Mac users have the advantage of owning very high quality software that other platforms, such as Windows, often lack. But that doesn’t mean that Mac OS X is inherently secure, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Which why we’ve gone through the trouble of picking out five best cloud storage alternatives to iCloud.
Almost everyone with an Apple device uses iCloud without a second thought (it comes on every Mac device, of course it’s the obvious choice), though astute and conscious technology users, understand the security concerns of using iCloud. Within the last decade, the US government has been found to be tampering with data and coercing domestic firms into providing back-doors into their systems.
Given that Apple and the NSA have their fair share of problems, Mac users will be more secure if they opt for a service that provides extremely strong encryption – or even one that isn’t based in the US.
Mac software is proprietary. Though there are vendor neutral protocols that facilitate file sharing, Apple takes great measures to make data sharing super easy among Macs, but difficult between OS X and Windows or Linux.
Before online storage solutions became mainstream and affordable, Mac users really only had a few viable data sharing options, such as using flash drives (which are tedious) or NAS storage – which is only useful in LAN environments (unless the user hosts a file server).
Fortunately, cloud storage solutions will enable Mac users to share their data with any number of devices, anywhere in the world, without resorting to archaic file transfer methods.
In addition, users need to consider things from a security perspective. It has become industry standard for cloud storage providers to encrypt user data end-to-end, and the better ones leave encryption key management up to the customer.
While there are plenty of secure cloud storage solutions based in the US, many people distrust US-based information services because of the NSA.
When Mac users opt for domestic storage services, they run the risk of interference from the federal government.
The good news is, there are many cloud storage services that are based overseas, where the NSA doesn’t have a strong wiretapping and data collection infrastructure. With that understanding, let’s take a closer look at the five best online storage for Mac users.
Our number one pick, Sync.com, packs security, ease-of-use, speed and transparency into one irresistible bundle. Plus, it’s kinda cheap, works natively on OS X and it’s Canadian — like Deadpool!
Sync.com is our first pick for Mac users, and as anyone would expect from a competent cloud storage provider, they encrypt user data end-to-end. Thereby eliminating the chance that hackers or a government can intercept and read your data during its transit through the Internet.
In addition, Sync.com doesn’t manage encryption keys. This means that there is nothing their employees can do to decrypt data, once it’s stored on the company’s servers, providing extremely strong security.
Plus, the easy-to-use interface makes Sync.com a wonderful option for first time users, or people who love simplicity and security.
As a leader in the cloud storage industry, SugarSync is comparable to Sync in terms of service and features. Though limited to 90 days, they do offer 5GB of storage space for free and users have the ability to select any folder they wish to sync, with an unlimited number of devices.
Although, SugarSync’s security process is a little odd compared to other providers. As data leaves your computer to be stored on their servers, it is first encrypted with TLS (Transport Layer Security).
Then, once it reaches their network, SugarSync uses AES-256 encryption to protect the stored data. Unfortunately, SugarSync uses an auto-payment renewal system, that renews at normal rates, once the introductory offer is over.
The reigning champ of online storage and sharing, Dropbox also has a Mac version, which works as smoothly as anyone could imagine. However, its 2GB free plan and security breaches are something to keep in mind.
Dropbox is a simple, effective and very popular file hosting service. The king of cloud storage, one could say. In addition to providing 2GB of free data (which we think is pretty miserly) to anyone who signs up, they also have a file synchronization feature.
Syncing uses the parent folder concept and any files deposited into that folder, are automatically synced to other devices that share access to the cloud folder – making it a snap to share data across any number of devices.
However, Dropbox has had security issues in the past, major ones in fact and it is a US based company, which retains all its customers’ encryption keys. But, its storage and sharing features are second to none. Not to mention, iOS and OS X support is absolutely great.
pCloud carries the dual distinction of being extremely easy-to-use and favorably priced. Not only does pCloud provide up to 20GB of storage absolutely free, but they also provide an entire terabyte of data storage for just $3.99 per month.
The pricing scheme (despite being cheap) is rather confusing. Making them an extremely attractive, low cost prospect, that provides immense value.
Unfortunately, the file sharing & syncing features could do with some extra polish and further fine tuning, while pCloud’s pricing system should be more clearly defined. As a whole package, pCloud’s a great option for Mac users on budget.
SpiderOak changed up their service in 2015 and now have several different plans. Ranging from $7.00 per month for 30GB of storage–all the way up to $25.00 per month for a staggering 5TB of storage.
And for those who consider themselves security nuts, you’ll be pleased to know the company’s employees won’t have any access to your files, once they are stored on SpiderOak’s servers.
Thanks mainly to zero-knowledge security. Which works by ascertaining a fact is true between verifiers A and B, without the need to reveal how verifier A came by that verification. Small word of caution, SpiderOak is an American company, though they are very pro privacy and stand by their zero-knowledge services.
Mainly due to NSA scandals, people aren’t very trusting of Apple’s iCloud service.
Mac users need to take:
Very seriously. The key benefit on online storage, is of course data retention, in the case of an accident. Mac users can also look forward to freeing up HDD space, accessing files from any Internet-enabled location and securing their data.
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Which is why Sync.com is easily one of the best providers in terms of not only security, but also usability, features and pricing. However, everyone has unique needs and goals, which is why our remaining four contenders are definitely worth a serious look.
Don’t forget to share any comments or thoughts you may have! Thanks for reading.