Berlin - Always check to whom you might be entrusting your data before deciding to work with any cloud computer-storage service.
There's less risk of your information making its way into other hands if you opt for larger and more well-known providers, according to the German computer magazine c't. After all, smaller providers can quickly change hands when businesses are sold.
If data protection is important to you, then opt for a provider based in your home country, so the information can be safe from foreign security services.
C't notes that, for example, a US company's promises of security for German customers do not necessarily amount to much. In some cases, US authorities could still access the data.
The moral is that if your data is abroad, there's no telling what rules might apply.
A lot of storage providers offer to encrypt data, but that only protects it from hacker attacks. The storage manager can still access the information. So it is always best to encrypt data yourself before you upload it.
Even reliable providers cannot offer a 100-percent guarantee on data security, which is why they generally do not take on any liability, experts warn.
Plus, if disagreements or confusion arise - about bill payments, for example - clients could find their accounts blocked or their data deleted. That is why critical data should never be stored exclusively in the cloud.
Depending on the provider, up to 25 gigabytes of online storage might be available for free. There are some additional limitations on the maximum size of specific data files.
Many services use the WebDAV standard to integrate their product into a user's computer operating system. However, a little technical know-how is needed to make other systems work with your computer.
Many have also created apps to help people access their data via a mobile device while on the road. But there are variations in functions on offer: some do not allow music stored online to be played while on the move, for example. - Sapa-dpa