Friday, September 13, 2013

Why I Chose Ubuntu One as my Cloud Storage Provider

Cloud storage is something that's really pained me over the years.  While I see the value of backing everything up to the cloud, I also see the very serious potential pitfalls of placing my data in the hands of someone else who, under the right circumstances, might be compelled to hand that data over to a third party. So, for a number of years, I've avoided using cloud storage nearly entirely.

But recently, the realities of daily life and the need to share large files with friends and collegues brought me back to considering the cloud. Since cloud storage is hot right now, there are a lot of options and I, systematically, went about trying all of the big ones for at least a week to see which I preferred. The services I tried were Dropbox, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Ubuntu One, and Jungle Disk.  I specifically excluded services like SkyDrive since 1) Microsoft seems fairly hostile towards Linux and I am a Linux user and 2) We know, through recent disclosures from Edward Snowden, that Microsoft has gotten cozy on several occassions (and possibly on an ongoing basis) with the US National Security Agency.

After trying each of these services for a week and uploading a few gigabytes of data, the choice of which service I was going to use was exceptionally clear: Ubuntu One.  Ubuntu One didn't outperform everyone else or offer the best price on storage space but it had something that none of the others did: my trust.

Overall, I trust the company behind Ubuntu One (Cannonical) to respect my privacy. The entire company is founded on the guiding principles of Free Software and respect for users rights so I feel very comfortable putting my most sensitive data in the company's hands.  Price wasn't too bad either. After getting a special deal on six months of 20 gigs of storage and purchasing another year of an additional 20 gigs, I now have 45 gigs for a little over $35 a year. Not the cheapest out there but definitely worth the little extra for the peace of mind I get.

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't trust Ubuntu One completely.  I don't just upload everything to the service without taking precautions. While I believe that they are unlikely to be compelled to disclose my data to a government agency, I don't discount the possibility of hackers or even a nosey Cannonical employee checking out my data. For that reason, I have a special folder in my Ubuntu One directory called "Sensitive" that I store any sensitive data too.  Data that I deem as sensitive is first encrypted using PGP in another directory then moved into the Sensitive directory for uploading to Ubuntu One. The service never sees unencrypted data that I deem too personal to share even with them.

Overall, I'm very happy with my choice. I feel good because I am using a company I trust and I'm helping to support a great product financially. And, since Ubuntu One is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux,  I know that I can easily access my data no matter where I go.

So that's that. My cloud storage search is over. I'm at peace with my decision and am actively recommending it to others who are looking for cloud storage solutions and who don't want to host their own. Ubuntu One seems like the best value for the security, peace of mind, and ease of use, it offers.

If you want to check it out, click on this link. You can get a free 5GB account and start using it immediately. Right now, the service is running a great special whereby if you purchase a single track from the music store for $0.99, you get six months of free streaming to your mobile device and 20gb free!

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daltonwright007 said...

That's exactly what I was thinking, maybe it'll give it a go tomorrow, probably is not going to go well because is just available like with dropbox is going to be taken as spam because so many people are gonna do it although Ubuntu one is not that popular anyways. To get more info please visit

Lillian Walker said...

It’s really hard to entrust your files to a server host, because there might be no guarantee that your documents will be safe. But I’m glad that you tried the service and found the right service that gives you exactly what you’re looking for. The best thing to do in this case is to always have a physical backup as well, in case the online ones fail. I think it's better to have a slightly outdated file than to have nothing at all as backup. Good luck!

Lillian Walker @ Taylor Works, Inc.

Erick Brooks said...

I understand the apprehension. But there are times when the usual storage devices are already full, that you'd have to look for other options. Indeed, trust would be at the foremost criteria of every cloud storage user. I'm sure you're well-versed on what and what not to upload, so it shouldn't be much of an issue. Thanks for sharing!

Erick Brooks @ Ripple Web

Sam Maron said...

Cloud storage safety, share-ability and collaboration features are key elements to consumer selection of cloud services.
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