Secure cloud storage is undeniably convenient and useful. Being able to access files from any device makes collaboration a breeze. Rather than backing everything up to a USB stick, your data seamlessly sync to the cloud. However, traditional mainstream cloud storage providers trade convenience for your privacy.
Many of these services are either entirely free or offer free tiers. As we’ve come to learn, though, nothing is really free; we pay with our data. If you want the convenience and benefits of cloud storage, but without the privacy-invasion, check out these encrypted, secure cloud storage providers instead.
Tresorit is one of the best encrypted, and therefore secure, cloud storage alternatives to Dropbox. Based in Switzerland, Tresorit ensures that all data is end-to-end encrypted on the client-side with AES256 before being uploaded to their servers. This means that only you can see the content of your uploads.
The service is marketed towards businesses, mostly because of their in-built collaboration tools. However, they also offer Tresorit Solo, intended for individuals. This account comes with 2,000GB of storage, access on up to 10 devices, and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), for $30/month.
Payment methods might be problematic for the privacy-enthusiast, as they currently only accept PayPal, credit and debit cards, and bank transfer. However, you could use a crypto credit card to pay for the service instead. Tresorit’s service is also not open-source. You have to decide if you trust the company, as their claims can’t be verified.
As you’d expect of a modern cloud storage provider, Tresorit offers desktop, web, and mobile access. The Tresorit desktop software works similarly to Dropbox and Google Drive, integrating with your file manager for easy access. As a bonus, there’s even native support for Linux. The mobile apps are available for Android, iOS, and, surprisingly, Windows Phone.
If you’re after the convenience and simplicity of cloud storage, but with security and privacy built-in, then Tresorit is an excellent option.
SpiderOak is widely considered one of the most secure cloud storage providers. The Edward Snowden-approved service has ben around since 2007. This is reassuring, as it shows that the service has longevity, and shouldn’t disappear without notice.
Similar to Tresorit, SpiderOak One Backup is a fully-featured Google Drive or Dropbox alternative. Its primary focus is as an E2E encrypted cloud backup service. However, with desktop integration and mobile access, it functions as secure encrypted storage. Rather than encouraging you to create a separate structure for your Spideroak files, you can select existing files and folders to back up.
The One Backup service is available as a subscription, ranging from $6 per month for 150GB of storage to $29 per month for up to 5TB. All plans allow you to connect and access your files from an unlimited number of devices. Spideroak’s One Backup combines a full cloud backup service with traditional cloud storage. This means you get convenient access to your data, while also protecting your privacy.
In 2018, SpiderOak appeared to have tripped their warrant canary. The canary disappeared and was replaced with a transparency report. The canary was later reinstated, and SpiderOak issued a statement that they had not been issued any law enforcement requests. The confusion has led some to believe the service was compromised. However, their No Knowledge approach should mean that even if they were, there would be no unencrypted user information to hand over.
Cloud storage is usually made up of two parts; the physical storage, and the software to access it. NextCloud is different, as it doesn’t provide you with the physical storage space. Instead, NextCloud is a suite of software that replicates many of the best features of other cloud storage providers.
NextCloud is open-source and free to use. Like the other options on this list, NextCloud also protects your data with end-to-end (E2E) encryption . As they only provide the software, you will need to choose a storage provider. NextCloud recommends a handful—although that doesn’t mean that they endorse the provider’s security and privacy, you’ll still need to choose the right provider for your needs. If you’d rather not trust another provider with your data, you can self-host NextCloud too.
This is a great option for home users, especially those with Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. This combines the convenience of many cloud services, while also retaining control of your data and your privacy. They have clients for all major desktop operating systems and mobile apps for Android and iOS. NextCloud’s standard functionality can be extended through software available in the NextCloud App Store.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks first rose to prominence alongside the popularity of torrents. These P2P networks store small segments of files across the network for redundancy and improved access speed. Rather than waiting for one user to share a particular file, you connect to multiple users who share small parts of a file with you to create the whole. In recent years, Bitcoin, and its supporting technology blockchain have driven a renewed interest in P2P technologies.
Internxt X Cloud combines peer-to-peer filesharing, end-to-end encryption, and the blockchain to create a decentralized cloud storage platform. The user-facing interface is very similar to Dropbox, so there’s no steep learning curve here. Instead, most of the significant features are behind the scenes, powering X Cloud’s open-source platform.
X Cloud is the user-facing part of Internxt’s service, while the backbone of the operation is X Core. This is a decentralized network of hosts, offering their computing and storage capacity to X Core and X Cloud. These hosts are incentivized to participate with the Internxt token, INXT.
Internxt X Cloud is available on the web and via their Android and iOS apps. When you first sign up, the company gives you 1GB of storage for free. There are two other tiers: 100GB for $4.49/month, and 1TB for $9.99 per month.
The Most Secure Cloud Storage for You
Secure cloud storage is a necessity for privacy and secured-minded consumers. While the “free” cloud-storage solutions from Google and Microsoft are convenient and easy—they come with a hidden price: your privacy. They’re great for those who don’t mind potential data-mining of their stored files, data-leaks, and other ethical and security lapses.
If you want the same great benefits, but without the privacy downsides, then one of these secure cloud options might be right for you.
While all of these storage systems use end-to-end encryption by default, secure cloud storage doesn’t protect your internet traffic. For those interested in further strengthening their browsing habits against privacy invasions, consider getting a VPN to protect your online activity .