securing free cloud storage posted: Sat 2013-08-17 14:25:27 tags: tech, backups
"Cloud storage" services have been around for years. I've been uniformly unimpressed until now, due to space limitations of free accounts and exorbitant pricing for useful amounts of space. Most recently I had some space on Dropbox, but 2GB base and half-GB bonuses for referrals was not quite a useful size, so it went unused.

Enter: copy.com by Barracuda. Base size is 15GB, which is already ample, and then they add 5GB for signing up via referral link and verifying your email address. This is plenty sufficient for personal documents and pictures unless you're a fairly serious photography hobbyist. It is probably not ample for music, video and software backups, but popping gigabytes of media library in and out of the cloud is less than ideal anyway. With leading-edge thumbdrive capacity advancing into terabyte realms and 64GB at $40 and under, I'm satisfied with keeping my media library offline.

Cloud storage is a pretty ideal approach to data backups. Problem is, it is not exactly "private". Oh, I don't doubt the comm channel from user to service is suitably SSL-encrypted. And I imagine user data is encrypted on the server side. However, someone somewhere always has keys to the data center and a sysop somewhere else always has the power to access storage directly, or at least sniff transmissions. And from the news at the intersection of IT, privacy and law, we know that the trend in public policy is toward decreasing, not increasing, respect for citizen privacy.

One approach is to backup to a Truecrypt virtual drive mounted in a file container in your cloud sync folder. The concern here would be sync transmission size: obviously you can't do daily or perhaps even weekly backups of an 8GB container, if your ISP gets fussy over 40-250GB usage per month. Fortunately, copy.com offers "delta sync" technology, so only the changes in a file get transmitted.