Is Your Cloud Data Secure?

August 22, 2014

7:30 pm

Canonical, the parent company of Linux operating system Ubuntu, recently discontinued its cloud service Ubuntu One, after coming under some heavy pressure from its competitors. The decision drew ire from many Ubuntu users, and actually sheds some light on the fact that cloud based storage isn’t the final piece of data security puzzle.

Imagine if Ubuntu One was the sole player in the cloud storage business, and suddenly you were told to withdraw your data from the servers or it will be removed within a stipulated amount of time. That’s scary, right? Now coming back to the real world, Canonical’s decision to pull back its cloud service made real sense for the company’s future plans, and it is evident that the high tension price war among the cloud storage operators claimed its first casualty in the form of Ubuntu One.

Data loss is possibly the most painful catastrophe that concerns all digital natives in the world right now. I’m sure you can’t imagine losing your precious research work that took years in the making or losing videos of your toddler walking for the first time. The plight of Ubuntu One users raises the big question – is cloud server storage the final solution to our safe data needs?

Are cloud storage services reliable?

Cloud storage as a concept is safe and reliable. There is no doubt about that. However, same cannot be said with certainty in the case of cloud service providers. Canonical’s decision was triggered with increased competitive pressure from Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive, amongst others. Google offers gargantuan 100GB cloud storage space at just $1.99 a month! Come on, nobody could beat that. In all fairness, cloud storage is completely safe and reliable, and there’s nothing to be scared about that. Still some safeguards must be observed to make sure your data stays safe.

One backup isn’t enough; Have at least 2 or 3

Having multiple backups hurt nobody, especially with so many players offering free cloud storage space. Hence, if you have the time and bandwidth, create multiple backups and have a sound sleep. Your data will stay safe and secure. Following are some of the best free cloud storage plans that you can use to save your data.

  • Google Drive: Free Storage- 15GB – Paid Plans- 100GB at $1.99/month; 1TB at $9.99/month; 10TB at $99.99/month; 20TB at  $199.99/month; 30TB at $299.99/month
  • SugarSync: Free Storage- 5GB – Paid Plans- 60GB at $7.49/month & $74.99/year; 100GB at $9.99/month & $99.99/year; 1TB at $55/month & US$550/year
  • Box: Free Storage- 10GB – Paid Plans- 100GB at $10/month & 100GB at $5/month
  • OneDrive: Free Storage- 7GB – Paid Plans- 7+50GB at $25/year; 7+100GB at $50/year; 7+200GB at $100/year

Get your data in order

Of course, our data is precious to us, but some files are more than that. Your hard drive might be neatly segmented into separate folders/drives for office documents, personal pictures and multimedia collection, etc. Hence, if you’re planning to store everything on the cloud, then that approach has some slightly odd inherent variables.

For instance, music and movie files can always be acquired again, while your work documents might be safely secured on your office server. Therefore, you must prioritize your data using grades or star rating. I prefer alphabetical grading, such as A-grade for top-priority very important, B-grade for important, C-grade for files that can be acquired again, and so forth.

Grade  File Type Primary Storage Secondary Storage
A Scanned old photographs, Personal pictures/videos including marriage, vacations, etc. Multiple cloud backups- Google Drive and Box Portable/internal hard disks, USB disks
B Official documents already saved in the company server. Past work related files of your previous firm. One cloud backup is fine Same as above
C Movies, music, videos uploaded on YouTube, Facebook, etc. Separate cloud storage not required. Hard disk storage is optional. n.a.

Relax, data migration is possible

If you are tired with cloud storage provider not offering service that befits your money, migrating to another service provider isn’t a bad idea at all. The Ubuntu One debacle has added some tremendous focus in this regard, and in my research to help fellow users in migrating their existing Ubuntu One data to other cloud service providers, I came across a fantastic tool called Mover.

Mover connectors for cloud security -

Mover calls itself the “defacto method for migrating any files to and from services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Egnyte, Copy, Amazon S3, and many others”. At present, the application supports 22 cloud service providers, web services and databases, coined under a self-made term called “Connectors”. Mover also supports popular legacy systems, such as Blackboard Xythos, WebDAV, FTP, SFTP and SharePoint.

Interestingly, and to be honest, I’m so very relieved. Mover considers data security as its top priority. They call it “our military-grade security” which supposedly is of the same level of security system used by the banking industry. Further, credentials are secured with direct authorization using AES-256 256-bit SSL encryption system.

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Utkarsh Sahu writes for various tech mags and admires technology with paradigm-shifting attributes. Digital marketing, social media and content sum up his current beat. An analytics enthusiast, he likes to break down the key variables that work towards making successful digital marketing campaign. Adventure travel and sports are his idea of a perfect vacation.

He loves social media, and can be reached via Twitter / Instagram as UtkSahu / Utkarshsj

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