The cloud is an integral part of everyone’s life, both business and home users, and as long as Windows 10 has existed, it has been built into Windows 10 by default via OneDrive, which is one of many services used by millions of people every day. There is no shortage of alternatives: Google Drive, Dropbox are among the best known, flanked by services perhaps less known but capable of distinguishing themselves for a particular approach or unique characteristics. It is the case of pCloud, which unlike most of the services offered on the cloud is not a simple online archive, but offers unique features, also in terms of security
pCloud Drive, work with your files online, as if they were on your computer
Most cloud services are designed to automatically synchronize folders on an online space so as to always have an up-to-date backup of personal files. A function offered by pCloud, but enhanced with the pCloud Drive service, which we can consider as a sort of extension of the computer’s storage space, in effect an additional virtual hard disk, online, with a maximum size of 2 TB. The files copied here will be immediately available, as if they were actually located on your computer, even if they are “physically” on an external server. The data is copied locally only when it is used and then immediately removed. The only requirement, therefore, is to be constantly connected. And when you are offline? No problem: just select the files you want to always have with you, even when the Internet is not available, and they will be synced to your device (or devices, if you use more than one).
The files and folders on the online virtual disk can then be shared with other users with one click, but in this case there is a traffic limit, depending on the subscription formula chosen: the traffic is equivalent to the GB of storage offered by the plan. This limit can be extended, but by paying a supplement.
pCloud Rewind: a time machine for files
One of the features that Windows users envy the most to Mac owners is the Time Machine, which keeps track of all changes made to files and folders and allows you to simply revert to an old version. Of course, Windows has File History, which, however, is not comparable in terms of intuitiveness and ease of use.
The pCloud Rewind function fills this gap, allowing you to immediately access a previous version of any document, even those deleted by mistake. The only limit is the storage time: in the case of users with free subscription, you can go back up to 15 days, which become 30 for those who choose one of the paid formulas. If they are not enough, you can buy them separately the Extended File History add-on which extends this period to 365 days. The cost of this additional feature is 39 euros per year, and it also includes the history of the recycle bin, so that even deleted files can be recovered.
Easy backup for everyone
One of the functions recently added to pCloud is the management of backups, both of computers, portable devices and other services, which automatically replicates a series of folders on the pCloud online space, so as to be able to recover them quickly in case of unexpected events. The files can then be accessed either through the computer or mobile app, or through a common browser. pCloud automatically suggests the backup of the system folders (Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music Videos, etc), but you can also choose others, even if you want the entire drive. All supporting the block-level mode, which records only the changes made, so as to limit bandwidth consumption. In the case of Android or iOS mobile devices, however, the backup is limited to images and videos, which can be uploaded to the cloud immediately after being captured.
The most interesting aspect is that pCloud also integrates third-party services and allows the backup of content saved on Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Indeed, it allows you to save all photo albums uploaded to Facebook and – in the future – this function will also be extended to Instagram.
How safe is pCloud?
One of the aspects that the developers have focused on is that of security. Not only is the2-factor authentication, but all content uploaded online is encrypted with chiave AES a 256 bit. You can then choose the region to rely on, selecting between USA and Europe, a fundamental fact for business use and which guarantees compliance with the GDPR. Anyone wishing to add an additional layer of protection can also rely on more robust encryption algorithms, with military standards: we are talking about 4096-bit RSA keys. To do this, you need to purchase the add-on pCloud Crypto in the case of home users, while this functionality is already included in business-type subscriptions.
If pCloud Crypto is activated, each file is encrypted on the client (mobile devices are also supported), before being sent online, thus making it impossible to access even pCloud itself. To show its users how seriously it takes data security, pCloud launched a Crypto Hacking Challenge, offering $ 100,000 to anyone who could break into its encryption system. A “challenge” that lasted 6 months and which was attended by 2,860 people, including universities of the caliber of Berkeley, Boston and even MIT, the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
pCloud can be used for free, even if in this case it is limited to 10 GB of space, which can be increased for free through a referral program: for each invited friend you register, you get 1 GB more space, for a maximum an additional 10 GB. The friend in question will be able to access the premium account for free for a month and, if he keeps the subscription active for at least a month, he will be entitled to a credit of 5 dollars.
There are two subscription formulas for individuals, which are offered at a 75% discount for Republic Day: a lifetime premium subscription, which includes 500 GB of space, 500 GB of shared link traffic, 30 days of file history and branding of shared content (a logo chosen by the user is automatically affixed to the images), costs 122.5 euros (instead of 480 euros). Premium Plus differs for a space of 2 TB of space, and as many of link traffic, and is offered at 245 euros (instead of 980) for a lifetime use.