View of an open laptop. The screen reads, "What makes the best cloud provider?"

Cloud storage in comparison - "Best Cloud Provider" vs. privacy?

On websites and in search engine results there is always talk of "Best Cloud Provider in Comparison". But what makes the "best cloud provider" actually? Is it the big companies that scream the loudest and have large advertising budgets? Or is it perhaps worth taking a closer look at the functions and other aspects of a cloud? Often we let ourselves be manipulated unconsciously by the search engine results and various comparison platforms and the displayed results are quickly perceived as the best option.

On websites and in search engine results there is always talk of "Best Cloud Provider in Comparison" or "The 10 Best Cloud Providers". But what actually makes the "best Cloud Provider"? Is it the big companies that scream the loudest and have large marketing budgets? Or is it perhaps worth taking a closer look at the features and other aspects of a cloud?

Often we let ourselves be manipulated unconsciously by the search engine results and various comparison platforms and the results displayed are quickly perceived as the best option. Sounds logical in principle: Whoever is big must have many customers and whoever has many customers must be good. Superficially this may be true. However, it is often forgotten that, in addition to quality, marketing and price also play a decisive role in the mass effect. And so one quickly loses focus and only looks at the price and visibility on the net and becomes an unreflected customer of Primark among the cloud providers.

But while with cheap clothing we quickly notice if the quality is poor because the fabric warps, washes out or simply breaks quickly, the quality features of a cloud are not so obvious. After all, every provider advertises with high security and great features. So how can you tell whether a cloud can really deliver what the advertising promises or, in the worst case, whether you can expect data loss or even legal action?

How good are cloud storage advisors?

Search for "Cloud Provider" yourself. Like us, you will probably also find comparison platforms that compare various cloud providers, which is not bad in principle. The range of cloud solutions on the Internet is huge and you quickly lose track. So in order to sound out the market, you can definitely take a look at these platforms. Above all, the prices are of course easy to compare. But when it comes to the finer points, i.e. the nature of the cloud and its features, you should first of all ask yourself what the cloud must be able to do for use in your own company.

After all, every person and every company has defined their own individual requirements and rules for handling data. If your company does not have a policy for handling your data, employees may use tools that allow them to share sensitive information. Without knowing it, you lose control over your data.

Worse, the provider itself could also gain access to your data without your knowledge by using backdoors in the fine print or code. And if you think that well-known providers like GoogleDrive, DropBox, OneDrive & Co. can't afford such pitfalls, you should take a look at the Tech-News more often... You will be surprised what is possible if you don't disclose your source code. You still do not believe us? Then ask yourself why these services are so extremely cheap, if not free.

A product or service always costs you something - if no money, then it’s your data!

A gray safety lock lies on a dark background - a circuit board

How do you recognize secure cloud storage?

Especially at present, more and more avoidable secure cloud providers are jumping on the bandwagon of large-scale digitization and presenting themselves on the net. How secure they actually are is something we learn in the contract processing agreements or, in the worst case, through the press.

Implementing a cloud solution in your company is a not insignificant step towards digitalization and as a "cloud novice" it is often difficult to get an overview of the security standards of all cloud providers and to find out the essential aspects. To make your search easier, we have compiled the most important criteria for selecting your cloud provider for you.

Data security

Cybercrime is on the rise, government surveillance programs fill the headlines and data monetization is taken for granted. The risk of losing sight of access to their sensitive corporate data is greater than ever. All cloud providers claim to be secure and advertise their encryption. However, the fact that encryption alone is not enough and which security measures are taken exactly is largely concealed.

We have listed the most important security aspects for you. If you do not have them, you should not call yourself a secure cloud!

  • Encryption

    The DSGVO now requires a minimum level of data protection and data security in the EU - such as transport encryption.

    However, anyone who processes personal data should not be satisfied with the minimum level of security! In order to create an almost unbreakable encryption, client-side and server-side encryption on the part of the cloud provider are elementary.

  • Zero-Knowledge Cloud principle

    Data espionage can be excluded by the Zero Knowledge Cloud principle. Passwords with which you access client-side encrypted data are not stored on the server and thus exclude data access by cloud providers.

  • Server location Germany

    To comply with German data protection regulations and laws, the provider of your cloud storage should process your data exclusively in Germany or Europe. If data is stored on servers, e.g. in the USA, the laws there also apply, which often offer much less protection against abuse than the DSGVO does in Europe.

  • Own server infrastructure

    It should be logical, but is often overlooked: Only those who host their server infrastructure themselves and have sole access can guarantee that no one else can gain physical access to your data. Providers who only rent their servers themselves also place the responsibility for availability in other hands - and can never guarantee to keep their promises of high availability.

  • Use of Open Source Software

    As mentioned at the beginning, many cloud providers tend to build "backdoors" in the code, in IT jargon, to grab data that can be sold. Only if your cloud provider discloses its code and all implemented tools are "open source", you can be sure that there is nothing to hide!

Next to a filled coffee cup lies a notepad with a list of cloud storage must-haves

What features should my cloud have?

So much for the security aspects. But while data security at best simply runs in the background and doesn't affect it in everyday life, it's the features and general handling that influence your workflows. So before you decide on cloud storage, you should consider how you want to use it.

To determine which features are important to you, ask yourself the following questions:

1. do you need to share files (e.g. in a team or with customers)?

If you work collaboratively in a team, features such as the creation of up- and download links, an online office editor and file versioning can make collaboration much easier.

2. how much control do you need over folders and documents you are working on together?

If you want to maintain full control over your folders and files, it is helpful to be able to assign specific permissions or roles to selected users and specific permissions rules to entire groups.

If you work with up- and download links, it makes sense if they can be limited and password protected by you, either by time or by the number of downloads.

3. would you like to work in the cloud as a larger team or company?

For larger groups, a detailed overview of data accesses and changes is recommended - so-called audit logs. As a cloud administrator or data manager it is helpful to be able to view important statistics such as logs and the change history of documents and folders. The use of an admin dashboard is ideal for this purpose. You should also be able to create and manage different groups and set different permissions. For example, it can be helpful to create one group per department or area of responsibility and manage it with the respective members and their responsibilities accordingly.

Some, few cloud providers also offer a groupware solution in addition to cloud storage. If this is the case with your favorite provider, you should consider using everything from one source. In this way, you make it easier for your company to take the step into digitalisation and can be sure that the systems used interlock without any problems. In some cases (e.g. if your company has several locations) a hybrid cloud or multi cloud strategy might even be recommendable. Our technical support team will be happy to advise you on this - without obligation and free of charge.

4. do you want to rent a lot of storage space right from the start, in case you need it at some point?

Nobody knows for sure where he or the company will be in one or five years. Therefore, when choosing your cloud solution, you should pay attention to a flexible tariff adjustment. If your business grows, you should be able to book more storage or user licenses immediately, not next month. And if things don't go as well as expected, the "pay-what-you-use" principle helps you to react quickly and save costs when things get tight.

5. do you need your own dedicated server?

For most smaller companies and private customers the answer here will certainly be no. However, a dedicated server makes sense if a company has a lot of data traffic and cannot or does not want to accept delays. The biggest advantage of a dedicated, i.e. exclusively used server is that no data traffic is consumed by other cloud users and the main memory can be individually adapted and expanded for use. Dedicated servers are mostly in demand by large corporations and companies with particularly sensitive data.

6. would you like to use a private cloud with your own branding?

Another point that is irrelevant for private use, but can already be worthwhile for smaller companies, is the use of a private cloud with the individual design of the company. A good cloud provider should offer this service.

7. can you set up your cloud environment yourself or do you need professional help?

For many users, the cloud and setting it up in the corporate environment is a completely new area. In order not to get bogged down in technical details, you should be aware of whether you need professional help from your cloud provider to set it up and to what extent you can get it.

So who is the best cloud provider?

From a serious point of view, it is of course not possible to give a general answer to this question. Only you can decide who is the best provider for you and your company. If you are primarily looking for a cheap provider and do not process any sensitive data, then there is certainly nothing to be said against one of the solutions from the well-known tech giants. If you only use your cloud privately for your photo collection, the best features won't help you. So, to find the cloud solution that's right for you, define your needs and then look for a provider that covers everything you need.

If you need further assistance in making your decision, please feel free to contact our support team! We will be happy to advise you without obligation and individually according to your application.

Autor: Julia Munsch

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