What is the Difference Between Secondary Storage and Cloud Storage?

Table of Contents

Data storage is an essential component of every organization, as it ensures the successful flow of business. How you store your data plays a vital role in ease of access, use, and security. In this digital age, you choose between primary and secondary storage for your vital data storage needs. Primary storage is done on local physical drives, and secondary storage includes external storage devices and cloud storage.

Cloud storage is often regarded as secondary storage and in the same category as external storage drives. Since the external drives are on-premise, we might refer to them as primary storage devices or primary storage in this article for a better distinction. Some of these primary storage devices are constantly connected to the network in an enterprise setting, thus a part of the local storage.

Both primary and secondary storage methods are viable, and you can use them simultaneously, but there is a distinction between cloud storage and primary storage. While cloud storage offers numerous benefits to many organizations, some businesses find using secondary storage devices a more effective solution. Understanding the difference between primary storage and cloud storage will help you decide what option works best for you.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Secondary Storage

Secondary storage is used to back up the primary storage by creating an exact copy of the original data. In a business environment, secondary storage involves using physical storage devices such as solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disc drives (HDDs), flash discs, or other secondary storage devices. It can be done using a network-attached storage device (NAS), a tape library, or a centralized storage area network (SAN). External storage devices that are used for primary storage include:

  1. Solid-state drives (SSDs)

  2. Hard disc drives (HDDs)

  3. CD-ROM drives

  4. DVD drives

  5. Blu-ray drives

  6. USB flash drives

  7. SD cards

Besides the random access memory (RAM) that every computer has for primary storage, there is secondary storage that keeps information for a longer time. Going by the data storage hierarchy, the central processing unit (CPU) in your computer has cache memory, where it stores instructions for fast access during operations. The cache memory transfers information at a superfast speed, and it has less space than RAM. Your CPU can have 12 MB cache memory and 4 GB RAM, but the cache is faster when it comes to speed. RAM can have a speed of 800 MHz, while the cache operates at 2.4 GHz.

The files that you download or create on your onto your computer’s primary storage are saved in the HDD or SSD, depending on the version of your computer. These two primary storage locations are primary storage inside your computer, and when they have a lot of data, it strains the random access memory. As the business grows, so does the data on primary storage; thus, many managers opt to have auxiliary storage to back up their vital files and documents.

These secondary storage devices are important for relieving the strain on primary storage. By doing so, they not only ease the load on primary storage but also have better access to old data, which is crucial to business needs and compliance with regulations. Some benefits of using external storage devices for primary storage include:


  • Accessing primary storage is quicker than downloading or uploading it from and to the cloud.

  • You are solely responsible and in complete control of how the data is stored with the person’s knowledge with full access and information security protocols.

  • You have full control of backups and when they are done.

  • One main advantage of secondary storage devices is their capacity. While 20 GB can be a good amount of cloud storage, a hard drive can easily give you 2 TB.

  • Primary storage is non-reliant on the internet and can be accessed straight away on-premise.


  • When you store data locally, it is not easily accessible to all the stakeholders. You would need to upload the data on a hosted server to share it with others via an email or link.

  • The hardware and infrastructure cost for external storage devices is high, and upgrading or adding more space comes with extra costs.

  • If your server dies, it will affect backup and recovery as you will lose all the data. If you store data locally, unexpected events such as floods or fires can destroy your local storage and backup.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has swiftly become the secondary storage choice for many organizations. With today’s fast connections and availability of servers globally, more people use cloud computing for both primary and secondary storage. It involves the use of online space to store data on multiple servers that are in different locations. Off-site data storage provides a fast, low-cost, accessible, and durable cloud computing service that is efficient for backups and disaster recovery.

Cloud computing has many benefits to businesses, such as providing various data security options and accessibility from any internet-connected device. It is easier to set up than the traditional data storage methods, and any faults are easily traceable. Here are the additional benefits that you can get from using it:


  • Cloud storage is less expensive per GB than external storage.

  • Cloud storage security is tight as the providers have added layers such as algorithms and encryption to protect your data, unlike in local storage.

  • Data retrieval is convenient as you can do it virtually anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.

  • Cloud storage allows syncing such that whenever you make changes to a file, it is reflected and updated across all devices, thus saving time and simplifying the task.

  • It supports collaboration among teams with access to the data and tools to access it.

  • Cloud providers work with cloud solution platforms to provide backup and disaster recovery strategies.

  • Switching to cloud computing cuts energy consumption in businesses by up to 70%.


  • When you store data on the cloud, you must consider downtime. Your provider can suffer low internet connectivity, power loss, service maintenance, and other unforeseeable factors that affect the availability of the service.

  • Cloud computing is dependent on reliable internet connectivity, and failure to that, it will be hectic or impossible to gather information from the cloud.

  • The performance of cloud computing providers differs since you might be using one server with other organizations. When using this kind of shared resource, then it will affect the performance of the service.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Secondary Storage Vs Cloud Storage

Understanding the pros and cons of secondary storage vs cloud storage is important in determining which option will best serve you. The best choice depends on your business goals and your organization’s data storage hierarchy. It would be best to have a complete roadmap that plans out how you store data and how you want to access it. Today, many businesses have discovered that using on-site local storage for some tasks and backing it up in the cloud is quite efficient.

If your cloud provider uses NoSQL, then the performance of the service might be faster than primary storage. While cloud storage does not offer you options for customization, the maintenance is done by your provider, unlike in primary storage, where you have to do it manually. It takes significantly less time to get data from the cloud than auxiliary storage, which requires effort.

The data stored on internal storage devices are hard to share since you need physical drives for primary storage and a connection has to be established, but cloud sharing requires the internet. Accessing files from primary storage is faster than cloud storage since the internet speeds are responsible for the latter. The data stored on primary and secondary storage are vulnerable to virus and malware attacks, unlike cloud computing.

Kennected is Here to Help

Kennected is a leading SaaS company that you can rely upon to guide you toward the best data storage options. With our Cloud Kennect, the best-in-class tool for LinkedIn Automated Prospecting for lead generation and Kennected Video, we have a vivid idea of the most reliable data storage solutions. Our video marketing software stored in the cloud allows you to film yourself with branded videos that include CTA buttons and notifications when your video is opened.

Kennected was number 583 out of the Inc. 5000 list of 2021 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the USA. We have worked with over 17,000 businesses and are the number one resource for lead generation software and tactics. Cloud Kennect will efficiently help you to save time and simplify opportunities. Contact us today for any of your data storage or lead generation requirements!

Schedule a Demo -
Grow Your Business

Subscribe For

Get started with Kennected today!