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How to simplify overlapping cloud storage services

Joe Kissell | Nov. 11, 2014
There's no shortage of choices for cloud storage, but that leads to another problem: how do you decide which services you truly need, and which files to put where? If you've signed up for as many cloud providers as you have files, it's time for an intervention (or at least a moment of clear-headed contemplation).

Go off-cloud for privacy

A handful of cloud storage providers, including SpiderOak and Wuala, offer "zero-knowledge" encryption, which means your data is encrypted in such a way that the provider can't decrypt it without your personal key, even if the government were to demand it. That's great — I'm a huge fan of encryption — but because my favorite iOS apps don't support these services, that severely limits their utility for me.

So, when privacy is important, I either encrypt a file myself before uploading it to Dropbox, or use a "personal cloud" product such as BitTorrent Sync, ownCloud, or Transporter, each of which has unique virtues.

As long as my favorite apps insist on keeping me locked into specific cloud storage services, I won't be able to pick a single provider and stick with it. But I've already reduced my tally significantly, and if more developers make customer-friendly moves like the Microsoft-Dropbox partnership, choosing cloud storage services may be less of a hassle in the future.


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