I’m a great fan of synchronised cloud storage – providing that:
(a) it’s reasonably secure (two-factor authentication, underlying encrypted file/object storage system, limited staff access)
(b) the syncing is intelligent (no multiple copies of the same file – the sync client and server can work out what’s the latest version and give it to me)
(c) offers versioning (go back in time to restore a particular version of a file)
(d) auto backup of photos and videos from an iOS device
(e) ability to view files on an iOS device
(f) applications can connect to it to be able to work with files stored within it
Dropbox is one of these services that ticks most, if not all the boxes. I’ve been syncing my 1Password password data with it for sometime across multiple Macs and iOS devices and it’s been great.
It Just Works(tm).
I have been critical of Dropbox in the not-too distant past when they’ve had serious security problems (also see this), but having been reassured of their commitment to security through the use of a decent two-factor authentication system and a very strong password, I’ve trusted them sufficiently over the past year with my data.
Until they announced that Condoleezza Rice was joining their board of directors.
Given Ms. Rice’s previous role within the US government, it seems both a suitable and highly unsuitable choice of partner. But nevertheless it’s a cause for concern. Even more so, Dropbox must have known that this would have stirred up controversy, but did not make much of an attempt to satisfy customer concerns during the initial announcement.
So it’s now time to leave them for pastures new.
Microsoft’s OneDrive is very good, but takes forever and a day to move data from a desktop machine to their datacentres (and vice versa). It does not offer two-factor authentication. It’s iOS app does, however, allow me to auto-upload photos and videos – but seems rather flakey. It doesn’t do much sitting in the background and I find myself having to open the app to push the data to OneDrive. Thanks to my Office 365 Home Premium subscription, I have an extra 20Gb (bringing total use to 45Gb). Another bonus is the use of Office iOS apps – editing proper Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the fly.
Google Drive has been Dropbox’s closest competitor for a while. But progress has been slow. I took a look at Drive when it first launched and wasn’t suitably impressed, and when revisiting Drive a while later, it started to show some stability improvements.
Google recently announced a massive price drop for Google Drive storage. 100Gb of data now costs $1.99, 1TB costs $9.99 in comparison to the old prices of $4.99 for 100Gb and $49.99 for 1Tb. As I use Google Apps for Business (paid), I’m not automatically entitled to take advantage of these new prices. Google Apps users are still on a much higher tier. But enabling Individual Storage within my Google Apps dashboard gives me access to the super-duper pricing scheme.
One MAJOR advantage of using Google Drive (apart from that both desktop and iOS apps use two-factor authentication) is that because I have a Spanning Backup account, everything stored within my Google Drive will be backed up alongside the rest of my Google Apps data – regardless of however much space I take out with Google.
So I’m trying out Google Drive with 1Tb of storage. And so far I’m rather impressed. Upload/download speeds max out the connections, and there appears to be no upload errors anymore.
I’ve stopped syncing 1Password data through Dropbox and am now using an alternative means (not Google Drive). I do hope AgileBits consider officially supporting Google Drive one day alongside other sync systems.
I have considered using OwnCloud to host/sync my data – but really needs a decent dedicated server running an encrypted filesystem with fully redundant disks to make it useful for my needs.
There is Kim Dotcom’s Mega service which offers 50Gb of free fully-encrypted storage. But there’s currently no sync clients available (but they are promised soon).
That said, I’m sure my employers will no doubt come up with a service that can do all these things and more, and do it better than many of these other services to boot.