Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

I moved my files to OneDrive

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Probably some readers will now think about this post: “What’s wrong with you? Where have your ideals and principles gone? Microsoft is evil!” But why do I actually have to justify myself? I have my reasons and I am free in what I can and cannot do.

I just cancelled my Nextcloud at Hetzner and moved my files to Microsoft OneDrive. I bought a discounted Microsoft 365 Single subscription for that.

Why am I switching to OneDrive?

The flood in western Germany got me thinking. What if something like this happened in the area where Hetzner operates its data centers? According to its own website, the storage is resilient to multiple drive failures, but I don’t read anything about geo-redundancy there. If the one data center where the files are stored is flooded, the files will be gone for sure.

To be on the safe side, I have set up additional automatic backups of my files to a NAS drive at my home, and in addition, the files are also copied to Scaleway in Paris every night.

But actually, I’d rather be able to rely more on the original storage right away. Microsoft describes their own procedure quite openly, how they try to reduce the risk of data loss to a minimum. The data is also stored directly in a geo-redundant manner.

I am well aware that my data may now be stored in the USA. However, if the NSA or other surveillance organization is interested in my data, then it would certainly be easy to get at the data on my Nextcloud. After all, the files were not encrypted end-to-end either. And if I need encryption, then I can also save the files directly in encrypted state in OneDrive.

Now that I’m using Windows 10 on all my computers as well, using OneDrive is no longer a problem. I can selectively access files and then only those are downloaded to my computer. Virtual file systems like this are a great thing. In addition, the Android app also seems to have improved significantly in recent years. Many years ago, I once used OneDrive as my cloud storage of choice.

Microsoft is certainly not my dream provider, but from my perspective, Microsoft is definitely better than Google. Microsoft’s main source of revenue is the users who pay for Microsoft services, so I’m pretty sure that my files aren’t being scanned for advertising optimization.

My move to OneDrive is definitely a compromise, but it’s a compromise I can justify. I trust Microsoft to provide me with better data resilience, and along the way I enjoy the benefit of having significantly more online storage available, but hardly paying more for it.The good integration with Windows 10 and my Samsung Galaxy smartphone are also positive points that at least somewhat offset my guilty conscience that my data is now probably stored in the US.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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