Once a novelty, nowadays many cloud storage services are fighting for their piece of the market in the virtual world. Today I’m taking a look at Mega, a service that received a massive amount of press coverage thanks to Kim Dotcom. However, I’m not going to focus on Kim’s past, I’m going to focus on Mega alone.
Despite Mega offering 50GB of free storage for free alongside a cheap Pro membership, some would argue that due to their ongoing legal problems, choosing to store data on MEGA is not not as secure as it might be using other providers. Vikram Kumar, CEO at Mega Limited, comments: “This is a matter of perception rather than reality. Over time, Mega will store every file in at least two different locations (jurisdictions) which will give even more legal and technical security of user data.”
Currently, Mega has leased servers in Germany. They opt not to operate in the U.S. since they think the implementation of laws in that country are not favorable for any Internet company.
When choosing a cloud storage provider, users usually think about what type of content can be uploaded. Mega doesn’t limit the type of data that can be stored. Copyright infringement claims are taken seriously as Kumar explains: “Copyright owners or their agents need to notify Mega of any alleged copyright infringement. They can provide such DMCA-style takedown requests via a specific form on Mega’s website. If all the required information is provided, Mega will promptly take down the link or file as requested. Mega will also inform the user of the action so that the user has an opportunity to follow up if appropriate.”
When it comes to privacy, Mega wants the data safe from prying eyes. “Mega’s aim is to make encryption/decryption fast and automatic so that people do not have to take extra steps to be secure and keep their data private. The encryption key is controlled by the user’s password. No downloads or plugins are required. Encryption/decryption is done on the fly, as files are uploaded and downloaded. All of this makes Mega secure in theory and practice,” comments Kumar.
In an unusual move for a cloud storage provider, Mega has launched a vulnerability reward program that renumerates the report of a previously unknown security-relevant bug or design flaw. They offer up to 10,000 EUR per bug and nine rewards have already been given out.
Registration is fast and simple. All you need is a working e-mail address, and in minutes you get 50GB of free storage. This is more than most cloud storage providers offer on a free plan. Pro accounts are available, and are cheaper than the competition – for example, you can get 2TB of storage for 199.99 EUR per year.
The page showing your account information is exceedingly simple yet informative. It offers all you need to know at a glance and enables fast decision making if you want to upgrade to a Pro account.
The clear design choice is visible also on the page you’ll be using most often – the file manager. You can view images as a list of as a set of thumbnails. This is especially helpful when dealing with a collection of photos:
Working with files (and sharing them) is straightforward, a right-click brings the options you need:
Nowadays, cloud storage services are clearly finding their way into the daily workflow of the average computer user. In order to make Mega even more appealing to a global audience, its creators have translated it to a variety of languages, thus making it easier to use.
Despite initial hiccups with the service, as a vast number of people flocked to open an account. During my usage Mega proved to be as reliable as any other cloud storage service I’ve used before.
There are still improvements to be made, like dedicated apps for mobile devices, but the great amount of free storage will certainly appeal to most users.