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I have a lot of information to backup, this includes accounts passwords, personal files, images and a lot more. So I was thining about backing up everything using a cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. My question is: Is this secure? Are these services always going to keep my files "forver"?

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"The cloud" is marketing-speak for "other people's servers", so I will use that term instead.

When you move your data to other people's servers, you need to be aware that they have direct access to your data. When they are not trustworthy, they are able to steal your data. Read the privacy policy of the people you give your data to. Many people do not give you any guarantee that they won't look at your files and might even share it with third parties for fun and profit. This is usually worse with people who offer you to store your files for free. Remember: When you are not paying for a service, you are not the customer. You are the product!

A sensible precaution is to encrypt your files before you upload them to other people's servers, so that they can't see the content. But then you are responsible for remembering the decryption key. Lose your password and you lose your files. You might also miss out on some convenience features other people's servers provide, like viewing your files online, sharing them with others or automatic versioning.

Also, read the terms of service in regard to availability. They might not guarantee that their service will be available forever. The people might reserve the right to delete your files from their servers with a very short notice or even no warning at all. This is, again, usually worse with people who don't want any money from you. But even if they give you a written guarantee, that guarantee is worthless when they go bankrupt and have to sell the servers you have your data on. Taking legal actions against a bankrupt company is usually pointless.

However, when you believe you can trust these people, having your data on their servers can even have a security benefit. People who provide such services as their primary business model usually(!) have lots of know-how about how to properly secure a datacenter against logical and physical attacks. When you lack the know-how and resources for proper IT security precautions, letting someone else handle your files might not be a bad decision. But you should do your research about the security track record of the people whose servers you are storing your files on.

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YMMV.

When you say secure, it could mean many things. Would I trust a service with my passwords, unencrypted? No.

Will they never delete my files? Yes - your files are safe in this way forever.

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    Yes - your files are safe in this way forever. Really? Even if that service goes out of business? – Philipp Dec 27 '16 at 8:53
  • @Philipp : You know, I was actually considering that but decided to drop that line just before submission. Your answer is more complete., so I'l just kill this one off. – thel3l Dec 27 '16 at 8:56

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