With the recent scandals involving Facebook and other giant companies that proved to be too lax in terms of data security and sharing personal information, the public demand for secure cloud data storage solutions has increased dramatically. Sure, cloud storage services talk the talk about data safety and user privacy, but that did not stop many consumers to (rightfully so) ask themselves: how private is my data actually?
If you have been on the Internet for long enough, you have probably faced the same dilemma. Fortunately, if you value data security above all else, Mega might be the solution for you. In this article, we will be taking a look at Mega’s data privacy and security features. Here is what you should know.
General Information about Mega
Before delving into the main topic of the article, we will give you some key information about the company’s meager beginnings and their policies. MEGA started as the second business venture of Kim Dotcom, who was then known as the founder and president of another cloud storage service, MegaUpload. After a brief stint with the law in which he was arrested and charged with copyright infringement, MegaUpload was officially dissolved, and he decided to take a different approach with his next company.
Now, the founders’ legal troubles should not discourage you at all from giving Mega a try, as the copyright infringement charges had nothing to do with data security. While the speeds and pricing models are decent, the majority of Mega Cloud storage features revolve more around offering a safe and secure platform for users.
Mega Business Model
Even though Mega might be a tad expensive for some people’s liking, their business model is more than fair. The pricing plan can be justified by Mega’s complex security infrastructure, which is clearly a step beyond other services. Fortunately, you do not have to pay to use the platform.
The free plan is incredibly generous, with some arguing that it is, in fact, the most generous on the market. Thee free tier plan offers 50 GB of storage space, albeit with a 10 GB bandwidth limit that resets every 30 minutes. This limit might not be enough if you are the kind of person who handles large amounts of data in short timespans, but it is sufficient for casual, day to day use – backing up music, storing photos, videos, documents and so on and so forth.
If you do not want to pay a dime on a cloud storage service, there are tons of ways to increase the free 50 GB limit. You can get free storage space by either installing MEGAsync or the Mega mobile app on your smartphone, or by inviting friends to the service through the referral system. Furthermore, by getting the extension, you can greatly strengthen security. If you are willing to pay a few bucks, for 5 dollars per month, you get 200 GB of space with a 1 TB monthly bandwidth. But add a meager 5 dollars and you can enjoy 1 TB of space, with twice as much bandwidth limit in the same time span.
As you can see, even though it might be on the expensive side, Mega’s business model is more than fair and considering their many security features and the intuitiveness of the interface, some might argue the opposite – that the company is, in fact, charging way too much for what they offer.
An In-Depth Look at the Security Features
First of all, let us preface this entry by saying that if you are a cloud storage beginner, you should avoid Mega until you familiarize yourself with the basic functionalities. The tightness of Mega’s security infrastructure can sometimes backfire – if you forget the password and you do not have the encryption key, there is no way of resetting the password. So, as weird as this sounds, if you have just begun using Mega, you should back up all of your files separately just to be sure.
With that being said, let us focus on their security features. The whole process starts right from the account creation phase where Mega will assess using various variable how easy the password can be cracked. Judging by those factors, they will give some suggestions.
After you create an account with a powerful enough password, the next step are the encryption keys. Mega lets you create, customize and modify your own encryption keys as you desire, by default. Although some people might find this a little overkill, the whole effort is totally worth it because you are the only person who has access to the files stored on the server. No third parties, and not even Mega, have the ability to access the files.
Another security measure that many people will surely appreciate is related to file transfers. Using a peer to peer transfer system, the data is encrypted end to end, so that nobody can intercept it during transit.
How does this whole thing work? Well, the concept is rather simple. Mega uses both HTTPS and client-side encryption technology. In the simplest terms possible, this means that your locally encrypted data is sent to mega, and once you download them, they get decrypted. This fact is supported by their security help page, which states that the files are basically unreadable on their servers.
But as we have said, their tight security procedures can backfire against you. Since there is no recovery option for your Mega option, you have to keep a backup copy of your decryption master key, otherwise you will lose all the data that you have stored on their servers. As frustrating as the prospect of losing all of your files might be, you at least know that nobody’s going to access the data.
While Mega might fall short in some respects when it comes to speeds, their fair business model and tight security infrastructure makes them one of the best cloud storage services on the market. If you value data security above all else, make sure to give it a try.