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2 Great Cloud Storage Alternatives To Dropbox & Popular Services In Terms Of Security

There are various cloud storage solutions available today. All have their strengths and weaknesses. Some are more suited for small businesses while others for enterprises and others still for individual Web users.

Each seem to focus on a niche or strength to differentiate itself from others. Security is something many services take for granted in the non-enterprise space however, but two relatively unknown companies aim to change this perception.

One of the most well-known consumer and average Web surfer plan available is Dropbox, which I previously covered here. It offers users the ability to store a wide variety of file types (such as PDF documents or images) and view them across any device or browser they choose.

Dropbox definitely has its fans and usefulness. However, it is just one of many options today and security itself isn’t its one of its hallmarks

There are also rivals from the likes of box.com, iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and more.

The cloud storage space comes in all shapes and sizes from large corporations offering their own solutions to startups.

The corporations want to tie you into their ecosystem, such as iOS or Android and Google Docs/Drive/Search.

However, startups and companies less known may offer just the right ticket for your needs if you are looking for security and encryption above all else. One startup that offers security options and encryption for regular Web users is pCloud.

Another company a couple years its senior, yet still relatively unknown in this space, is Sync.com. Both these companies may be worth taking a look if you value your data.

PCloud is a relatively unknown cloud provider based out of Switzerland, but check it out if you are a user who wants to store data and share files with friends or family.

The company offers a mobile app and a SaaS Web app and like Dropbox it allows you to sync files across devices without having to be connected to the Internet.

The family plan it offers can also be purchased without monthly commitments at a one-time rate unlike most other cloud solutions.

“PCloud Drive is a desktop app that lets you access your files in the cloud as if they are on your local computer – but without taking any physical space on your hard disk,” said pCloud Lead Program Strategist Andrey Yanakov in an e-mail. “You can sync files and folders, benefit from selective offline access and expand your computer HDD with up to 2 TB of storage.”

What makes this public cloud provider stand out and a worthy competitor to Dropbox and the likes of iCloud or Microsoft OneDrive is encryption and security. PCloud comes with a security system called pCloud Crypto and it is quite robust. You can read more about it from the company’s website’s crypto page:

“No one, even pCloud’s administrators, will have access to your content. You hold the key to your online privacy… pCloud’s security application encrypts data on user’s computer, and uploads only the encrypted version to the servers. Files never leave user’s device, so there is no way that anyone receives sensitive information in a plain version. We apply zero-knowledge privacy, meaning that encryption keys are not uploaded or stored on our servers, and we are incapable of viewing user files. The encryption key (Crypto Pass) is only available to the one who creates it, i.e. the user.”

The other thing about pCloud’s encryption is it offers its users the ability to choose which files to encrypt and which to leave alone as unencrypted. You can have separate folders under one account like this.

Having non-encrypted files has its advantages for file types such as images you want to preview the thumbnails of before opening them.

“You can’t expect server support for generating thumbnail previews of images, transcoding of media files so they are playable in the cloud, creating and extracting archives, and similar operations that cloud users need,” according to pCloud. “That is why, with pCloud, you can choose which files to encrypt and lock, and which ones to store in their natural state and apply file operations on.”

However, it isn’t just the encryption and security measures (combined with non encryption files) that makes pCloud interesting.

The cloud provider also offers a lifetime family plan for up to five members. If you are used to using cloud services such as Dropbox or iCloud, most plans are never lifetime but comes with monthly fees.

Thus the two aspects that make pCloud stand out from all the other public cloud storage alternatives today is this lifetime guaranteed family plan and the ability to store both encrypted and non-encrypted folders within a single account.

Some of its encryption boasts include TLS/SSL channel protection, 256-bit AES encryption for all files, 5 copies of files on different servers and more. It also offers features such as data recovery and remote upload, which should be handy for users who rely on cloud storage not just to upload and view files, but for backup purposes as well.

Another alternative that is great on pricing and security is sync.com. If security is your key metric when looking for a cloud storage provider, check it out as well.

According to Sync’s website description, it makes every copy of every change a user makes.

Sync.com is so focused on privacy and end-to-end encryption that the company even has a white paper detailing how it keeps users’ data secure, private and encrypted so only they have access to it. You can read about it here.

What is interesting is both of these services have strong encryption features. While sync.com focuses on end-to-end encryption, pCloud focuses on client-side encryption.

There is a blog post on pCloud’s blog detailing the differences in focus. To keep it short, client-side encryption encrypts data before it is transmitted to servers while end-to-end encryption involves data only being read by the intended recipient of the transmission.

So the question is what public cloud storage option should you choose with so many options out there? It really depends on what sort of storage you are looking for and your needs.

If you are already tied to an ecosystem — such as Microsoft’s, Google’s or Apple’s — OneDrive, Google Drive and iCloud may make the most sense to you as you switch devices on the fly.

If you want a solution for just yourself or your small business, Dropbox or Google Drive may make the most sense with their collaboration features (Dropbox Paper and Google Docs).

If you want a cross-device solution tied to an ecosystem you use daily, you probably know about Apple’s and Microsoft’s offerings. However, if you value security and encryption above all else, check pCloud and Sync.com out.

One or both of these less known cloud services may just may be the perfect ticket for your needs.

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