Ok, the price of the cloud is right

Ok, the price of the cloud is right

Remote archiving is also becoming cheaper. But there are various factors to take into account when choosing the cloud to rely on

on display at The Art of The Brick (Photo: Maurizio Pesce / Wired) Between 100 and 120 euros a year for 2 terabytes of virtual space: how much it costs on average to keep our digital files in the cloud. Then there are those who propose the incredible: about 3 euros for 5 tera for a year or 350 euros forever. Special promotions of course, but it is true that in recent years the development of new technologies designed to collect the digital memory of the world has meant that prices have dropped. But is it really worth spending less? What is the difference between price and quality of cloud services? And, above all, what should we pay attention to when we decide to move our files to a "cloud"? Let's try to clarify.

What is the use of the cloud?

In times of smart working, for example, sharing work documents remotely with colleagues requires the use of a cloud service. More generally, storing documents and multimedia content online, rather than on a hard disk, allows us to access them from anywhere and also to share them easily. With ever faster networks, cloud services provide quick access to all our data and online backup, as is the case with smartphones.

The right price

It is not easy to determine the right price of a good cloud service. It is the market that levels them even if the promotions in progress continually lower the bar. For example, on Google Drive 100 gigs cost 20 euros a year and 2 tera 5 times as much: 100 euros a year. The same format on Dropbox costs 20 euros more (120 euros per year), the same on Amazon Web Services. But as soon as you leave the land of the oct, here are a myriad of acronyms that offer virtual space at incredibly low prices. An example is pCloud which for 2 teras of cloud space asks for 350 euros but for life or iDrive which asks 3 euros for 5 teras for a year (but then the cost goes up). Now, given that these services have been around for years and boast several million users, how much is there to trust given the low prices?

What to watch when choosing our cloud?

"Among the precautions that must be taken in choosing who to entrust our data to - explains Sergio Patano of the Idc consultancy company - some are related to common sense and concern the reliability of the operator (the network also allows quickly who operates the service and where the data centers where my data will end up reside), the characteristics of the service (always thinking of the photographs, are they stored in the original format and size or are they compressed, losing quality and value?), finally everything related to privacy: are our files accessed by someone else? Are they also used anonymously for statistical analysis? If we decide to change supplier can we do it without exit costs? And are we reasonably certain that our data will actually be deleted? ". Not only. Every internet based service can experience occasional interruptions. This is why if we decide to store important files in the cloud, for example, it might be useful to choose a provider that has efficient customer service (and if anything in Italian).

How secure is our data in the cloud?

In an article published in The Conversation, Haibin Zhang, professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland (USA), wrote: "The data stored in the cloud is in fact always stored in encrypted form, and in order to access the information that contains an intruder should therefore be able to crack them first. But as an expert in cloud computing and cloud security, I noticed that the keys with which these files are decrypted are stored in different places depending on the provider chosen. And that, in addition, there are relatively simple systems with which a user can enhance the security of their data well beyond the levels guaranteed by the cloud platform they use ".

In practice, the problem is who holds the key to access our files. Most cloud services keep it for them, unlocking it when we access it by entering the password. But there are also minor services, such as Mega or SpiderOak, which, Zhang always explained: “require users to upload and download files using clients that include a data encryption function. This additional step allows you to keep the custody of the decryption key. But to have this additional level of security, you have to give up some features, such as the ability to search within files stored in the cloud. However, even these services are not perfect. There is always the possibility that the apps with which you upload and download files will be compromised or hacked. ”

How to secure our cloud space?

According to Zhang, to maximize the security of cloud storage the best thing we can do is upload the data to the cloud, already encrypted so that it is encrypted. However, this is not good for all of our files, but only for those we use less. Ultimately the cloud is an excellent solution for storing our files and it is also economical, provided that you know how to use it. For example, we can duplicate the archives on two different services, in order to have an emergency copy, or use the cheapest services for less valuable files and buy ad hoc space from a secure provider, even if more expensive, for the most important ones, if anything after having encrypted them with a software: small precautions to make the clouds a safe place for our files.

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