We are increasingly using cloud storage in our businesses and personal lives because of how convenient it is. When we upload sensitive documents to the cloud, it’s important that the companies we entrust with them are taking steps to keep them safe.
If you know nothing about this topic, you might want to brush up on your cloud storage security basics. In this article, we’re going to evaluate four of the most secure cloud storage services, so that you can find the one that best meets your security needs.
While we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty in the overview below, you should know that our picks use zero-knowledge encryption, which means they use a key known only to you to encrypt your data before sending it and store it on their servers in that state.
With zero-knowledge encryption, the company, or any unauthorized parties that intercept your data, won’t be able to make sense of it. That alone is the best security feature a cloud storage system could have and we’re bringing you four that meet that high bar.
Sync.com is our overall favorite among cloud storage systems. If you want to read more about its pricing and non-security features, be sure to check out our Sync.com review.
As for security, Sync.com is a clear front-runner. In addition to being zero-knowledge, it encrypts your files using AES 256-bit, which is one of the strongest encryption protocols, so no one can read your files unless they have your key, which you should keep safe.
Sync says it doesn’t collect, sell or share your data or try to claim ownership of it, which gives you the peace of mind that your data won’t fall into the wrong hands.
It also has two-factor authentication, which can either send an email every time you log in or send you a text message via the Google Authenticator mobile app. It also has staged user permissions, so you can give different users in a large organization different access rights, protecting important files from accidents and malice.
pCloud approaches security differently than many companies. Instead of encrypting all files before sending them to their server, pCloud asks you to distinguish between those that should be encrypted and those that shouldn’t. There are situations in which you wouldn’t want your files to be encrypted, such as when you’re uploading pictures you might want to browse later.
While that may seem like a downside, pCloud goes a step further in protecting your files locally. If you designate a file “confidential” by moving it into the pCloud Crypto folder, it will be encrypted locally and when moved to pCloud’s servers. Note that Crypto costs extra, though, as we detail in our pCloud review.
pCloud allows you to lock your encrypted files locally, which is good if you have to share your computer. It also protects those files if your computer is lost or stolen. The files are only unencrypted when you enter your key and you can easily lock them by clicking a button.
The service doesn’t have two-factor authentication, but it has promised to add it in the future. If you think pCloud might be the one for you, there is a free 5GB plan. It’s also our best cloud storage for Linux, so we recommend Team Penguin members check it out as few other services work as well.
When it comes to security, Tresorit is one of the better cloud services for businesses. It comes with zero-knowledge encryption but has far more options for businesses to control who gets access to each file than the other services on this list. It also has two-factor authentication, which can send a secure message via Google Authenticator, text message, phone call or email.
With a business account, you can create policy templates for groups of users. Each can have different rules, so you can give them different levels of security.
Secure features include IP filtering, an allowed devices list, which restricts access to certain computers, timeout policies, which log out inactive users and sharing policies, which restricts a user’s ability to share files.
You can also easily and remotely revoke access from users and reset their passwords, keeping your data secure despite human error. If you want to learn more, check out our full Tresorit review.
SpiderOak is another good option for those who value security. It’s a zero-knowledge service, but, unlike other companies, it doesn’t store metadata about your files on its servers. Instead, it keeps it on your computer. If you use SpiderOak on another computer, the metadata will be encrypted before it travels to the new one, which keeps it safe and out of bad actors’ hands.
Like Tresorit, SpiderOak offers granular control over user groups through its excellent management console. That said, where SpiderOak sets itself apart is its local options. If you’re a business, you can get access to SpiderOak’s capability, but maintain control of the physical server by hosting it at your offices or another location you own.
One big downside is that it doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, but it’s supposedly working on it. SpiderOak’s security is targeted more toward businesses than individuals, but if it piqued your interest, you should read our full SpiderOak ONE review.
While all our picks do much to keep your data safe, Sync.com is the winner. Its great data privacy rules, easy two-factor authentication and advanced settings for user permissions make it the most well-rounded system for individual use. While most zero-knowledge systems should keep your data safe, Sync.com gives you confidence that it is every step of the way.
If you’re looking for a great corporate program, Tresorit may be your best bet due to its extensive user groups and policy options.
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SpiderOak is another good choice if you want a cloud storage system’s functionality, but on a local server. It’s a bit tricky to use, though, so check out our SpiderOak ONE guide to get started.
All four services have the essential features necessary to keep your data safe. While important, security isn’t the only thing you should consider when investing in a cloud storage system. We encourage you to read our full reviews before you buy and even check out some more if you didn’t see anything you liked.
If you have questions about cloud storage security, leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.