Stop using SSDs now (do this instead…)

So many people are still buying cheap and cheerful SSDs and thinking it's a great way to backup your data without realising the risks.
Stop using SSDs now (do this instead…)

External SSD Storage is kind of a big thing at the moment. Prices have been falling considerably over recent years, Apple are charging extremely premium rates to upgrade from the base 256GB of storage on anything you buy from them, and with subscription services coming to absolutely everything, buying an SSD or even a bunch of SSD drives can seem like an attractive offer.

However, I'm here to tell you that doing this might not be the best idea. But if I can't convince you that buying an SSD is a bad idea, I'll also give you my recommendations on which SSDs are the best to buy if you really have to.

The Problem with SSDs


The first problem, and a mistake I see many people make with jumping in and buying one or multiple SSDs, is using them to back up their data – files, folders, family pictures, video footage, Time Machine backups, Windows Backup, even customer data.

The problem is, after you've taken your backup, those SSDs will either:

A) Get unplugged and stored somewhere, in which case they could potentially become lost, stolen, damaged, and in some extreme cases, totally fail when not used for many years.


B) Get left connected, in which case they're open to accidental deletion or something malicious happening to them when accessing a dodgy website or opening a dodgy email attachment.

In both cases, the ending result is that all of your data, which you trusted to your SSD, goes bye-bye.

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule

But there is a solution, widely known in the tech industry as the 3-2-1 rule: Always have 3 copies of your data, stored on two different types of media, with one copy kept off-site.

In my case, I have data stored on my laptop, which is then backed up to my NAS, which in turn is backed up to the cloud.

As someone who previously owned an IT Support business, I've seen exactly those things happen with data loss from accidental damage, theft, or even just 'it stopped working' too often. As someone who doesn't want to spend all of their time doing Tech Support for friends and family, it's often a much safer and overall better outcome for all involved to use cloud storage.

Keeper Security Business (B2B) Banners

Don't NEED the Storage

With cloud storage, you can often buy the cheapest laptop configuration and extend way beyond the built-in storage, way beyond what you could fit on an SSD. If you run out of space, you can just add more without having to move all of your data to a new location and without it consuming any space locally on your machine – because it's all stored in the cloud and only downloaded when you need it.

Yes, while it might be a more expensive option when you look at how much storage space you need and how many years you'll be paying the monthly fee, if you need to know that your data will still be there and accessible when you need it, it is a FAR better option than playing with the roulette wheel that is storing your data on an SSD.

Cloud Storage Benefits

Cloud storage is protected against your house burning down or simple hardware failure, with your data typically stored in multiple locations for resiliency in case one location suffers a power outage or even a natural disaster. It also has protection in place against things like accidental deletion and virus protection.

The question, though, is which cloud storage service should you use? Some are slow, some are expensive, some don't even back up your data, and with many of them, they have direct access to view YOUR data.

Option 1: Google, Microsoft, Apple & Dropbox

The first option that most people will look at is the big guys: Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Dropbox. But, other than Dropbox, none of them offer any form of backup of your data.

Yes, they have resilience by storing your data in multiple locations. But if you delete something, and then 6 months later realise you want to get it back, you're fresh out of luck.

You can purchase additional services to back up Google and Microsoft data, but Apple is a standout option where it is next to impossible to regularly and reliably back up your own data.

Thirdly, all of these providers can actually access your data. With features such as scanning your photos to do facial recognition, but to the point that if forced by law, they will give other people access to your data if they have a good reason to warrant giving them access.

At what point does your data stop being YOUR data?

With that said, there's the whole privacy vs. convenience conversation right there – people willingly giving up their privacy for the convenience of features. For most people, these are the safest places to store your data, as long as you're willing to pay.

Personally, I use mostly Google Drive. My personal stuff is stored there, and I have a Google Workspace account for my YouTube business.

Option 2: & iDrive

The second option is providers who do care about your privacy, like and iDrive.

Now, I get offers from private cloud storage companies every week asking me to review their cloud storage. And I say no to basically all of them because, regardless of how good their service might be, there are so many of them around that it's impossible to know which ones will still be around in a year's time.

We've featured many times before, and they have been in business since 2011, offering truly secure but also unlimited cloud storage as long as you sign up for a 3-user account. In fact, they are one of the only truly unlimited cloud storage providers around after Dropbox and Google dropped their unlimited storage offerings recently.

If you're storing a lot of data, these can work out significantly cheaper than constantly buying stacks of SSDs.

You can also use Sync for both day-to-day files and for backing up your data, with many of the same features as the big four. But this time, it's totally secure, covering many compliance standards with everything being encrypted so not even Sync themselves can access your data.

You also get up to 365-day recovery to protect against any accidental deletions and just a ton of additional features which puts Sync up there on my list as one of the most trusted, privacy-focused cloud storage providers around.

Similarly, iDrive is another one I've mentioned before. Also offering a vast array of features, they're also privacy-focused with you protecting your data with your own encryption key if you wish. And they've been a hugely popular one from my previous videos because they're offering 5TB of online storage for under $10 for the first year, which is crazy.

IDrive Cloud Backup

Keeper Integration

One of the problems with all of these things, though, is once again security. Now you have encryption keys to remember, passwords to log into the cloud services, you need your phone to generate those extra codes you need to log in, and even if you use an SSD or a Mac or Windows, if you turn on encryption, you need to remember the encryption password.

This is where Keeper comes in with their incredibly useful and hyper-secure Password Manager. Being able to store, organizse, and manage all of these long and complicated passwords that you are never meant to be able to remember because they're complicated for a reason.

With Keeper, you can access, store, and share your passwords, passkeys, and even MFA codes across iOS, Android, Mac, and PC - making it super easy to use unique passwords on each different service you subscribe to. One for Netflix, Google, your bank - and then if you get caught up in some breach like when 23andMe lost 7 million people's data, all you have to do is change one password and not worry about the other 587 accounts you'd otherwise have to log into one by one and change.

Now you can use these cloud storage services without worrying about long and complicated passwords.

Keeper Security Business (B2B) Banners

Option 3: Backup - Backblaze

Option 3 is for those who just want a solid backup for their files. They don't want to store everything in the cloud; they just want to make sure that a second or perhaps third copy is stored safely, away from their location, just in case, say, their house burns down, and they lose everything, including any SSDs they might have used - then at least they still have their data.

For the last 3-4 years or so, I've been using Backblaze to back up my data. It's super affordable, it works well, I have actually restored files using it, and recently I saw some of my favourite content creators Becki & Chris also calling out how great Backblaze was because they recently lost some files.

So there are a couple of glowing endorsements for Backblaze.

Backblaze - (20% off until May 31st with code SPRINGINTOBACKUP)

Option 4: NAS & Synology & Backblaze / Synology Backup

Now, there is a fourth option which is to buy a NAS (Network Attached Storage) and a bunch of disks - but that can get expensive and complicated to make sure that's then backed up properly.

However, it does mean that you own all of your data if you just don't want to store it online. You can also install apps which sync your photos from your phone, so you can back your camera roll up to your own storage too.

I won't go any further into NAS because I actually made a couple of videos on my YouTube channel about that which you can watch here:

Option 5 - SSD - Why Do You Need an SSD?

The 5th and final option, like I said at the beginning, is to buy an SSD if none of the other options suit you.

There are some valid reasons to use SSDs:

  • Perhaps you don't have much space locally and need to work on large projects like video projects, which can consume up to 100GB of footage per video.
  • Perhaps you need fast access to certain data. This is the reason we have a NAS - because if I need to grab all the files from a 100+ GB project, I can download them much faster when connected locally via 10Gb Ethernet than waiting to download them via Google over a 1Gb connection.
  • Another valid reason is for a Time Machine or Windows backup when upgrading your Mac or PC. Take a full backup and store it somewhere to restore to the new machine or have a copy in case you're missing something and need to restore it quickly from the SSD.

In those situations, my recommendation would be to buy the Crucial X10 Pro. It's the safest bet for performance and durability. I've seen many people buying the popular SanDisk one, even though there are wide reports of these drives failing randomly due to faulty firmware, causing data loss - and there are even lawsuits over this. Yet these drives are still being shipped in who knows what condition.

I'll be making a comparison post soon to run through all the tests to show you why the Crucial is better. And if my recommendation changes, I'll update the link to my current recommendation.

But if you are using SSDs as a backup with data that's just going to sit there for years, especially if buying multiple SSDs to store your work, please don't do this. I know it might seem unlikely, but things like house fires could destroy everything, leaving you with nothing. There's even data showing SSDs can systematically fail when left unused for long periods - years, decades.

While it might not seem likely, I'd rather not trust my lifetime of family memories to one of these things just to save a few hundred bucks. I want to be old in a nursing home and have Tim Apple (or whoever) just plonk all my photos down on my iPad 54 or Apple Vision Pro 38 for me to seamlessly scroll through, instead of asking my great-grandkids to go searching through my house for an SSD that may or may not work.

Even though the cloud storage services I use and recommend cost monthly (and yeah, I'm sick of subscription services too), cloud storage along with things like a password manager are subscriptions I'm happy to pay for because they're doing the heavy lifting - storing my data securely, managing access, ensuring it's fast, upgrading the back-end, and so on.

So with that said, thank you for reading, and I'll see you in the next post.

About the author
Pete Matheson

Pete Matheson

Lifelong Tips, Tricks & Tech Reviews. Sign up to see behind the scenes of a 160k+ Subscriber YouTube Channel.

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