Question

Can you suggest a cloud storage vendor?

I need a cloud storage service to store thousands of family photos, documents and other file types. I have read a lot of articles and reviews comparing cloud storage solutions and I have tried two services already (Just Cloud and Carbonite) but they were disappointing. Just Cloud advertised unlimited storage but uses a proprietary "dynamic limit" formula to limit your back up. When they accidentally created a bug (while trying to patch something else) that deleted 80% of my photos and could not retrieve the files they accidentally deleted, I canceled my subscription. Next I subscribed to Carbonite (which was highly recommended in on line reviews). I just found out that Carbonite requires you to keep a local copy of the files you have backed up on the device from which you backed the files up. Delete files from your local drive and Carbonite freezes your backup tor 30 days then deletes the files from your backup. Ergo, Carbonite isn't a storage solution at all but file synchronization software. Along with this comes the fact that practically speaking their "unlimited" storage option is limited by the size of your local hard drive.
My ideal cloud storage solution would meet the following criteria:
- Would not require me to keep a local copy of a backed up file to keep the file stored in my space on their server.
- Allows me to access my files from any device via the internet
- Allows me to download my files to any device via the internet
- Offers 1TB or more of storage space (whether under a truly unlimited plan option or by including a 1TB option in their offerings)
- Has a local app includes a basic search functions (seach of stored files by file type, name, date, for example)
As you can see, I just want to store files remotely with the expectation that I can access them anytime, anywhere via the internet, any file I back up stays stored remotely until I delete it for as long as I subscribe to the service.
Can you recommend a remote storage solution that meets my needs? Thank you for your help.

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Answer
That's a recipe for disaster.

Sorry, no one I know would advise a cloud only backup. It's not backup when it's only on one system like that.

It's that simple. Your choice but it's a recipe for disaster as well as a great way to create bad reviews of any paid online storage system.
Bob

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I agree

A file is not "backed up" unless there are at least three copies, altogether.

The subject of backups has come up a couple of times, recently. I'll go ahead and reiterate my backup scheme.

The file resides on my source computer, for the first copy. I have a NAS, and run Autover on a couple of machines and Yadis on another, for realtime backup to the NAS. That's my second copy. And, I have a subscription to Crashplan for off-site backup, for the third copy.

Crashplan's first paid subscription level includes unlimited backup on ten machines. (I currently have four on it.) I shoot a couple of amateur sports videos each week, so, Crashplan was easily the most economical choice, for me. I've been with them about a year, now, and they do appear to fully honor their offer of unlimited storage.

Drake Christensen

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Totally agree with Bob...

...one copy is a single point of failure, not a backup.

Based on your experience with so called "Cloud" so far, have you considered a private cloud in which you are in total control? You would ned a NAS device and either a fixed IP address or some DDNS service to provide internet access AND you would need two external HDDs. Copy the photos you want to share to the NAS and set up a backup to each of the external drives separately. Probably a strategy such as taking a full backup to begin with and then incrementals for some period, depending on your rate of addition. Establish an incremental threshold and when it triggers, take a new full backup to one of your EHDDs, VERIFY it and then repeat the full backup to the other and start your incremental cycle again.

That would give you your original copy, if you kept it, one full shared copy on the NAS and two additional backup copies on the EHDDs. Is it worth it? Only you know the emotional or monetary values of your photographs.

Yes, it takes a little effor but then unless you have access to a time machine, how are ou going to retrieve any loss?

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Cloud

you might as well put it on facebook as to the security level of these places in general.
its already been in the news that they have been hacked, and files deleted.
cheaper to buy another HD and then its always accessible.

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Answer
General Considerations

Regardless of which provider you select, here are some of my thoughts.

First, consider the required privacy you require for your data/photos. The, make sure you read the "Privacy Policy" of any cloud provider and the "Terms of Service" for any cloud provider that you want to try out and/or use. I can't say what your privacy requirements are or what they should be, but you need to know, in advance, what the privacy treatment will be. At one point, some of the biggest providers said that they "OWNED" all of your data which is probably a copyright issue so now most say they don't OWN your data but you need to give them the right to basically do whatever they want with your data (read, modify abstract and give your data to their third-party associates, etc.). There were issues that some sites used your personal photos as part of advertising on their system.

As Robert said, if all you have is the one copy in the cloud, then this is truly NOT a backup situation. Most definitions of "backup" refer to multiple copies of the information. Not just a relocation. As was also said, some of the really big names in online service were hacked and personal data was accessed. Keep in mind that these sites also readily respond government requests for information that you have stored (with or without a judge-signed subpoena). We were NOT allowed to use certain big-name cloud providers because we were dealing with privacy laws such as HIPAA and CJIS. The cloud providers did NOT perform background checks on their employees and so were NOT allowed under CJIS regulations.

I think you might want to look at Microsoft (One Drive) but I heard that it has issues with Macintosh file structures. Apparently, Microsoft was CJIS compliant as far, at least, as Office 365 was concerned. Have you looked at photo sharing services such as "Photobucket"? To be honest, I have not read a lot of details about cloud providers and I welcome your comments about the ones that you've tried. I have "privacy" issues so I have stayed away from the cloud but I wanted to share my concerns with privacy issues with you. I'm sorry that I'm not much help here.

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