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Cloud Storage Security: How Secure Is Data Stored in The Cloud?

Jao Gavino
May 25, 2024


You may have heard that the cloud is a convenient way to store and back up data.


Thing is – you may have also heard how hackers have used the cloud to hack various devices – including home security cameras.


With hacking incidents like this, you can’t help but wonder: “Just how secure is my data stored in the cloud?” If a company as massive as Facebook can get hacked, how much of a chance does an average Joe like you stand?


In this article, we’ll answer these questions and help you solve your security-related worries by providing you with four of the most secure and trustworthy cloud storage providers that we’ve found!



What Is the Cloud?


Cloud interconnecting with other devices

Think of the cloud as an interconnected network of computers and other devices.


The cloud is basically a network of computers that do a bunch of things for you, such as storing your data, hosting your website, or analyzing massive piles of data. Storage-wise, it’s a great way to save space on your computer and be able to access important files from anywhere.


However, this also means that your data is stored on someone else’s server or computer, which brings us to our next issue:



So, How Secure Is the Cloud?


First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, if something is connected to the Internet, it can be hacked.


Now, before you start running around your home, unplugging your devices, and throwing your router out the window, let’s get another thing out of the way: just because something can be hacked, doesn’t mean that it will be hacked.


For example, if you’re following the basic standard for passwords—that is, using uppercase and lowercase letters as well as symbols and numbers—and you’re using a password that’s, say, 12 characters long, it’d take hackers 3,000 years to brute-force their way to guessing your password—and I don’t think anybody’s going to wait that long just to hack your email.


chart shows how long it’ll take hackers to breach various kinds of passwords

This chart from Hive Systems shows how long it’ll take hackers to breach various kinds of passwords. (Credit: Hive Systems)


Most of the time, security is about deterring people rather than outright defending against an attack. If a hacker thinks that breaking into your cloud storage platform is more trouble than it’s worth, then they’ll probably just go away and look for an easier target.


You should also think about your local security. Your own computer is connected to the internet, and it is just as vulnerable: hard drives can break, files can get corrupted, and malware can find its way into your system even through innocent-looking PDF files.


As such, storing your files on the cloud is generally safer than storing them on your own PC. What’s more, having backups of your most important files online lets you get your career or business back up and running almost instantly when disaster strikes.


However, not all storage solutions are created equal: cloud providers have been hacked before, and you should keep this in mind when choosing a cloud storage service. Although most cloud services are generally secure, they’re not 100% so, and you should look for a service that offers plenty of security features to discourage any would-be attackers.



What to Look for When Choosing a Cloud Storage Service


When choosing a cloud storage service, look for providers that are transparent about their security practices as well as those that offer strong encryption and privacy guarantees.


These are the basics that make up a decent cloud storage provider. If they can’t even guarantee the encryption of your files, why bother?


However, there are other factors that you also need to consider when picking a cloud storage service, such as the following:


1. How secure is their encryption?


security lock with encryption

The type of encryption used is a pretty big factor to consider when choosing a cloud storage provider.


We’ve already mentioned that encryption is one of the most basic features that a cloud storage provider should have. However, we should also mention that there are different types of encryption.


For example, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) means that one of the decryption keys for your files is stored on your device. This means that even if hackers breach the server hosting your files, they won’t be able to decrypt them without having access to the decryption keys that are on your device.


You may have heard of Dropbox and Google Drive—they’re two of the most popular cloud storage services, after all. Here’s the thing, though: they encrypt files in transit and at rest on their servers, but they do not use end-to-end encryption.


Both of them control your decryption keys fully, which means that if a hacker breaks into their servers and steals these keys, they can access and decrypt your files.


As such, you should look into not only if your files are encrypted but also what type of encryption a storage provider is using. E2EE is a strong form of encryption that requires hackers to also gain control of your own decryption key to access your files.


2. Where are their servers located?


storage service from different location around the globe

Your storage service’s location is just as important as what encryption they use.


You may be wondering why this is a factor when choosing a cloud storage platform. Why would the location matter? It’s not like you’re playing a video game where ping is essential.


Location matters for cloud storage because the location determines the laws that apply to your storage provider. For example, the US is pretty notorious for its mass-surveillance laws, so it’s not really a good pick, especially for a privacy- and security-minded individual.


Switzerland, on the other hand, stands as a world leader in privacy, having three major laws—Article 13 of the Swiss Constitution, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Federal Act on Data Protection (DPA)—that protect people’s personal data.


Signing up with a Switzerland-based cloud storage provider, therefore, comes with all of these protections, ensuring that all of the data that you store online are safe from any prying eyes.


3. Has the cloud storage provider been hacked?


pCloud cryto hacking challenge

Switzerland-based pCloud even challenges hackers to crack its client-side encryption for $100,000. None have succeeded. (Credit: pCloud)


Although this may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at just how many companies have already been hacked and still continue to operate.


Given this, you should at least try to check via a quick online search if the cloud storage provider you’ve been eyeing is truly as secure as they say. A spotless record is a pretty good sign of a reliable and secure cloud storage service.



The Most Secure Cloud Storage Providers to Consider


With all of these considerations, and with so many options, you may be hard-pressed to find a cloud storage provider that’s safe, secure, and affordable. Luckily, you don’t have to—we’ve tested and reviewed multiple cloud storage servicers, and here are the most secure ones that


1. Internxt


Internxt homepage


Internxt (pronounced: Inter-Next) is a fantastic cloud storage that we reviewed quite recently. Its privacy and security features are outstanding. Plans start from $0.89/month for 20GB.


That makes Internxt stand out is its obsession with protecting user data, even from Internxt itself! They practice a ‘zero-trust policy’ where your passphrase is stored on your client, not on their server. One unique security feature of Internxt is their use of file sharding, where data is broken down into shards and scattered across multiple servers in decentralized storage locations.


Plus, Internxt is open source, allowing anyone to check their source code for any security issues.


Internxt also commissioned a security audit by Securitum, a leading European security company. They use AES-256 encryption and blockchain to monitor data movement and transactions for tampering attempts. Overall, Internxt’s emphasis on privacy, transparency, and user control sets them apart as a secure cloud storage option!


2. pCloud


pCloud homepage

pCloud is a highly secure cloud storage solution with a pretty unique pricing option.


On the other hand, pCloud (starts at $49.99 per year for 500 GB of storage) is another incredibly secure option to meet your cloud storage needs. They’re based in Switzerland, and that comes with all of the data privacy goodness that being a Swiss company brings—there’ll be no government snooping here!


pCloud is also very easy to set up and is highly versatile, boasting file syncing and virtual drive features as well as storing your files on 3 different servers, ensuring that even if a server (or two) goes down, you’ll still be able to access your precious files.


On the security front, pCloud has never been hacked (see the pCloud challenge infographic that we have in the previous section), and they offer a client-side encryption service (pCloud Crypto, which is an additional $49.99 a year or a lifetime payment of $150) that encrypts your files before they’re uploaded, ensuring that no one other than you can access your data.


What’s more, pCloud also has a unique lifetime pricing option. By paying a one-time fee of $199, they’ll give you 500 gigabytes of expandable cloud storage. If you’re looking for a long-term, highly secure option for cloud storage, look no further than pCloud.


3. homepage

Sync is one of the most secure cloud storage services that we’ve reviewed. (free, paid option starts at $8 per month for 2 terabytes of storage) is one of the most user-friendly and secure cloud storage services that we’ve found. Sync has a free option that provides 5 gigabytes of cloud storage, which includes a hefty suite of security and privacy features.


Sync also has a zero-knowledge privacy policy and ensures that it meets very strict privacy laws, such as HIPAA, Canada’s PIPEDA and PHIPA, and even the European GDPR, safeguarding the privacy of your data from any prying government agents.


What’s more, all of the files that you upload to Sync’s servers are protected by E2EE and 256-bit AES encryption. The decryption key will be available only to you, ensuring that not even Sync knows what your encrypted files contain.


If security and privacy are your chief concerns when it comes to storing your files on the cloud, then is our top pick for you!


4. Backblaze


Backblaze homepage

Backblaze offers unlimited storage for a very affordable price.


Backblaze ($7 per month) stands out from the competition by offering its own unique cloud storage feature—unlimited storage! For a flat rate of $7, Backblaze will automatically back up the files on your computer, including your documents, photos, music, movies, and more.


All of the files that you upload will be encrypted by Backblaze, with the encryption keys kept by Backblaze themselves. However, you can also add your own private encryption key for free, ensuring that you are the only person who can access your files.


If you’re a bit of a hoarder when it comes to your files, then Backblaze might be the best option for your cloud storage needs.


If none of these options tickle your fancy or if you’d like to read our more in-depth reviews of them, then check out our guide on best cloud storage platforms!



Don’t Cloud Your Judgment!


The cloud is a great place to store your data. You can access it from anywhere, and it’s accessible from any device with internet access. But this convenience comes with some risks—such as cyberattacks, database hacks, or even rogue employees.


However, with our handy guide and the right cloud storage service (alongside things like end-to-end encryption), you’ll greatly diminish these risks, ensuring that your data is not only secure but also safe in the cloud!