As we become more aware of how much of our personal info is floating around on the Internet, the desire for data privacy steadily rises. You may not be aware that Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and iCloud get a copy of your account's encryption keys, which can be compromised without your knowledge and transmitted without your consent. If you want cloud storage encryption that only you can decrypt, SpiderOak One is one increasingly popular option.
Truly private encryption: SpiderOak One uses a system where only the customer has the keys to decrypt the files in his or her account. The secure cloud storage industry has started to call this end-to-end (E2E) encryption. SpiderOak calls it "no-knowledge privacy." From the pipeline that starts at your device and ends at your account in the cloud, no one else can peek inside, not even SpiderOak personnel. There are no outside keys that can be stolen, sold, traded, or lost, then used without your knowledge or consent. Of course, if you lose your account password, the flip side of E2E encryption is that SpiderOak cannot reset it for you, so it hasn't been widely embraced despite the much higher level of privacy that it affords.
You will not find this feature offered in Google Drive, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, or most other cloud storage services, unless specifically stated otherwise.
Reasonable prices: If you just need particularly locked-down cloud storage to stash some files, SpiderOak offers 150GB for $5 a month or $59 a year. It's not as cheap as Google Drive's 100GB for $2 a month, but Google doesn't offer E2E. Prices start getting more favorable as you scale up; 400GB is $9 a month or $100 a year, 2TB (2,048GB) is $12 a month or $129 a year, and you can get 5TB for $25 a month or $279 a year. For reference, Google offers 1TB for $10 a month, then it jumps to 10TB for $100 a month. And it does not offer annual payment plans. Microsoft OneDrive, the closest large-scale competitor to these two, offers 1TB for $7 a month or $70 a year. So it's a good value on a capacity basis -- and you get a subscription to Office 365 thrown into the bargain -- but it doesn't have E2E, either.
Smooth integration into Windows: If you don't like SpiderOak's desktop app, you don't need to deal with it all the time. Once it's installed, you can simply right-click on a file, folder, or even an entire drive, and one of your options will be to back it up to your SpiderOak cloud storage directly. When you're on the go, SpiderOak has an app for both Android and for iOS. You can also access your storage via a web browser.
Solid customer support tools: It's not the most exciting bullet point, but when you're handling encrypted systems that may contain sensitive data, you want to make sure that you understand the features of the service and its apps, and SpiderOak's online support docs cover just about every conceivable question -- in plain English.
Unfortunately, actually contacting support is not as impressive. You just get a contact form where you enter your email, a subject, a description of the problem, and the option to attach files, and you'll get a response that reads: "A member of our support staff will respond as soon as possible." So we would reserve SpiderOak for more advanced users, because you may not be able to get timely assistance.
But to be fair, a contact form is actually better than what you'll get from Google, whose Drive customers are told to go talk about it on an Internet forum, in what is commonly called "community-based support." You basically ask your question and hope that another visitor can answer it, which will happen somewhere between a few minutes and never. So at least SpiderOak makes a commitment in writing to helping you, themselves.
The desktop app could provide more info about uploads and downloads: When you're moving one or more GB of files, you probably want to know how fast the transfer is going and when you should expect it to be finished. Unfortunately, the SpiderOak app doesn't provide this info. It will tell you how many GBs you're moving and how many files are involved, but it won't tell you about speed or completion time.
You can set up a third-party app to monitor how fast you're moving files between your PC and the Internet, but it won't give you completion estimations for specific files; such apps are designed to tell you your connection speed and how much total data you've moved back and forth in a given time frame. It's not a big deal if you're using a desktop PC with a dedicated Internet connection, but laptop users on Wi-Fi may want to look elsewhere.
SpiderOak has been around for over a decade, without any scandals. Edward Snowden himself recommended the service in 2014. The desktop app could use a few tweaks, but the underlying tech is good at the fundamentals of digital privacy, and the price is right.
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