Do I Need OneDrive?

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Windows 10 keep asking me to set up OneDrive. Is OneDrive really useful and is it needed?

Is it needed? No. There are plenty of alternatives if you want cloud storage and features similar to OneDrive.

Or you may elect not to use cloud storage at all.

Is it useful? In my opinion, absolutely.

Read moreDo I Need OneDrive?

Half a Dozen Uses for OneDrive

If you don’t trust Microsoft, you should probably stop reading. If you don’t trust Microsoft, you probably won’t trust OneDrive with your files.

If you’ve decided you’re never going to trust “the cloud”, you can stop reading now as well. There’s no getting around the fact that OneDrive is, at its heart, a cloud-based service.

If you have Windows 10, especially if you have Microsoft’s Office 365, you already have OneDrive available to you. (If not, it’s easy to get.) If you’re interested in learning how you can put OneDrive to use, read on.

I’m convinced that OneDrive is one of Microsoft’s most under-appreciated services.

Read moreHalf a Dozen Uses for OneDrive

Is the Cloud Dangerous?

One of the comments I received on my article on lessons learned from a fairly public online hacking was very concise:

“That’s why the cloud is dangerous.”

I think a lot of people feel that to varying degrees.

I disagree strongly.

I also think believing the cloud is dangerous prevents you from taking advantage of the things it can do for you — things like protecting your data…

… as well as a number of things you’re already doing, and have been doing for years.

Read moreIs the Cloud Dangerous?

Using OneDrive for Nearly Continuous Backup

In previous articles, I looked at creating an image backup using Windows 10’s built-in imaging tool1, and setting up File History to back up files that change on a regular basis to an external drive.

This is all good — but we can do better.

Best practices for a robust backup strategy call for keeping a backup copy off-site. OneDrive, included as part of Windows 10, can do that automatically.

We’ll set up OneDrive, and then make a couple of changes to other applications to make our use of OneDrive for backing up nearly transparent.

Read moreUsing OneDrive for Nearly Continuous Backup

BoxCryptor: Secure Your Data in the Cloud

One of the hidden issues in online storage is privacy. Almost all online storage providers have the ability to examine your data or hand it over to law enforcement even if the provider has encrypted your data.

Hopefully, most of us will never have to deal with the law-enforcement scenario, but even the realization that a rogue employee at an online data storage provider could peek into what we keep online can cause concern. For some, it’s enough concern to avoid using cloud storage at all.

The solution is simple: encrypt the data yourself.

Unfortunately, implementing that “simple” solution isn’t always that simple or transparent, and can add a layer of complexity to online storage some find intimidating.

BoxCryptor is a nicely unobtrusive encryption solution that is free for personal use.

Read moreBoxCryptor: Secure Your Data in the Cloud

Cryptomator: Encryption for Your Cloud Storage

I regularly hear concerns about using cloud storage — the biggest being that online files are at higher risk of compromise should your account or the storage be hacked. There are also concerns that your storage provider could be required to hand over your files to law enforcement agencies under certain circumstances.

Those are all valid concerns.

Cryptomator is a free encryption solution that addresses them.

Read moreCryptomator: Encryption for Your Cloud Storage

An Abundance of Cloud Storage

With Amazon announcing that Prime members can now store unlimited pictures in their cloud, it drove home to me just how much things have changed in just the last few years.

Cloud storage was at first an interesting concept, then a rare but useful commodity, then a differentiating feature between services.

And now? Not only is it ubiquitous to the point of being almost expected, but some aspects are almost, dare I say it, annoying.

Read moreAn Abundance of Cloud Storage

Four Important Rules to Safely Use Cloud Storage as Cloud Backup

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I now have 1 TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage. How should that affect my backup strategy? Most of my data files are now on OneDrive; do those need to be backed up? Can I use OneDrive space as my “external hard drive” for backups of my other files? How about for image backups? Can/Should Macrium Reflect put a system image onto OneDrive? Other advice re wise and safe use of cloud storage?

The availability of lots of cloud storage services has greatly expanded our options for keeping our data both safe and accessible.

While it’s expanded our ability to establish cloud backup options, it’s also greatly expanded our ability to get it wrong. It’s now very easy to think you are backed up when you are not, or to inadvertently expose yourself to additional risks.

Let’s review some rules about backing up, and about cloud backup specifically.

Read moreFour Important Rules to Safely Use Cloud Storage as Cloud Backup