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Amazon Cloud Drive Review

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PROS / The overall value is among the highest available.

CONS / The security features are severely lacking.

 VERDICT / Amazon Cloud Drive provides exceptional value with excellent performance, but the security features are lacking.

Amazon may be one of the most recognizable brands in our review because of the company's enormous web-commerce site. Most people view Amazon as the place to go to buy stuff on the web, but the company is also one of the largest cloud-computing services in the world. In fact, many cloud backup services rent their server storage space from Amazon S3 servers. So it's no surprise that Amazon Cloud Drive, the company's consumer-level cloud storage service, would rank among the best online backup services. The service balances exceptional value with performance and usability. The one major concern is data privacy and security.

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For our comparison of cloud backup services, we closely evaluated the relative value of over 30 backup services by evaluating the cost per computer to back up 1TB of data for a large family with at least five computers, a small family with three computers and an individual. We also tested the backup and restore performance with speed tests and ease of use evaluations. Amazon Cloud Drive excelled in each area.

For unlimited storage for unlimited devices, Amazon Cloud Drive costs $59.99 per year. As such, the service earned an A at each level of our evaluation because the cost per computer is among the lowest available. For a large family, the cost is about $12 a year per computer while the cost is about $20 per computer each year for a small family. In comparison, the average cost for an online backup service is $33 per computer for a large family and $48 per computer for a small family.

Amazon Cloud Drive received a B for backup speed, which makes it one of the better-performing apps. The average backup speed recorded from many tests suggests it would take about 13.5 days to back up 1TB of data. In comparison, the average speed in our tests was about 21 days. The restore speed received a B+ because it recorded a speed that suggests you could restore 1TB of data in less than 10 days. While the fastest restore speed in our tests was less than three days, the average speed was about 15 days.

Amazon Cloud Drive received an A- for both the backup and the restore process, making it one of the easiest apps for a beginner. The app has a very simple design with two tabs – upload and download. This makes the process very simple. The settings are clearly labeled both with a cog symbol and signifying text, which make it easy to find. In both phases of the process, we counted no more than three to four steps. For comparison, the average number of steps to initiate a backup set or restore set was six with other services, and some services had as many as 11 steps. There is very little learning curve with this app.

The most significant concern with Amazon Cloud Drive is data security and privacy. While your files are encrypted while in transit to Amazon's servers, there isn't any encryption on the servers. Another troubling aspect is Amazon's privacy policy, which suggests that the service can view your files at any time to "copy Your Files for backup purposes, modify Your Files to enable access in different formats, use information about Your Files to organize them on your behalf, and access Your Files to provide technical support." In fact, the service's policy shifts the security issues to you, the user, stating,"[y]ou are responsible for maintaining appropriate security and protection of Your Files." As such, you can encrypt your data using a third-party app.

On a positive note, Amazon Cloud Drive does provide a two-step verification option. Also known as two-factor authentication, this security measure requires an additional step to the login process that requires your immediate attention. This protects against hackers gaining access to your account even if they have your password.

Summary

Amazon Cloud Drive is one of the most valuable online backup services available because it provides unlimited storage for unlimited devices at just $59.99 per year. Both the backup and restore performances were above average, and the ease of use is among the best in our tests. The one major downside is the lack of serious security measures, though this can be remedied with a third-party app.

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