Cloud storage is all the rage at the moment. While all offer amazing convenience for transferring and storing your data, not all are made equal.
Beyond user experience, you may, for example, have some very real concerns about who can access your private stuff without your knowledge. For this reason, you may want to take advantage of stricter consumer data rights in the EU than in the US?
RELATED: NEXT-GENERATION OF CLOUD COMPUTING: DISTRIBUTED CLOUD
Why do you need cloud storage?
The time of physical storage devices is at an end. Hard disks, flash drives, and other kinds of storage devices have long fallen out of fashion.
More and more people are now shifting to online cloud storage services because of the convenience and ease they offer for many users to store their files and other data. Not only that, but these services can usually be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
No longer do people need to lug around bulky external hard drives or risk losing their flash drives when on the move. You can access it all online anywhere, anytime.
These services tend to offer seamless file transfers and can handle most file formats from documents to photos to pdfs and everything in between. Most also offer online, real-time document editing too so you may not even need your own installed software on your device or computer.
Cloud storage services also come with a handy backup function that lets you keep your files safe and sound. All-in-all cloud storage services are set to dominate the future of data storage for a long time to come.
If you haven't already subscribed to one, you might want to explore the possibilities as soon as you are able.
Where in the world are cloud storage providers the safest?
Most of the big names on the cloud storage scene tend to be based in the United States. While this might not seem like a problem on the surface, there are some issues with this with regards to your own personal data security.
Various pieces of legislation, like the Patriot Act, allow anyone of the U.S.'s Alphabet Soup Agencies to retrieve information from U.S. citizens stored online, home or abroad. While these regulations are only supposed to apply to U.S. citizens, who is to say if they access non-citizens accounts too?
For this reason, you may want to look for something called zero-knowledge cloud services to prevent prying eyes from accessing your private stuff. Crossing the pond, things in the EU are a little better, and many countries will disregard citizen's privacy rights in the name of fighting "terrorism".
However, any laws that do exist of this nature are not as far-reaching as the U.S. Not only that but the recent launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while far, far from perfect, also offers some further protections to consumer's and their data.
GDPR, in theory, is intended to place legal restrictions and requirements on companies that provide services in the EU that process and control people's data. This is regardless of whether the company itself is actually located there or not.
This legislation adds new rights like mandatory breach notification, the right to obtain people’s data, the right to be forgotten, and privacy by design. For this reason, you may want to consider jumping ship from a U.S.-based cloud storage provider to an EU-based one ASAP.
What are the best cloud storage providers in the European Union?
Bearing all the above in mind, here are some of the best EU-based cloud storage providers currently available. This list is far from exhaustive.
1. pCloud.com is probably one of the safest around
First up is an EU-, and US-based cloud storage service provider called pCloud. Its EU side is based in Switzerland but, unlike others on the list, enables users to choose between where they wish to host their data -- the US or EU.
When you sign up you get to choose which region you'd prefer, and it is practically impossible to transfer data without your permission. pCloud's data centers have been through a very strict risk assessment screening process for the highest quality and reliability.
All of their providers are certificated under SSAE 18 SOC 2 Type II & SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II and also comply with the highest level of physical and technical security applications going. They also provide two-factor authentication.
Your files are protected with AES-256-encryption during and after transfer and pCloud also utilizes TLS/SSL protocols when transferring files from your device to their servers. More than 5 copies of your files are stored on at least three server locations in a highly secure data storage area.
The company is regulated under both Swiss and EU law and they are also an example of a zero-knowledge privacy provider.
2. Nextcloud.com is another safe cloud storage provider
Another worthy EU-based cloud storage provider is Nextcloud. A Germany-based company, Nextcloud takes your personal data privacy very seriously.
The service offers industry-leading, on-premises storage and combines the convenience of other services like Dropbox and Google Drive with the security and privacy you demand. Any data you store on their service is placed on your own data center that you manage.
Their service offers brute force protection to advanced server-side and integrated end-to-end client-side encryption with enterprise-key handling. They also put their money where their mouth is with their Security Bug Bounty Program backed by $10,000 to provide confidence that your data will stay safe and private.
3. Tresorit.com comes highly recommended
Tresorit is another great EU-based cloud storage provider that usually ranks very well with users. While not the cheapest, it offers a very good service, has excellent security, and is subject to privacy laws in the Netherlands and Ireland.
Tresorit is an example of a zero-knowledge cloud service which means you get to choose your password and save it without Tresorit ever being given access to it. This makes it nye-on impossible for them to hand over your data to a third party.
Obviously, if you forget it, the company has no way of helping you retrieve it either. The site uses AES-256-encryption which would take an estimated billion years for a supercomputer to attempt to crack.
The service also comes with two-factor authentication and its servers are compliant with the latest ISO standards and run by Microsoft Azure. It also offers Linux support, which is nice.
4. CloudMe.com is another service worth checking out
CloudMe is an EU-based cloud storage provider that happens to be based in Sweden. Founded by Xcerion, it was originally called iCloud.
When Apple bought the domain they split it into CloudTop (a virtual cloud desktop) and CloudMe for syncing and storing files. While it comes with mixed reviews, it does have several consumer price plans to fit most budgets and needs.
The largest plan it offers it 500 GB for a pricey 30 Euros a month but does offer a free plan that lets you try it for a limited time. CloudMe doesn't offer encryption of any kind (but you can get around this with a VPN), has no chat support option but does have a handy FAQ section.
5. Jottacloud.com is great for photos and rare file types
Jottacloud is another great EU-based cloud storage provider. A privacy-oriented Norway based backup and syncing platform, this service is relatively cheap and very easy to use.
Based in a country with some of the best privacy laws in the world, the company promises it will never monitor the information you store. That being said, they do store some personal information and metadata so buyer beware.
It does come with two-factor authentication and offers a free 5GB plan. Its unlimited storage service costs as little as $9.99. Jottacloud comes with a great photo backup feature and it can backup rare file types with little to no problems.
Have we whetted your whistle for jumping ship to an EU-based cloud storage provider? If so, why wait? Sign up today.