Five disadvantages of cloud storage and how to mitigate them

Cloud drives are highly useful but not without risks. Learn about the main disadvantages of cloud storage and how the right provider can minimize them.
Cloud threats.
Cloud storage is a convenient and effective way to collaborate online and prevent data loss in case of severe damage to your devices. Its widespread use makes it virtually unavoidable in a modern business setting, and a growing number of personal users have chosen it over physical hard drives.Despite its many advantages, cloud storage comes with certain risks and drawbacks. Familiarizing yourself with them can help you get the most out of this technology and keep your files safe.This guide will outline the main disadvantages of cloud storage and suggest the best ways to overcome each. You will also learn how the right provider can proactively eliminate the biggest risks to let you enjoy the many benefits of cloud drives.
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What are the disadvantages of cloud storage?

By storing or backing up your files on a cloud drive, you’re outsourcing much of the responsibility over them to a third party. The main drawbacks of doing so include:
  1. Accessibility risks
  2. Reduced control
  3. Vendor lock-in
  4. Potential cost inefficiencies
  5. Security concerns
The good news is that most of these issues are avoidable, as explained in the below breakdowns of each.

Accessibility depends on several factors

Accessing a hard drive is as simple as plugging it into your device. The process is equally straightforward with cloud storage, as all you have to do is open the browser or the dedicated app. Still, there’s a higher risk of your files being unavailable when you need them.This can happen for various reasons:
  • No internet connection—Some cloud solutions support offline access, but you can’t modify the files or upload new data without a network connection
  • Platform malfunction or maintenance—Any app bug can impair file accessibility and cause downtime
  • Server failure—If a provider’s server is damaged, you may not be able to access your files until it’s fixed
The best way to avoid accessibility issues is to choose a service with excellent redundancy. This is the practice of storing user data across multiple servers in different locations to make it available during server damage or maintenance. Better redundancy means a lower chance and duration of downtime, and most cloud providers take the necessary steps to ensure it.

Reduced control over cloud setup and data management

Each cloud provider has specific policies you must adhere to when using their service, so you have little to no influence on the setup and implementation. This might not be an issue for most personal users, but it affects businesses with strict data governance practices.Take compliance as an example. Some countries implement stringent data protection regulations like HIPAA and GDPR, so your options are narrowed down to compliant platforms. It doesn’t matter if a non-compliant provider suits all your other needs, as you can’t change or negotiate their data policies.Luckily, the number of cloud providers has been growing in the past years, so there’s an option for virtually all users and their requirements. Make sure to read the fine print when choosing a service, and see if they check the obligatory boxes before reviewing the features.

The complications of vendor lock-in

Once you commit to a cloud service and upload numerous files, switching to another provider might be a significant challenge. This is known as vendor lock-in and is a major concern to address before choosing a provider.This is another issue primarily affecting large organizations and businesses, but individual users can also encounter it if they store large amounts of data on the cloud.To eliminate this problem, some solutions like Skiff Drive offer convenient, one-click migration. Whether you’re moving from local storage or another cloud vendor, you can migrate all your data by selecting and transferring it immediately.
Source: Skiff Drive

Cost inefficiencies due to improper storage size

Cloud storage is typically flexible and scalable, as you get to start small and upgrade as needed. The problem is that many vendors undermine this benefit by requiring long-term fixed contracts.Choosing such services means you don’t get any more flexibility than you would with a hard drive. Unused storage space causes waste as you still have to pay for it (or have already paid through a significant one-off commitment).The best way around this is to either pick a PAYG (Pay as You Go) storage solution or one offering short-term subscriptions. It can be hard to assess your data needs and predict how they’ll evolve, so these two options let you tailor storage to your requirements.

Privacy and security risks—the main disadvantage of cloud storage

Data leakage or loss is the main cloud concern users have, which makes sense considering your files are stored in a remote virtual location. Servers and data centers are common targets of cyberattacks, so your provider must do everything possible to prevent them.This issue is particularly prevalent in Big Tech solutions like Microsoft’s OneDrive, which have suffered significant security breaches.Besides external threats, you must watch out for the way your provider treats user data. With companies like Google invading user privacy, it’s natural to be skeptical about entrusting sensitive files to a cloud provider.While you cannot do much about a service’s privacy policy or security measures, you can choose a trusted vendor who will keep your data hidden from everyone—including themselves.
Secure your files with Skiff DriveSkiff uses zero-knowledge authentication and optional IPFS integration for enhanced privacy
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The benefits of cloud storage managed by the right provider

You can avoid most disadvantages of online cloud storage by choosing the right vendor. They will ensure:
  • Unrestricted accessibility through proper redundancy
  • Compliance with the necessary regulations
  • The right amount of storage for your needs and budget
  • Complete transparency when it comes to user data management
Most importantly, the best cloud service will never put your data at risk or invade your privacy. They’ll ensure complete confidentiality by giving you full control and ownership of your files.This is done through various practices, most notably end-to-end encryption (E2EE). It encrypts data on your device before uploading to make it invisible to everyone but the decryption key holder.Big Tech providers typically don’t offer E2EE by default. They implement standard encryption using TLS or AES protocols, which differs from E2EE in two major security aspects:
  1. Encryption point
  2. Key ownership
The following table compares standard versus end-to-end encryption to explain why the latter is superior:
Security aspectStandard encryptionEnd-to-end encryption
Encryption pointFiles are encrypted on the provider’s server once uploadedAll data is encrypted on the user’s device and reaches the server in cipher form
Key ownerThe cloud providerThe user
With end-to-end encryption, only you get to decide who can see the contents of your files. Since the decryption key is stored on the user’s device, there’s no risk of it being stolen in case of a server breach. As long as you keep your trusted device secure, you retain full control of your data.If you need a privacy-first cloud service offering such high-level confidentiality, sign up for Skiff Drive.

Avoid common cloud storage cons and secure your files with Skiff Drive

Skiff Drive is an end-to-end encrypted storage space leveraging advanced cryptography to ensure complete privacy. Files are encrypted on your device, so the drive only stores ciphered data. This means that not even Skiff’s team can see the contents of your files or access the decryption keys.For added security, Skiff implements several effective measures:
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)—You can use the Authenticator app to enable 2FA and safeguard your account
  • Zero-knowledge login—Using the Secure Remote Password algorithm, Skiff lets users sign up without leaving any personal information
  • End-to-end link encryption—Your files are shared via secure links to prevent interceptions and data leaks

How Skiff Drive fixes the drawbacks of typical cloud solutions

Besides cutting-edge security, Skiff Drive offers numerous features to ensure every user can enjoy secure file storage:
  • Scalable storage—Skiff Drive comes with 10 GB of free storage to let you explore its many features and security measures at no cost. If you need to upgrade, you can choose from three affordable paid tiers with monthly or annual commitments
  • Complete transparency—Skiff is open source, so the codebase is available for review. You can inspect the cryptography libraries on the platform’s GitHub or read the whitepaper for more information
  • Optional InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) integration—IPFS is the largest peer-to-peer network for secure file storage, letting you upload sensitive data without privacy concerns
  • Crypto wallet integrations—You can connect MetaMask, Keplr, BitKeep, and various other crypto wallets to Skiff Drive to maintain complete anonymity when sharing files
  • Cross-platform support for maximum accessibility—To make your files accessible from desktop and mobile devices, Skiff is compatible with browsers, iOS, macOS, and Android

Get started with Skiff Drive in three easy steps

You can secure your files with Skiff Drive without a complex setup—all you have to do is:
  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Create your Skiff account
  3. Upload files to Skiff Drive
To ensure comprehensive protection beyond file storage, Skiff offers three additional end-to-end encrypted platforms:
  1. Skiff Mail
  2. Skiff Pages
  3. Skiff Calendar
The following table explains how each solution contributes to a secure and efficient workflow:
Skiff MailSend secure emails readable only by the recipient with the decryption key. With Skiff Mail, you can email sensitive information without the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands
Skiff PagesEnsure streamlined collaboration in an end-to-end encrypted environment. You can create and share unlimited docs featuring a rich text editor and thorough text search
Skiff CalendarStay organized and schedule private events. With a built-in video conferencing tool and customizable features, Skiff Calendar lets you stay on top of tasks and enhance your productivity
The above platforms are available at no extra cost, so you’ll automatically gain access to them when you create your Skiff account.

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