External storage devices help store your files outside the computer. This will give you the freedom to access them from different computers.
To widen the scope of access to your files, hard drives with cloud support not only allow you to access your files, but you can also do this over a network and from any supported device. They provide a central location for you to access your files.
For the best results, you will need the best external hard drives with cloud and here you will see which options are available for you.
Note that many of the external drives with cloud are centralized NAS storage, meaning they aren’t entirely portable. However, we look at both stationary and portable options.
List of Best External Hard Drives with Cloud in 2021
The following hard drives or NAS devices are highly suitable for cloud in our opinion.
- My Cloud Expert Series EX2 Ultra – Dual-Core Processor with 1GB Memory
- Seagate Personal Cloud – Support for Media Streaming Services
- WD My Cloud – Gigabit-Ethernet and Apple Time Machine Compatibility
- BUFFALO LinkStation 210 – Affordable, Easy to set up and use
- My Cloud Home Duo – Expensive, Auto-backup Feature, RAID Support
1. My Cloud Expert Series EX2 Ultra – Dual-Core Processor with 1GB Memory
The EX2 Ultra from WD is a great external storage device for users who want high availability of their files.
When connected to the internet, this drive provides a central location from which users can access all their files over a network.
It’s a high-performance device equipped with a dual-core processor that’s clocked at 1.3GHz. This is further supplemented by the 1GB RAM.
The device has RAID support which, when implemented, will give you high data integrity. With RAID 1, you can save duplicates of all your files in different drives (mirror) so that in the event of a failure, your files can be recovered fully from the backups.
For cloud functionality, the device is powered with proprietary software, My Cloud OS 3, that gives you control over your media allowing you to device who to share your files with and handle file uploads.
2. Seagate Personal Cloud – Support for Media Streaming Services
If you’re looking for a drive that integrates with media streaming services, then the Seagate Personal Cloud will be the best external hard drive with cloud.
It supports 4K streaming to services like Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV among others. This can be very beneficial as a home media server.
In addition to that, the drive is encrypted allowing you to access your files securely. This provides added security even when you’re reading your files over the internet.
Once set up and connected over a network, the Drive will take care of backing up the computers wirelessly. This will make it easier to resume after one of the computers breaks.
It comes in storage capacities that range from 3TB to 5TB making it ideal for users with large volumes of files that need to be stored.
The device weighs a little over 1Kg and measures about 119 by 235.1 millimeters. This makes it slightly portable although with the cloud functionality you won’t need to take it everywhere you go.
3. WD My Cloud – Gigabit-Ethernet and Apple Time Machine Compatibility
Mac users will find the best external hard drive with cloud. This is because it does not only support high speed Gigabit Ethernet, you also get support for Apple Time Machine.
Time Machine lets MacOS users back up their files seamlessly and if you’re already on a Mac then this can be a great option for a personal external cloud drive.
It comes in a wide variety of storage sizes ranging from 2 to 8TB and this lets users customize their unit according to their needs.
Gigabit Ethernet support lets you leverage high speed file transfers over the internet of your connection speed allows it. This is a great feature for a cloud-enabled drive.
Its support for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) lets you share content with devices that support the feature over WIFI. This allows you to connect and stream to your smart TV or even a mobile phone.
In addition to network connectivity, you also get a USB 3.0 interface for direct USB connections.
4. BUFFALO LinkStation 210 – Affordable, Easy to set up and use
While it’s not as feature-packed as some of its competitors, the Buffalo LinkStation 210 brings affordability to the table.
The device comes in several variants based on storage capacities and you can get them from 2 – 4TB.
With this, you can store your files in one central location and have the ability to access them from anywhere in the world over the internet.
This can be great if you’re on holiday or work and taking a lot of pictures. The ability to do all this affordably makes this one of the best external hard drive with cloud.
This device functions just like a computer with an onboard processor and 256 MB of RAM. Besides this, you only get one bay for a hard drive so you also don’t have RAID support.
Being an affordable as well as easy to set up and use makes it stand out.
With the device, you get secure cloud access to your files and it also features a BitTorrent client that lets you download files straight to the device.
5. My Cloud Home Duo – Expensive, Auto-backup Feature, RAID Support
The My Cloud Home Duo features two drive bays that come preloaded with hard drives upon purchase, hence the name Duo.
That aside, having two drive bays makes it easy for the device to implement policies that ensure data integrity, chief among this is Mirror Mode.
With this enabled, all the data copied to the device will be copied twice. The first copy will be the main file and the other copy will be for backup. This in place, you will be able to recover immediately from a disk failure.
This, however, reduces the total usable disk space by half. But this can be overlooked because the device takes drives for a maximum storage capacity of about 20TB.
That makes this ideal for users with large files and the need for frequent and stable backups. The device also supports RAID which can help in backing up your files for extra security.
This device secures your files and includes an auto-backup feature for photos. If backups and large storage capacities are your needs this will be the best external hard drive with cloud for you.
What to Expect from Cloud Storage Drives
With cloud file storage, you may be tempted to think about Google Drive and Dropbox. And you’re not wrong.
However, there are hard drives that have cloud support so that whatever data you store on them, will be available to you over the internet as long as the drive itself is connected.
This, as you will see, is very beneficial.
Benefits of Hard Drive with Cloud
Cloud computing has allowed users to do a lot of things with minimal downtime and high security. With hard drives, cloud support brings the features of the cloud without the worry of paying high annual rates for storage space.
Instead, you have your device so you don’t pay for cloud storage.
Hard drives with cloud support grant user’s high availability for their files. While initially, you had to carry a hard drive with you wherever you went, with a cloud drive, you can leave your storage device on your desk, take a trip and still access your files.
This can be very beneficial for users who need on-demand storage without having to pack the storage device.
You also benefit from having full control of your drive. While you cannot reformat the cloud storage space provided by a service for whatever needs you have, you may be able to reformat your very own external hard drive.
Lastly, these devices have gotten cheaper over the last few years.
What to Look For
Assuming you’re looking to buy a new hard drive that has cloud support, here are some of the things you need to consider beforehand.
The cost of the unit will play a role in determining what you get. You should get one that you are comfortable paying for.
Additionally, the price may be an indicator of the device’s quality so going too cheap may yield consequences.
If you are a user with large files to store, you should consider getting a device with a large storage capacity.
The best thing about these hard drives is that they usually have a lot of storage. So, picking one that fits your needs should be the priority.
Security and Backups
Because your files will be available over a network, the device you use should safeguard against unauthorized access and provide security for the data being transmitted.
Also, it’s great to have a drive with a good backup policy to prevent data loss.
All in all, if you are looking for a way to store your files on the internet and retrieve anywhere and across all devices, then the best external hard drives with cloud should be the way to go.
Fortunately, there are a ton of drives out there that support cloud integration. However, you will note that almost all of such external devices are actually NAS devices with internal processor and RAM.
This is important as cloud devices require a certain amount of computing power.