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365 Data Centers – the Pay-For-Use Plans are not that Uncommon Anymore

365 Data Centers (365) announced the launching of its new cloud storage service, available for the US market only, for now. 365 Cloud Storage delivers enterprise-class security and controls, self-service provisioning, high security and pay-for-use pricing. It is ideal for databases, large data, file storage, archiving, storage migration, backup and remote disaster recovery.

365 Cloud Storage provides a full set of enterprise-class features:

 - Web-based service provisioning, controls and monitoring
 - Support for both SAN and NAS storage
 - High-end customer support
 - Encryption of data at rest and in flight
 - Built-in data protection through cloning and remote mirroring
 - Scalability to hundreds of terabytes per storage volume
 - Integration with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure environments
 - Pay-for-use pricing as low as 5 cents per GB per month.

Some users believe that on-demand SAN and NAS storage would be the norm for cloud storage offerings, but the truth is far from that. It turns out that most cloud storage providers, even Google, do not offer both options.

365 Data Centers provides secure and reliable collocation and cloud services that offer an easier way to scale business growth and connect to the cloud.
The fortunate US market can already benefit from the service, in contrast with the rest of the world, where 365 still does not offer any coverage. Fingers crossed this will soon change.

Codero – the Obtrusive Cloud Service

The Codero service has actually been getting a lot of positive feedback recently, but why the title, you will ask. First of all, a horrible website, second – the service does not allow you to test it, except if you enter your credit card details. Uncool.

Basically, the general field of business of Codero is to provide dedicated, managed, and cloud hybrid hosting solutions on-demand from its data centers. However, they have developed their native cloud storage platform, as an additional service.

Despite not having a free plan, the paid offers of Codero are well priced. Unlike some companies that require an annual contract, Codero offers both monthly and even hourly plans for those that don’t have the budget to support annual contracts. The company even states that they will beat the price of any other online storage provider on the market. Is it true? You may want to check out.

Codero has found a way to decrease the customer price for storage space. Plans are billed at the end of each month, so you only have to pay for what you have used. The monthly rates allow businesses to budget for a specific amount, and allow you to know how much to expect.

The setup of the Codero applications and services is free, however to use them, you need to first sign up, which is... not free.

In terms of security, however, Codero is one of the leaders on the market. They use dedicated firewalls paired with intrusion detection services to help keep your data safe. They also have several different SSL certificates available.

Cordero maintains an all-day, everyday customer service staff, meaning that no matter what time of day it is, they are there when you need them.

The new on-demand storage solutions offer a range of features, including being optimized specifically for storage needs, fully managed so that Codero will handle all management of the storage, simplified set-up, the ability to simultaneously share files with multiple servers including virtual servers, and block storage appears as local drives.

The hosting provider developed the new storage solutions to more efficiently and effectively serve Windows and Linux customers in need of scale-out storage, making them ideal for companies with strict budgets, who need a secure environment for their data.

The Carbonite Sync & Share Application

Need a secure space for storing your valuable digital data? With Carbonite backup and syncing your files is easy and effective. The highly proven data storage service now comes with a range of dedicated synchronization and file sharing applications. In this article we will particularly analyze the Carbonite Sync & Share app, which is now available for any desktop computer, laptop or mobile (iOS or Android).

The Carbonite platform, in general, is dedicated to two basic features – backup and restore. Most importantly, it helps you restore your accidentally deleted or lost files and folders, once they have been backed up to the cloud. When using Carbonite, as with any other trustworthy cloud storage service, your data is always safe in the cloud. It gets encrypted at the very moment it leaves your device.

Carbonite does not provide a free version, but you can test the service using its 30-day trial version. In this article we will not examine the service as a whole. We will only focus on its Sync and Share functionality. But before that, it is worth mentioning that on the web platform users can easily view their backup and synchronization processes via the online dashboard.

What we don't like about the service is that its file upload speeds are not particularly high, and if you have a lot of files to backup, the process may take too much time. Also, the platform is quite complex and unintuitive. That is because it is probably intended for more professional use, not for personal storage.

What we need to say about the Sync & Share application is that you simply cannot go without it if file versioning is important to you and your business.

To install the application, go to the Carbonite website and download it. For mobile it is available in Apple Store and Google Play. Once installed, by default it creates a list of your recent files (the ones you created for the last 30 days) and automatically backs them up to the cloud. Of course, you can manually specify the files and folders this list shall contain. All the changes you make to your files on your multiple devices will be automatically synchronized across all of them.

Users can keep their collaborators and friends up-to-date with the Sync & Share functionality. They can securely share their files via the application. Simply choose a document from the list and click the Share option, and you are good to go.

Once you do that, add your collaborators' email addresses in the field, and they will get an email, inviting them to your files.

As a conclusion, Carbonite is a highly secure backup and synchronization service, which you can rely on any time, but if you are looking for a less expensive and more intuitive platform, we advise you to read the other articles in our blog.

Bitcasa – Reliable Protection for your Files

Bitcasa pride themselves with their high-end security practices, used for their web, desktop and mobile applications.

When you upload files using the Bitcasa desktop application, your data is client-side encrypted using AES-256 bit encryption, which means that your files are secure before they even leave your computer. During this process the data is sent over a secure connection using Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

The problem with most cloud services is that the service provider employees have access to your information and your files may get in the hands of authorities and other inappropriate parties. This is not the case with Bitcasa. With its applications, your data is stored in encrypted blocks, which cannot be decrypted by the Bitcasa employees. This means no one but you can see or use your files. Data is decrypted and reconstructed only when you log in with your username and password. Your personal documents are truly personal.

Sensitive information, such as billing and account info, is stored using several layers of encryption in a segmented network with no public internet access. New encryption keys are generated on a daily basis and existing keys are rotated on a regular basis.

Bitcasa keeps multi-layer backups of all your data on multiple locations to prevent even the slightest possibility of data loss. However, if even this protection fails, the folders that you have mirrored via the desktop application will still contain copies of your files. 

With Bitcasa your privacy is protected in a very refined way, as they claim that they also employ a number of physical and electronic security measures to protect user information from unauthorized access.

However, Bitcasa warns you against using third-party applications, since those apps utilize a different kind of security, which Bitcasa cannot guarantee for. If you are not aware of their security policies, you should not use them for accessing Bitcasa.

The iCloud Hacker Unveiled?

After a huge number of private photographs of some of the most popular women in Hollywood leaked last Sunday online, journalists, authorities and users are now curious to find out who the nameless hacker gaining access to their accounts was. The theory goes that the leak was caused by hacking the celebrities' iCloud accounts.

The tech giant behind iCloud is famous for the simplicity of its products, which also seems to be their greatest problem. The hack could not have come at a possibly worse moment for Apple, because the company is now preparing the largest event of the year – the launch of iPhone 6, a smartwatch and a new operating system for Mac. Needless to say, all of the aforementioned products will be related to iCloud.

It seems the leak may have aimed to defame not the celebs but namely Apple. However, there are a number of suggestions on the way of attacking. Some suggested the source was a brute force hack, unveiled by Russian security researchers, while others believe that the Wi-Fi at the Emmy Awards could have been compromised. Another theory states that the celebrity photos leak do not originate from a single source but have been collected over a long period of time. The collector suddenly decided to post them online in this particular moment. The picture collector goes by the user name OriginalGuy. Very original, indeed.

OriginalGuy has been active on illegal content platforms such as AnonIB and 4Chan. After the suspending of 4Chan in 2006 some of its long-term users created the AnonIB platform, which grew in popularity during the years, offering identical service. During the years, AnonIB had developed a large network for sharing pornography and other illegal content, which led to frequent FBI raids on its servers and administrators. 

Besides being a nest for large amounts of pornography, AnonIB also hosts a large ring of experienced hackers, who may have learned and applied methods for hacking the celebs' iCloud accounts. Using dedicated password-cracking tools and guessing security questions through Apple's iForgot password reset form, hackers were able to gain access to iCloud accounts using only the email address of the target.

Once inside an account, hackers could download photographs using the file backup system that Apple provides. Over the last week, journalists started reporting that the AnonIB user OriginalGuy has been identified as the source of the leak, and the photos were not a result of a single hack but were collected over a period of time. The collector had been contributing to the website fund, sharing a large number of content over the years. The peculiar part is why the OriginalGuy has decided to share his entire collection at all. Usually collectors try to sell their possessions in small parts trying to make big money out of the deals. It seems the OriginalGuy has gained nothing but popularity this time.

Censored versions of the leaked photos were posted first on AnonIB, using which the collector expected donations from users who wanted to see the full versions. However, it seems he only faced a great lack of interest and comments on the upcoming payback for his actions. An unexpected turn of events followed. His entire collection was posted anonymously on 4Chan, which made it become accessible for thousands of users over the Internet. The OriginalGuy claims he had not gain any profit from the whole thing and has no idea how the collection leaked on the other platform.

Regardless of what has truly happened, the only certain thing is the flaw in the iCloud security. Apple instantly made improvements in their security, but what is done is done. Let's hope it will not happen again. But just to make sure, simply turn to more reliable cloud storage services, such as the ones, reviewed in our blog.

What is Data Encryption and Why is it Important in the Cloud

Shortly, data encryption is the transforming of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or a password that enables you to decrypt it. 

In order to guard against advanced threats in a complex and evolving climate of virtualization, cloud services increasingly take a data-centric approach to safeguarding the sensitive information of their clients.

Encryption and cryptographic key management products enable organizations to secure sensitive data in databases, applications, storage systems, virtualized platforms and cloud environments. However, if access controls are lacking, the efficacy of encryption can be compromised. If cryptographic keys are vulnerable, so is the encrypted data.

Along with a comprehensive set of encryption platforms, cloud storage platforms need to provide robust access controls and key management capabilities that enable organizations to practically, cost effectively, and comprehensively leverage encryption to address their security objectives. With well encrypted cloud storage platforms, organizations can apply data protection where they need it, when they need it.

When encryption is applied upon storing and sharing files in the cloud, the recipient of an encrypted data uses a key which triggers the algorithm mechanism to decrypt it, transforming it to the original version.

There are many different types of data encryption, but not all are reliable. In the beginning, 64-bit encryption was thought to be strong, but it was moved aside with the introduction of 128-bit solutions. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is the new standard and permits a maximum of 256-bits. There are a number of cloud storage platforms which apply exactly this kind of highly robust data encryption.

Data encryption schemes generally fall into two categories: symmetric and asymmetric. AES, DES and Blowfish use symmetric key algorithms. Each system uses a key which is shared among the sender and the recipient. This key has the ability to encrypt and decrypt the data. With asymmetric encryption, a pair of keys is created and assigned: a private key and a public key. The public key can be known by anyone and used to encrypt data that will be sent to the owner. Once the message is encrypted, it can only be decrypted by the owner of the private key. Asymmetric encryption is said to be more secure than symmetric encryption as the private key is not to be shared.

Using data encryption nowadays is critical, because data can be compromised in a number of ways, especially when stored on servers that might change hands over the years.

The Cubby Security Examined - Part 2

To read the first part of our Cubby article, click here:

If you need a reliable cloud storage platform for your business or personal needs, which also provides a high level of security, Cubby is one of the good options on the market. Refer to our previous article for summarized review of its security options.

However, this time we will speak in details. When installed on your desktop device, Cubby creates one big folder for you, called My Cubby, which automatically syncs across your devices. You can use it to store files and folders in the cloud for easy access.

To turn a folder into a cubby, just drag and drop it into the desktop application. This way you do not reorganize or move your stuff.

You can notice, that when you create a cubby through your desktop application, the web version automatically syncs it and it is instantly visible online.

With the cloud on, you'll be able to share cubbies with colleagues and create public links. To see all the options available, simply right click on a file or folder and they will appear. Also, you can click the three line symbol to the rightmost of the folder or file name.

The same options are also available on the desktop application. The Sync option helps you toggle syncing for this computer (on or off). Through the Share option you can share this folder with your friends or collaborates when you enter their email addresses. Unlike other cloud storage spaces, Cubby does not offer sharing through social and other platforms. Only through email invitation. Besides through the desktop app, you can also perform sharing through the web by clicking the Share now option.

Through the Link option you can generate a link that you can provide to your friends so they get a read only access to your folder. This way they can download your files in an instant.

The desktop app has one more option for you. This is the On icon. Using this button the cloud enables linking and online access from and mobile apps. You also have the opportunity to remove folders from being cubbies, this way cleaning space on your file storage platform. This way the folder will be no longer synced or shared through the desktop application.

And since here we primarily talk about safety, we need to say that the client-side encryption is available for all users, regardless of whether they use a paid or a free plan. However, one more security step – the Cubby Locks – user-held encryption keys, is available only for paying users.