4: File Sharing

Do you use any cloud- based storage? If so what?

I use Dropbox for personal cloud storage, since I am not always using the same computer, and also to share documents with family and friends.

As well as the storage, Dropbox also faciliates comments about documents. So it provides a space not just to store a work in progress, but also a discussion space. This can be good for collaboration, as an alternative to having a separate “discussion” document, or email thread etc.

CloudStor looks like a good choice for academic researchers as it gives you 100GB for free, which is more than the other providers offer without upgrading to a paid account. It’s also designed to be used for academic purposes, so it’s fit-for-task.

How concerned are you about the security and long-term storage of cloud-based data?

It’s prudent not to store things in the cloud for the long term. It’s also important not to store things in the cloud as the only place – always have a “hard copy” (!) on a physical drive that you own. I use it to save “work in progress” documents that I might want access away from home in the short term, not at the final destination for a file.

I regard most cloud-storage services to be secure and trustworthy. This article from LifeHacker lists some cloud services that offer data encryption for security. The ‘big’ providers like Dropbox, Google and Amazon don’t make the list as they don’t encrypt (though with a little know-how you can do it yourself) – but the article mentions that these 3 services will only investigate users’ data or turn it in to authorities if provided with a court order. Meanwhile, some other cloud storage services like Microsoft SkyDrive and Apple Drive reserve the right to scan user’s data for questionable or illegal material. So it’s good to know the policy before trusting a site with your data.

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