The Real Cost of “Free” Cloud Storage

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As more people these days accumulate large amounts of data in the form of documents, photos, and videos, they need better storage solutions. Cloud storage platforms are an option that has the advantage of easy accessibility for an increasingly mobile public.

These days, cloud storage popularity demand has grown so much that it’s become something of a commodity. It’s like the proliferation of self-storage facilities all over the country: The options are almost identical with similar features, and the only differentiating factor is cost.

In the cloud storage market, this has led to numerous cheap (and even free) cloud storage choices. Amazon and Google are among the brands leading the cloud storage charge. And who doesn’t like to save money?

However, there’s one big potential problem: What is the real cost of entrusting your personal data to a company that offers cheap (or free) cloud storage?  It’s a question worth some serious thought before you decide. Here are some of the concerns you may face

Third-Party Access to Your Data

The biggest concern is the most well-known: Cheap or free cloud services could be sharing your information with third parties.

In recent years, it’s become increasingly difficult to trust the channels and platforms where we share our data. That’s because commonly used sites and products from companies like Google and Facebook have admitted to sharing customer data with other companies through 3rd party applications or just plain getting hacked all-together. In fact, selling consumer data is a major revenue stream for them

This potential loss of complete data privacy may leave you forever wondering if you can trust the “cloud” — these considerations may far outweigh whatever money you might save with such a service

The Disappearing Cloud Service Provider

An explosion in demand caused cloud service providers to pop up almost overnight, seeking to take advantage of the opportunity.

It’s similar in some ways to the early days of web development, where website providers were a dime a dozen. Over time, many web developers could not sustain their low-cost offering. They started consolidating with larger companies or shutting down altogether.

The cloud service market has undergone similar changes. Verizon shut down two public cloud services in 2016. In closing, some have left customers at a real loss. There’s usually no easy process for migrating all that data over to a new cloud service provider. Although some companies warned customers of impending shutdowns in order to let them migrate their data elsewhere, not everyone has been so lucky.

Service Issues

Although Amazon is a trusted name, it’s faced some backlash from unhappy cloud service customers who have had to deal with outages and technical issues. After all, if the media is creating annual lists of the biggest cloud outages, it must be an ongoing, significant issue

“You Get What You Pay For”

Not all inexpensive cloud storage services are created equally. It’s important to compare each cloud service on the basis of features such as storage capacity, bandwidth, security, and technical support. The free and cheap services tend to offer a stripped down version of cloud storage that may not meet your specific needs. Some might also only allow you to store photos and videos at a downgraded resolution. Alternatively, you may soon discover that you’ve outgrown storage capacity. At either point, you’ll need to upgrade to a pricier plan, which can increase in cost exponentially.

Designed for Businesses, Not People

Many of the cheap cloud storage services are aimed squarely at the business market. This focus makes sense as a business strategy, given the wide variety of businesses, both large and small, that need data storage.

However, there is now a greater need for personal cloud storage options, given the amount of data consumers generate through their mobile devices. Consumers prefer smartphones over bulky video recorders or cameras. To free up room on their smartphones, they must move these treasured memories to other devices for storage.

Many business-focused cloud service providers are trying to ride the wave of personal cloud storage, believing they can supply the same service to consumers. However, they are two different audiences with distinctly different needs. Consumers are focused on maintaining cherished memories. They’re probably not IT experts, so they require a device that is easy to set up and use.

What Makes Amber Different: The Cloud for the Next Generation

Before developing Amber, we tried all of the available cloud storage options to see what we liked and didn’t like about them. We used our own personal data so we could understand the issue of cloud storage from the consumer’s perspective. The issues discussed above are what we quickly discovered — and what led us to develop a personal hybrid cloud. We don’t believe you need to sacrifice privacy for the convenience of the cloud. We believe you should be able to bring your data home and not have to be kept on someone else’s “cloud”. Amber is powered by its own cloud service infrastructure – not a 3rd party public cloud – and allows you to securely access and share your data from Amber to anywhere to anyone – with your permission and under your control.

Amber may not be either cheap or free, but it reliably delivers exceptional value, data safety, reliability, and security. Our feature-rich, consumer-focused digital life platform provides you with complete control over your data privacy and takes away concerns related to third-party access. Amber includes media streaming, high-speed Wi-Fi, AI-powered data organization, and localized double data backup. Learn more about Amber and whether it’s the better storage solution for your personal and data privacy needs.

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