What's Bugging Online Storage Users? It's Not Always What You Think

While people who use Dropbox and Box worry about security, users of services like Google Drive and Apple's iCloud seem  more concerned with implementation issues. Is that a sign of dangerous complacency, or is it only natural that the level of of security concerns vary between different online storage services?

Natural or not, that variation is clearly in place, according to a recent report from a tech-support community site FixYa. Note that while FixYa lets post questions to the community at large in the hope of getting a helpful answer, it differs from typical tech sites by covering a much wider set of consumer products and services - from washing machines to strollers.

Taking a look at its own question and answer database, the folks at FixYa put together a synopsis of the issues that are the most relevant to public cloud services. The results were intriguing, particularly because of where the most expected cloud-storage bugaboo - security - was ranked (or not ranked) among the services outlined.

Security Yes? Security No?

Security topped the list of most commonly asked questions about Dropbox, coming in at 40% of issues raised. Storage limits came in at number two, with file syncing was the number three concern on the list.

Security was not quite as big an issue for Box users, tied for first place with upload issues, each accounting for 25% of issues reported. Backup file questions ranked third.

Perhaps most striking, though, was the fast that for iCloud and Google Drive users, security wasn't a ranked issue at all. The problems listed all deal with application-specific issues.

For Google Drive help-seekers, missing folders was the top-reported problem, at 30% of questions. Syncing files and Google Doc auto-conversion were the second- and third-ranked questions, respectively.

Syncing information figured more prominently for users of Apple's iCloud, with the number two and three ranked questions centering around syncing with non-Apple devices and syncing between devices in general. The biggest reported question was very application-specific: 35% of users had questions about Apple's Mountain Lion OS X operating system update and its affect on iCloud.

Who Cares About Security In The Cloud?

This disparity is notable because it seems to run counter to the popular perception that all such public online cloud services carry fears about security. It may very well be that iCloud and Google Drive consumers are just as worried about security, but they're just not expressing it on community support sites. But it seems odd that security isn't part of the conversation about these services.

Actually, it may not be that odd at all - a very public hack of Dropbox this summer has led corporations like IBM to block Dropbox, iCloud and similar online storage services. Consumer identification of security problems may be associated with the Dropbox brand and the similarly named Box service.

There seems to be a public perception that the Google and Apple services are secure and don't required much attention about security. (Though companies like IBM don't share that opinion.)

Those services may very well be relatively secure, but almost any individual account can be broken into unless strong security guidelines are followed. An online storage service can be as secure as Fort Knox, but if someone has the right key, the gold in your account is up for grabs.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.