Computer file storage
November 17, 2021 4:31 PM   Subscribe

In my last question, I asked about computer back up. Not totally sure that that is what I'm looking for. I think I want a dropbox-like service, only in my previous question, a bunch of people said that Dropbox is a bad idea, I think for security reasons? So... what service should I get so I can store my files in someone's cloud I guess?

I want to be able to open them from a folder in finder (I have a mac), and have it back up my files. I don't think I want a full back up.
posted by azalea_chant to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a Mac, why not iCloud?
posted by jzb at 4:36 PM on November 17, 2021

Because there seemed to be confusion on the last question, can you be more specific about the actual problem you are trying to solve?

For example:
  1. If you lose your computer or something happens to it, you still have your files
  2. If you accidentally delete or mess up a file, you can get an old version of it back
  3. You want to access the files from multiple computers or devices and have them stay in sync
  4. You want to collaborate with other people by sharing files with them (either sending files to them or receiving files from them
  5. You want to save space on your device by storing files elsewhere without taking up space on your hard drive
  6. Something else?
Each of these will lead to different options. Just saying "backup" or "cloud storage" doesn't really give us enough information.
posted by primethyme at 4:38 PM on November 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: From what I understand, iCloud is not super accessible across platforms. I'd like whatever I get to be something I could easily load up on a new computer that isn't a mac if that's what I replaced this with. (Commenting because that feels like new information for people answering, not trying to threadsit)
posted by azalea_chant at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2021

Response by poster: Primethyme, I want mostly 1. 2 and 3 sound good too. I don't think any of the others matter to me.
posted by azalea_chant at 4:40 PM on November 17, 2021

I use Backblaze for personal backups. It's $7/month.
posted by kingless at 4:58 PM on November 17, 2021

Best answer: Anything you store in the cloud is going to be data-mined in some way, though you can opt out of the most transparent of it. There is no real privacy. Dropbox has a checkered past because they were really the first to try cloud storage at scale and got to learn all the hard lessons first.

I'm fine with my experience using them for many years, but I'm mostly just saying don't rule them out because of vulnerabilities that are going to exist with any provider. If that service otherwise meets your needs where others don't, go with them.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:05 PM on November 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've used iCloud to share files between 1 mac, 1 iPhone, and 1 Windows PC (via the website). It's a good option if you're primarily in the apple ecosystem. On OSX it's really easy, there's certain folders that get synced and you can work on files in them as usual. On windows it was a bit clunky as I had to download the file, work on it, then upload it back to iCloud. Dropbox has also been straightforward and I'd use it if I had to share files between mac and windows frequently.
posted by hermanubis at 5:34 PM on November 17, 2021

Best answer: Anything you store in the cloud is going to be data-mined in some way

I don't think this is entirely true; a bunch of backup providers have what's variously called end-to-end encryption or zero/no knowledge encryption. With this kind of backup system you can keep the provider from having access even to file metadata, let alone content. One reason dropbox gets complaints is exactly that it isn't end-to-end encrypted (and I actually suspect it would be a much worse user experience for many Dropbox features if it were). But there are many that are, especially in backup-focused providers, e.g. iDrive, Backblaze, SpiderOak One, etc.

Personally I use both Dropbox and SpiderOak, for different purposes (as well as google drive, icloud, and sharepoint, sigh), and my wife uses backblaze. If you're just backing up one computer and don't want cloud features, of the ones I know about, I would second the Backblaze recommendation. I'm utterly dependent on Dropbox and would recommend it for many things but I don't think it's a good actual backup solution.
posted by advil at 5:37 PM on November 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: To clarify, I'm not interested in back up suggestions, I asked a question about that earlier and got a lot of backblaze suggestions, I'm looking for Dropbox-like services. If a back up service also has a dropbox-like thing, feel free to suggest it, but I'm interested in file focused things.
posted by azalea_chant at 5:41 PM on November 17, 2021

Best answer: Millions of people use Dropbox. It's a fine solution.
posted by flimflam at 6:14 PM on November 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

FWIW "I want mostly 1. 2 and 3 sound good too" indicates backup, not primarily cloud sync, where cloud sync is what "dropbox-like" means to me. If cloud sync (aka 3 in primethyme's answer) isn't what "dropbox-like" means to you, I think it would be helpful to further spell out what you actually want, maybe with a concrete example or use case. You can't really do cloud sync well while doing 1/2 well, for reasons explained already in the last thread. (Basically, instant syncing makes it too easy for old versions to get lost, or for the cloud side to get wiped. There's lots of discussion of this out there, but backblaze's itself is pretty good. One worst case scenario is a ransomware one, which can trivially wipe your synced data.)

If I'm going to recommend a "dropbox-like", for me it's just dropbox, there's no competitor, and I've made my peace with the lack of end-to-end encryption. Have you tried to set up something like what you want with the free tier?
posted by advil at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

iCloud is a good service if you have a Mac, and is easily accessible in Windows via the website (I can even get to it on my employer's network). There is a Windows iCloud app which gives access to files, but I'm unsure about file syncing on Windows.

As an Apple owner, I prefer iCloud to Dropbox, because paying for iCloud gives me many other services. I was a paying Dropbox customer for many years, but have found the Dropbox app on M1 Mac to be too resource-intensive for my liking.
posted by lhauser at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2021

Cloud sync with file versioning solves the problem advil is pointing out.

SpiderOak has it, as well as no-knowledge encryption. It's what I use; it's saved my happy butt on multiple occasions, and I feel safe from Da Man riffling through my files.
posted by humbug at 5:29 AM on November 18, 2021

Dropbox also has file versioning, according to this help page.

From a very quick Google it looks like on iCloud it’s up to individual apps to implement file versioning.

It sounds to me like Dropbox would be fine for you,
posted by fabius at 5:41 AM on November 18, 2021

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