By Kurtis Ming

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Companies are offering up space to store pictures and videos that you can access from almost any computer or phone. But, how do you know if those prized memories will be there when you want them?

Josh Hoener said his memories vanished after his cloud account vanished.

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It happened when he logged in to the cloud to see his high school pictures and videos, including phots from his prom.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Josh.

He was afraid his images were gone forever.

“Even though you may have that memory, you have nothing to look back on,” said Josh.

After running out of space on his phone, Josh had uploaded pictures to the free cloud service Firedrive. But since October, he said he can’t get past the first page.

“It just loops back and forth,” said Josh.

We found people around the world also saying they’re locked out. One user wrote, “I lost a whole lot of my private files.”

A Korean user posted, “Please make Firedrive available again.”

A user in Ireland said, “What is going on?”

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Cloud services allow you to store and access your pictures, videos and documents from almost anywhere in the world through your phone, tablet or computer.
But we wanted to know if our stuff is safe on the cloud?

“It’s very rare for a company to just completely shut down and disappear.” Sarah Mitroff from CNET said, adding that users really need to back up every file first, because if a cloud company closes you may lose everything.

“It’s very likely your files may be destroyed or you won’t access them anymore,” said Mitroff.

We learned Firedrive, which used to go by the name Putlocker, is based in Singapore. Published reports suggest the website may have been under review for hosting pirated content when it disappeared.

Josh said he will be changing his storage habits and getting an external hard drive or a bigger, more well-known cloud storage service.

Just because you send your stuff up to the cloud, doesn’t mean it’s private or protected. She adds servers could be somewhere else in the world and that you may not want to store something you wouldn’t be afraid for the world to see.

We could not reach anyone at Firedrive. CNET said the servers for these cloud services could be located somewhere else in the world.

Your images, videos and documents may not be protected or kept private on the cloud.

So, how do you know which services to trust?

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CNET said you should read reviews online, and consider going with a trusted company that has been around awhile.