Sizing up some typical cloud storage providers

YourSecureCloud

The young, Germany-based, YourSecureCloud [11] primarily focuses its offerings on the business market and therefore only offers a free trial for private customers. Six tariff plans are available for paying private customers, whereas business customers can request a customized offer.

The name says it all with YourSecureCloud: The service attaches great importance to meeting the highest security standards. As well as encrypted data transfer, it also implements a real end-to-end encryption of all data so that neither the provider nor unauthorized third parties can view the data. The server systems are also exclusively in German data centers. Unlike most cloud service providers, YourSecureCloud does not use conventional hard disk systems for mass storage; instead, it uses very powerful enterprise-class SSDs, which are used only occasionally elsewhere because of the very high costs.

YourSecureCloud provides its services via a web interface called Seahub and also via clients for all major platforms [12]. The free application Seafile serves as basic software. For Linux, graphical clients are available for all derivatives of Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint – and, in older versions, for ALT Linux. A command-line client offers rudimentary storage functions for all other distributions with RPM packet management and those using other packet management [13].

Marcus Müller, the company's technical administrator, confirmed on request that the software developed by the Chinese company Seafile Ltd. will undergo extensive tests before the company makes a new version available for download on the YourSecureCloud website. This will help eliminate problems caused by the rapid development cycles.

To activate the test account with YourSecureCloud, you only need to enter an email address to which the service sends the access data. After registration, you first create a new library to which the shared data can be transferred in order to share data with other users. Then, click on the Share icon for the desired library menu in My Home | Libraries and specify in the resulting dialog whether you want to send the share link by email or want to share the data with another YourSecureCloud user. In this dialog, you can also specify whether the recipient can only read the shared data or also edit it (Figure 12).

Figure 12: YourSecureCloud allows detailed rights to be assigned when sharing data.

Recipients invited by email can copy the files to their local system – they do not need a YourSecureCloud account to do so. If the recipient does have a YourSecureCloud account and also has the client installed on their system, the client window displays whether the data has been received and allows further processing subject to being granted the appropriate rights (Figure  13).

Figure 13: The YourSecureCloud client offers unrestricted access to shared files.

Conclusions

Trust is good; control is better. This saying could easily have been written about cloud data storage vendors. The security deficits we encountered when comparing cloud providers are alarming: All services may encrypt the data transmission between host and cloud, but only the two German companies (TeamDrive and YourSecureCloud) implement real end-to-end encryption. Thanks to its consistent use of free software for the cloud service, YourSecureCloud is also the only provider in this test largely to exclude hidden backdoors in its software.

However, if you attribute great importance to ease of use and ergonomics of the software when choosing a cloud service, you should take a look at Copy and TeamDrive: Both offer very easy-to-handle clients, although the TeamDrive experience is still rather unpleasant because of the pushy commercials in the program window. If you want to use as much free storage space as possible in the cloud and combine this with other services from the same manufacturer, Yandex.Disk and Google are suitable choices.

Infos

  1. Copy: https://www.copy.com
  2. Privacy policy at Copy: https://www.copy.com/about/privacy/
  3. Dropbox privacy policy: https://www.dropbox.com/privacy
  4. Dropbox client for Linux: https://www.dropbox.com/install?os=lnx
  5. Google Drive client for Linux: https://www.insynchq.com
  6. MyDrive: https://www.mydrive.ch
  7. Download TeamDrive client: https://www.teamdrive.com/en/downloads/
  8. Yandex.Disk registration: https://disk.yandex.com
  9. Download Yandex.Disk client: http://repo.yandex.ru/yandex-disk/
  10. Yandex project page: http://help.yandex.com/disk/cli-clients.xml#cli-gui
  11. YourSecureCloud: https://www.yoursecurecloud.de (in German)
  12. Download YourSecureCloud client: https://www.yoursecurecloud.de/download.html
  13. Seafile downloads: http://www.seafile.com/en/download/

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