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Secure Data Storage: Cloud Storage and Privacy

How to store your Data safely


Undoubtedly cloud storage platforms such as e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive handy. From any device, you can always and everywhere access his files and make them available to friends and colleagues as needed. In the past few years cloud storage has become a dominant method of storing data.

Despite its many advantages, the cloud storage solution may also pose significant privacy risks. To eliminate these risks from the outset, there are simple solutions: When choosing the cloud provider, you should choose a local company that is subject to strict national and European privacy regulations. Often this is not exclusively possible in cooperation with partners and customers. In this case, we recommend a solution through controlled access to these services as well as strong encryption of the data in order to secure the use of the services.


Data Privacy as a Challenge

Both home users and businesses use cloud storage and benefit from a variety of benefits over alternative methods of offsite cloud storage.

But with all these benefits, protecting data on cloud storage solutions is a fundamental challenge. Since the data on a service is beyond the control of the user / company, it is now up to the service providers to provide the privacy of the user data to care. In addition to internal factors (controllable by the provider), the options that are given to a provider in this regard depend primarily on external factors such as the legal situation and the corresponding regulations or data protection regulations in the provider’s home country.

Users of native cloud storage services such as e.g. Timewarp, who operate their servers in Austria, can be relatively calm here. These providers are subject to a strict and secure legal situation.


Uncertain legal Situation for local Customers of US Cloud Storage Services

However, a majority of the market’s leading solutions (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, ShareFile, etc.) are subject to US regulations and regulations, as well as related agreements that govern the applicability of these standards to non-US users. This factor has great relevance as it also limits companies to the guarantees they give to end customers themselves. So, if the US privacy policy requires government agencies to be granted access to any kind of user data, then US cloud storage providers must adhere to it, regardless of what guarantees they’ve given or want to give to their customers.

It is precisely this dependency on US regulations, as well as recent developments in the area of ​​data protection, that make unsecured use of US cloud storage solutions for European users in both the private and business realm problematic because protecting “national security” data protection regulations for non-Americans can be leveraged.

Problematic Developments in Data Protection in the US

While agreements such as Safe Harbor (invalidated by the European Court of Justice), the EU-US Umbrella Agreement, or the US-EU Privacy Shield (among others) have had European users of American services (eg, cloud storage) To put their privacy rights equal (or similar) with Americans, current political events point to a new US data protection policy under President Trump.

„Enhancing Public Safety in the interior of the United States“: “ Privacy Act. Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.[1]

 For example, the incumbent president signed a decree ordering state agencies to exclude non-Americans (within legal limits) from any privacy protection mechanism. [1] Although the implementation of such a decree is very unclear and highly controversial, this suggests the future US privacy policy.

Secure File Storage by domestic Providers

The current situation raises the question of alternatives to Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive with appropriate protection of the data. A reliable solution is the use of domestic cloud storage services such as. Timewarp. These keep the data safe domestically and are subject to the local data protection regulations on the one hand and EU law with regard to data protection on the other hand.

This will become increasingly important, especially for companies, as there will be important changes in data protection legislation at EU level. With 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation will enter into force within the EU, requiring companies to take extensive measures to ensure privacy of corporate data. The storage and exchange of data and especially the (uncontrolled or unauthorized) use of US cloud storage solutions will be a major challenge here.

Secure Data Exchange with Sharebox

An increasingly important topic is the DSGVO-compliant data exchange. Conventional e-mail communication is far too uncertain for the exchange of personal data, since the data can not be encrypted in general. Doctors, lawyers and tax consultants are particularly required to find solutions. But all other companies, for example, to send their employees’ e-mails electronically, need a secure solution.

Timewarps file-sharing service Sharebox is such a secure solution. The data is encrypted and access to the documents is only possible for your customers via web links and multi-factor authentication.


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Veronika Pambalk

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