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Using OneDrive for transferring files and for backups?


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#1 razz3333

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:59 PM

I purchased a new laptop with Windows 10.  As part of the intro it asks if you would like to use OneDrive.  Even though it will only be myself and my wife using it, I decided to give it a try.  Until now if I wanted to share something between our computers I would use a USB stick to transfer a file or folder.  Now with OneDrive, I'm wondering if I'm correct in thinking that this could be used to do exactly that - i.e. transfer files or folders from one PC to another.

 

From what I read, you can set options in OneDrive to be available only to the two of us, so it should be secure.

 

Does using OneDrive for this purpose make sense?  Also, I suppose you can use OneDrive as a handy way to perform regular backup of files and folders?


Edited by hamluis, 09 June 2017 - 05:01 AM.
Moved from Gen Security to Backup/Imaging - Hamluis.


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#2 smax013

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:19 PM

I purchased a new laptop with Windows 10.  As part of the intro it asks if you would like to use OneDrive.  Even though it will only be myself and my wife using it, I decided to give it a try.  Until now if I wanted to share something between our computers I would use a USB stick to transfer a file or folder.  Now with OneDrive, I'm wondering if I'm correct in thinking that this could be used to do exactly that - i.e. transfer files or folders from one PC to another.
 
From what I read, you can set options in OneDrive to be available only to the two of us, so it should be secure.
 
Does using OneDrive for this purpose make sense?


Yes. And that is kind of primary purpose. OneDrive (like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box) is an online storage service that offer "syncing". What this means is that you have your local copy that is then synced to the Microsoft servers and then can be synced to other computers logged into your OneDrive account. So, in effect, when you save a new file to the OneDrive sync folder(s) or edit a file or delete a file, those changes will get "uploaded" (which too crude of a way to say as it is more than just an upload) to the OneDrive server. Then once any other computer that is signed into that OneDrive account connects to the OneDrive server, it will "download" those changes to those other computers. The result is that what is on and happens on one computer using the OneDrive account will happen to the others.

Now, this will not happen to everything on the computer. Typically for such a service, there is a specific folder where you say any files you want synced to OneDrive. You can create subfolders within that folder, but it will typically ONLY sync/upload stuff from specific folder (or any subfolder inside it). I don't actively use OneDrive (I get a lot of OneDrive storage with my Office 365 subscription), so I cannot say it 100% works this way, but I do know that both Box and Dropbox do and they are both rather similar in nature to OneDrive.

Also, I suppose you can use OneDrive as a handy way to perform regular backup of files and folders?


Yes, in a way. Again, it will likely only upload (aka "backup") files and folders saved in that one specific folder on the computer. But, what you put there will be "backed up" to the OneDrive servers and also be "backed up" to any other computer using the OneDrive account.

Now, keep in mind that it will not protect against all things. It will help protect if one computer or its drive dies. OTOH, if you delete a file or a file gets corrupted or infected, then it will not really help there. The exception is that I believe that OneDrive offers versioning for at least some file types (i.e. Microsoft Office file types at a minimum, I believe). Versioning means that the servers will save multiple versions of that file as you make changes to it. So, if a file gets corrupted or infected or you delete, you might be able to recover a previous version of that file from the OneDrive web interface.

Overall, it is not meant to be "true" online backup service. There are other services that offer that ability like CrashPlan or iDrive. But, it can provide some backup ability.

#3 quietman7

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:46 PM

Some of our crypto malware experts recommend cloud services such as CrashPlan, Carbonite or Dropbox.
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#4 rittenhouse

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:57 PM

I purchased a new laptop with Windows 10.  As part of the intro it asks if you would like to use OneDrive.  Even though it will only be myself and my wife using it, I decided to give it a try.  Until now if I wanted to share something between our computers I would use a USB stick to transfer a file or folder.  Now with OneDrive, I'm wondering if I'm correct in thinking that this could be used to do exactly that - i.e. transfer files or folders from one PC to another.

 

From what I read, you can set options in OneDrive to be available only to the two of us, so it should be secure.

 

Does using OneDrive for this purpose make sense?  Also, I suppose you can use OneDrive as a handy way to perform regular backup of files and folders?

I sent some files of mine from an external hardrive to my windows 10 computer and the folders now read EMPTY. I am not sure if sending files from one place to another without first knowing what sharing means or encryption does..Could be the end of your files.



#5 jwoods301

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:04 PM

OneDrive does not support versioning for non-native file types.



#6 razz3333

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:08 PM

 Overall, it is not meant to be "true" online backup service. There are other services that offer that ability like CrashPlan or iDrive. But, it can provide some backup ability.

 

 

Thanks very much for all the info smax013, I really appreciate it.

 

I looked at iDrive after you mentioned it.  I noticed that iDrive gives you the same storage space as OneDrive for free (5GB), so that's good, it's plenty for me.

You said that iDrive is better suited for backups, is that because it's more secure or easier to perform the backups?



#7 razz3333

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:18 PM

Some of our crypto malware experts recommend cloud services such as CrashPlan, Carbonite or Dropbox.

 

Thanks for your input quietman7.

 

I see that Dropbox offers 15 GB for free.  So according to the crypto malware experts they recommend Dropbox (as one example) and not iDrive and OneDrive.  I wonder if they figure Dropbox is more secure?



#8 jwoods301

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:30 PM

Dropbox reviews mention incremental syncing, and better content control and auditing features over Google Drive and OneDrive.

 

Ransomware can encrypt OneDrive files as well.

 

https://www.thurrott.com/cloud/microsoft-consumer-services/onedrive/89781/onedrive-vs-ransomware

 

None are "designed" as a cloud backup service...it's more file sharing and collaboration.

 

Can be used as "one" resource for backup, if you are using others, such as a removable hard drive that is kept offline.

 

Know the limitations.

 

I don't think I would trust my data to OneDrive only.


Edited by jwoods301, 08 June 2017 - 08:36 PM.


#9 quietman7

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:34 PM

US-CERT Alert (TA13-309A) advises some crypto malware variants have the ability to target, find and encrypt files located within network drives, shared (mapped network paths), USB drives, external hard drives, and even files stored on cloud services (cloud storage drives) if they have a drive letter. Although cloud backups typically do not use drive letters, most cloud storage services do not save prior file versions so theres no way to revert to a clean file version.

In most cases, if you're using a cloud backup that provides strong encryption, includes multi-file versioning and does not utilize a drive letter, then you should be safe from crypto ransomware as you can back up to the date prior to the infection. File versioning in particular allows victims to recover a clean version of files from a point in time before the ransomware attack and the system became infected.

I do not use OneDrive, but from what I understand the source data (like GoogleDrive) resides locally in the OneDrive folder. If that gets encrypted, it will get encrypted in the Cloud service as well since it gets automatically synchronized.

Keep in mind that even cloud backups may be unable to protect your data if cyber-criminals gain access via RDP...they can delete your cloud backups as well.
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#10 smax013

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 12:58 AM

Overall, it is not meant to be "true" online backup service. There are other services that offer that ability like CrashPlan or iDrive. But, it can provide some backup ability.

 
 
Thanks very much for all the info smax013, I really appreciate it.
 
I looked at iDrive after you mentioned it.  I noticed that iDrive gives you the same storage space as OneDrive for free (5GB), so that's good, it's plenty for me.
You said that iDrive is better suited for backups, is that because it's more secure or easier to perform the backups?


The difference between what I called a "true" online backup service (like CrashPlan, iDrive, Cabonite, Backblaze, etc) and an online sync service (like Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, iCloud, Google Drive, etc) is that the online backup services will back up all your files no matter where you put them on your drive. An online backup service's primary purpose is to backup your computer, not matter where you store your files. An online backup service's primary purpose is not just to store your files online or sync them between computers. Some online backup services might also sync stuff and/or offer access to individual files by way of a web interface that is more inline with what an online sync service does as their primary purpose, but it is still not their primary purpose.

The biggest noticeable different to the user is how the two types go about doing things. As I said, for an online sync type service, they will create or designate a specific folder where you put any files you want uploaded/synced to the service. Anything NOT put in the folder (or its subfolders) will NOT be uploaded or sync to the servers. So, in other words, YOU need to change where you store stuff if you want the online sync service to upload/sync your files. For an online backup service, you don't change where you have your files saved. There is no specific folder to put those files in. It will back (aka upload) things up where they reside right now. And they will not sync/download any files to another computer as part of some sync process unless that backup service also offers a syncing feature/function.

So, the basic idea is that online backup service's primary purpose is to backup files while online sync service's primary objective is the sync files among multiple computers and also potentially share files with others. Depending on what feature sets the service supports (whether backup or sync), you might get some cross over from just the primary purpose of one service type to another service type (i.e. a number of backup services offer some form of folder syncing which might cause them to behave a bit like a sync service depending on how the backup service implements the folder syncing).

So, if your primary purpose is to backup you files to an online service, then you typically will want to go with an online backup service. If your primary goals is to get the same files on multiple computers or share files among computers and maybe people, then you want to go with a sync service. If you want to do both, then you might find a backup service that can also do some syncing or you might find a syncing service (that includes versioning) might also do enough to effectively backup your files OR you may want to go with one of each.

As to free vs paid, generally it is easier to "get away" with using a free sync service as typically most people have less data/files that they want/need to have synced between computers or shared with other people, so they can typically survive with the lower storage amount that is typically offered with free online sync or backup service. For a backup service (where you are typically looking to backup ALL your data), you will typically run out of the free storage space they will offer for backup purposes quickly and end up needing to pay.

#11 smax013

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 01:09 AM

Some of our crypto malware experts recommend cloud services such as CrashPlan, Carbonite or Dropbox.

 
Thanks for your input quietman7.
 
I see that Dropbox offers 15 GB for free.  So according to the crypto malware experts they recommend Dropbox (as one example) and not iDrive and OneDrive.  I wonder if they figure Dropbox is more secure?


It is mainly because Dropbox offers versioning. So, if your files get encrypted my ransomeware and even if that encrypted version gets uploaded to the Dropbox servers, you will be able to go to the web interface and find an older version of that files to retrieve that is NOT encrypted (note that there is a time limit to how long they will "go back" on older versions...I believe it is 30 days unless you pay for the Extended Versioning History option).

Also, keep in mind that Dropbox free only provides you with 2 GB of free storage with a basic account right off the bat. You can increase that amount by jumping through some hoops such as referring Dropbox to people or completing their "getting started guide" (which will include things like installing the Dropbox client on your computer...you get 250 MB for completing the guide if memory serves). You will get an additional 500 MB of free storage for each person your refer Dropbox to who signs up with Dropbox for a total up to 16 GB on a basic plan (and another 500 MB if they install the client on their computer, I believe).

#12 razz3333

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 03:28 PM

smax013, thank you again so much for your detailed explanation.  I do truly appreciate your time and effort.  I'll be switching to Dropbox even though it's only 2 GB for free.  2 GB is still OK for my use.

 

I'll continue to do regular backups to a USB.  I'll be using Dropbox not only as another backup, but I'm also going to give it a try for giving access to files on my two computers without physically copying a file/files from one computer to a USB and then pasting the file/files onto the other computer.

 

Thanks again.


Edited by razz3333, 10 June 2017 - 03:34 PM.


#13 smax013

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 06:57 PM

smax013, thank you again so much for your detailed explanation.  I do truly appreciate your time and effort.  I'll be switching to Dropbox even though it's only 2 GB for free.  2 GB is still OK for my use.


Glad that I could be of help.

If you find you do need more storage, then you can try referring friends to Dropbox. You can even do it by just giving them a link (or sending them an email through the Dropbox site that includes that link).

Or you can pay for more storage.
 

I'll continue to do regular backups to a USB.  I'll be using Dropbox not only as another backup, but I'm also going to give it a try for giving access to files on my two computers without physically copying a file/files from one computer to a USB and then pasting the file/files onto the other computer.
 
Thanks again.


Sounds like a good plan to me.

#14 razz3333

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 07:40 PM

If you find you do need more storage, then you can try referring friends to Dropbox. You can even do it by just giving them a link (or sending them an email through the Dropbox site that includes that link).

I'll do that for sure.  Thanks!  :)



#15 GoofProg

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 01:32 PM

Whatever.  For $9.99 a month, you get access to Microsoft Office products and get a 1TB online drive.  Whatever..






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