but it is more secure than most of the other options. You eliminate the risk of data loss, as such servers typically have multiple redundancies. Generally speaking, such services also protect your data from prying eyes with world-class security measures, as well. Here again, you don’t have access to your data if you’re not online, however. That being said, online storage lets you access your data from the widest possible array of locations, bar none.

Which storage option is right for you? Really, it depends on your needs. Every storage option has its pros and cons. What you need to do is take a look at the options and pick the one that most closely fits your needs, with as little risk as possible, that’s within your budget.

About the author: Eric Greenwood is a seasoned writer in technology, taking particular interest in online storage. You can find more of his articles located at OnlineStorage.org.