If you live in the U.S. and upload your data to the cloud, it’s there for the NSA to see as well as for you. Not so in Europe, where strict privacy laws help to keep your personal data away from prying eyes. In this article we’ll be looking at the best cloud storage in Europe, for both people that live in the Old World as well as the New.
People that live in Europe will be able to enjoy better up- and download times, while users elsewhere will be able to feel safe in the knowledge that their data is protected by better privacy laws than they enjoy at home. The internet allows you to travel the world from the comfort of your home, so why not make use of it?
Before we go on in detail about the best storage services in Europe, let’s first see what we based our selection on and the reasons for choosing a European cloud storage service.
Best Cloud Storage for Europe 2018
Why Should You Consider Cloud Services Based in Europe
The United States is slowly becoming a scary, scary place: while before we mostly had to worry about “just” PRISM and the Patriot Act, we now have CLOUD to deal with, as well. This bit of legislation will allow the alphabet agencies to retrieve information of U.S. citizens even if it is stored abroad, meaning you want to switch to a zero-knowledge service the moment it officially passes. We won’t even mention net neutrality.
Not that everything is perfect in Europe, however: many of the countries in the EU will, occasionally, disregard the rights to privacy in order to fight “terrorism.” However, those laws are nowhere near as far-reaching as the ones in the U.S. in terms of the power they provide to the intelligence agencies.
On top of that, EU laws on privacy are also getting an upgrade with something called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Initially proposed in January 2012, after four years of preparation it was finally approved on April 14, 2016. It comes into effect in May 2018.
The biggest change it brings is extended jurisdiction. The new regulation will apply to all companies that process the data of people that reside in the union, regardless of where that company is located. Also, it adds new rights like mandatory breach notification, the right to obtain people’s data, the right to be forgotten and privacy by design. Taken altogether, this may be a good time to start using European cloud services.
Best Cloud Storage for Europe: Tresorit
The definite champion in this category, Tresorit offers a great service. By that we mean Tresorit has excellent security and is subject to privacy laws in both the Netherlands and Ireland. Good laws, but not as good as in Switzerland, where its headquarters are located.
The biggest advantage of Tresorit is that it’s one of the few, and best zero-knowledge cloud services. What that means is that you choose your password and set it without any knowledge of it being given to Tresorit, making it impossible for the company to hand your data over to anyone else. The downside is that if you forget your password, Tresorit can’t help you to retrieve it.
How to Set Up a Strong Password
Tresorit also provides AES-256 encryption. The “256” simply means that the encryption key is 256 bits long. It’s estimated that it would take a billion years for a supercomputer to crack it.
The same thing can’t be said for passwords, as weak ones can be cracked easily by brute force. Tresorit has two-factor authentication to help with that, even if someone has your password, they will have to also enter a security code if they try to login from an unknown device. That security code is sent to your email or smartphone.
Tresorit also offers the best in data center security: they are compliant with the latest ISO standards and are run by Microsoft Azure. They employ surveillance, security patrols and biometric scanning. Even if there’s a breach, with zero-knowledge employed, it wouldn’t do thieves. It’s not Fort Knox, but it’s close.
Other Reasons Why We Like Tresorit
Linux support is also included, which is not something that’s common among cloud storage services, meaning Tresorit ranks high in our best cloud storage for Linux article. It also has great device synchronization, or sync, meaning that the same data can be accessed from various devices, with the changes made on one showing almost instantly on the other.
In order to synchronize files between devices, you create a “tresor,” (that’s German for “vault”), which is added to the special file system folder called “my tresors.” Any file placed in your tresor will be stored on your hard drive, as well on the cloud by default. Any change made to a file is also reflected in the cloud and all your devices in almost real-time.
Link sharing works great with Tresorit. Instead of just generating a link, you can protect it with a password, expiry date and download limits. If you don’t want to lose sight of them you can check what links you’ve created in the “links” view.
There is, however, also a downside to Tresorit: price. There are two individual plans. One priced at $12.50 for 200GB and another at $30.00 for 2TB. Both plans charge more than some other services, with less storage space to boot. Also, there’s no free plan.
- Secure file sharing
- Two-factor authentication
- Unimpressive sync speeds
Right behind Tresorit comes one of the oldest services in the cloud storage world. With a name that that sounds familiar to a lot of users, it’s not hard to see why some look no further than Dropbox.
Created in 2008, the service has had its ups and downs, the biggest down being one of the biggest thefts of data in 2012. However, Dropbox has taken numerous steps to ensure security since then: it has set many trends in both syncing and file sharing, which are still being perfected today.
Unlike with the personal Dropbox plan, Dropbox Business users can use servers located in Europe to host their data, so it got a spot on this list. Do note, however, that to stay ahead of the NSA you may want to use Boxcryptor to encrypt your files before sending them to the cloud. Read our Boxcryptor review for more on this handy service.
Enhanced security that we mentioned earlier comes in the form of 256-bit AES encryption, hardened data centers, 128-bit in-transit AES encryption, two-factor authentication and last but not least, you can also perform a remote wipe in case a synced device gets stolen.
Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox Business
Dropbox desktop application adds a special cloud-connected folder to the system. This “sync folder” acts as a cornerstone to the whole user experience.In addition, there’s also a web application which allows you to access your files.
Content navigation doesn’t leave you scratching your head, the menus are organized, the color scheme is easy to look at and drag-and-drop makes the experience more simple. It also works on a variety of platforms — Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. Regardless of which you use, the user experience of Dropbox is pretty fluid.
Dropbox invented the common model of synchronization in 2008, but it also leads the way today. That’s thanks to block-level file transfers, also known as differential sync. Instead of replacing the entire file, it replaces just the changed portions.
Dropbox Business has great folder and file-sharing features that are easy to use. You can also include expiry dates to terminate links and passwords to fine-tune your content control.
Not boasting the same security measures like Tresorit puts this service in second place. If that’s not your primary concern, Dropbox Business offers a 30-day free trial. If you want to know more, check out our in-depth Dropbox for Business review.
- Fast block-level sync
- Good file-sharing features
- User-friendly experience
- Limited reporting features
- No 24/7 live support
After the first two, filling the rear ranks comes more down to what’s available in Europe, not what’s best; we’ve put them up just the same. First up is Jottacloud, a privacy-oriented Norwegian backup and syncing platform. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
The headquarters are located in Norway, a country that has some of the best privacy laws in the world. It has a privacy guarantee which promises it won’t monitor the information you store. However, personal information and metadata are recorded and files aren’t encrypted at rest, only in transit. Jottacloud does at least have a two-factor authentication feature.
Other Reasons Why We Like Jottacloud
Jottacloud offers a free plan with 5GB of storage, and it also has an unlimited plan for $9.99. There’s also a great photo backup feature with a showy name, Jottacloud Photos. Backing up rare file types is not an issue for Jottacloud.
- Based in Norway
- Unlimited backup
- Free 5GB of storage
- Limited reporting features
- No 24/7 live support
Livedrive has gone through many changes over the years, but the biggest change is that its data centers moved to the UK. That has improved its quality significantly, and now the software is bursting with features.
It’s not a zero-knowledge service by any means, and that doesn’t help with clause 14. It states that Livedrive will look into your files and delete anything it has a “reasonable belief” that you don’t have the appropriate rights to.
Other Reasons Why We Like Livedrive
Customer service gives rapid responses to customer requests and it’s making an effort to provide quality service. There’s also a comprehensive FAQ list. Also, the cheapest pricing plan offers unlimited backup space.
- Unlimited backup space
- Offers reseller plans
- Strange terms & conditions
- Complex cancellation process
Our last pick is a service that comes from Sweden. As such it benefits from laws that help protect the privacy of data that’s hosted there. CloudMe was founded by Xcerion and was initially called iCloud. After Apple acquired the domain it split into CloudTop as the virtual cloud desktop and CloudMe for sync and file storage.
It comes with several different consumer pricing plans. The first three don’t offer much space, and they are expensive considering their value for money. The last two offer more but are even more expensive. The most expensive plan offers just 500GB for a price of 30 euro per month.
There’s a free plan which lets you try CloudMe. It offers 3GB of storage and a maximum file size of 150MB. CloudMe doesn’t offer encryption of any kind. There’s no chat option to reach support, either, only a forum that contains an FAQ section.
Other Reasons Why We Like CloudMe
We don’t like it. You should probably avoid this service.
- Based in Sweden
- Good web UI
- No encryption
- No dedicated tech support
With the U.S. data privacy landscape starting to resemble Orwell’s 1984, Europe is looking more and more like a safe haven for the storing of your data. Especially with the GDPR coming into effect in May 2018. There it is, our list of five, top choices, with Tresorit taking the lead, for cloud storage in Europe.
What’s your favorite cloud storage service based in Europe? What do you think about our choices? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.