When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

The Amazon Cloud Drive – A Quick Overview

The Amazon Cloud Drive – A Quick CloudTweaks Overview

The buzz around free online storage started way back in 2006 with Google’s Gdrive but it did not materialized into anything important except as a feature in Google Docs that gives free 1 Gig of storage.  A year later, Microsoft launched its very own SkyDrive with a whopping 25 Gig of storage free.  Now, Amazon launches its very own Amazon Cloud Drive that gives the first 5 Gig of web storage free and requires only a $1 fee for every Gigabyte of storage each year.  The Cloud Drive is a support for the Amazon Cloud Player that enables users to play music files stored remotely on the Amazon Cloud Drive.

The Amazon Cloud Drive may have been marketed to store music files in conjunction with the use of the Amazon Cloud Player but it can also be used to store documents, pictures and videos as there are separate directories for them.  Those already possessing an account with Amazon do not have to sign up for they automatically have the Cloud Drive as a feature.  For those who want to make use of the Amazon Cloud Player and the free online storage, simply sign up with a new account which is fairly easy to do.

We cannot go on without comparing Amazon Cloud Drive against Google’s Gdrive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, after all they are all online storage tools.  First off, the pricing for the extra storage after the free allotted 5 Gig of storage is a bit pricey.  Google’s Gdrive offers a fee of $5 a year for an extra 20 Gig of storage and only $256 for Terabyte for the whole year against Amazon’s Cloud Drive’s fee of $1,000 for a whole Terabyte for 1 year.

In using the interface of the Amazon Cloud Drive, it is fairly easy to use.  The left side is the organizational panel where you will find lists and folders.  You can add additional folders with a click of a button.  Uploading and downloading files are quite simple.  You can upload files up to 2 Gig in size and there is a drag and drop feature that lets you select files from your hard drive into the interface.  Most web browsers work fine except for Internet Explorer 9 but the problem can’t be replicated in other machines.  Double-clicking a checked file will trigger the browser’s standard download interface but for an MP3, MOV or AAC file, it will start playing through the Amazon Cloud Player.

As a web storage facility, Amazon Cloud Drive is very easy to use, clean, fast and convenient.  However, Amazon states that they retain the rights of all files uploaded on their servers meaning you can’t get much privacy and security as compared to Google’s policy that the files will only be opened with a court order.  Also, you can’t upload whole folders although it’s fairly easy to upload multiple files at the same time.

The main thing that’s missing with Amazon’s Cloud Drive is the ability to sync and make backups.  For now, its strength is based on its free 5 Gig of storage space and ability to play music files stored on it.  The expensive extra storage, privacy guarantees, no backup and no file sharing features will not attract many to subscribe.

By Mike Wheatley

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