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Cloud storage service Wuala to close in November

Seagate-owned cloud storage player confirms its closure and gives users three months' notice to remove their data from its servers

Users of Seagate-owned cloud storage service Wuala have until November 2015 to remove any data saved to its servers or risk losing it for good, as the company prepares to shut down.

Wuala confirmed in a post on its website that the service will close on 15 November, and urged users to move quickly to safeguard any data they have uploaded to it.

“Please download the content in your Wuala account and safely back it up to your PC, Mac, external hard drive or another cloud storage provider,” the notice said.

“After 15 November 2015, you will no longer have access to your content, which will be deleted. Please use this time to download and backup the content stored in your Wuala account.”

In the meantime, it warned, users will also be prevented from uploading new content to the service or making changes to their existing cloud-based files from 30 September.

Wuala became part of Seagate through its 2012 acquisition of consumer storage supplier LaCie, and said in a blog post at the time that the move would have little impact on its operations.

Computer Weekly contacted Seagate for further details about the reasons why Wuala is being retired, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

However, the Wuala blog post stated: “Seagate/LaCie will continue to operate the Wuala service until its termination... [and] retain the software and all intellectual property rights thereto.”

It has also promised to refund any users that have paid up-front to use the service, and is offering them the opportunity to migrate their data to an alternative provider, called Tresorit, for a reduced rate.

Read more about cloud service closures

Wuala was set up seven years ago as a university project by its founders in Zurich, and is reported to have had a growing user base within the business community, according to a follow-up blog post by Tresorit CEO Istvan Lam.

“They came up with a way to ensure zero-knowledge security – preventing even their own admins from accessing data,” Lam wrote. “This is something that today’s gigantic cloud providers still haven’t figured out.”

But good technology only gets you so far, he added, and in the face of plummeting cloud storage prices, it can be difficult for firms to run a profitable business. “Sure, industry experts advise building added value on top of that storage, but what constitutes enough added value?” wrote Lam. “Is providing zero-knowledge security enough of a competitive advantage?

“Secure cloud storage suppliers need to provide a level of convenience on a par with Dropbox-like, non-encrypted solutions. We have a chance to learn from what made Wuala successful and take secure storage mainstream.”

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

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Unfortunately, it is becoming hard to compete with the zero price offerings from Microsoft, Google and DropBox. Adding encryption is pretty easy with all these services, just by using an encryption tool like TrueCrypt for DropBox or SyncDocs for Google Drive. Cloud storage has become a loss leader for these big companies, making money with other services.
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