Thursday, June 23, 2011

Online Storage, Syncing & Backup

Up until recently, there was an application that I used and recommended called Dropbox that was used for online storage - you could run the app on multiple computers, your iPhone, iPad, Android or even Blackberry device and sync the data. OK, on mobility devices you won't get the whole size syncing, but you can choose a file and access it once it downloads (sane usage of expensive 3G/HSPA bandwidth).

Then Dropbox went and changed its T&Cs to let the US Government "hands on" department have access to my data if and when they chose. OK, as I don't store anything illegal nor compromising up there, I didn't care. Then they changed things so that any of their employees could access my data, which isn't good. And then, to top things off, they went and released an update that results in open slather access by anyone to anyone's data and that was the straw that broke this camel's back.

Sure, this latest issue was a poor coding, poor internal procedures, poor quality control issue, but it was also a massive security issue following on after Sony, Acer, Sega, Nintendo and other high profile companies had their confidential customer data breached.  This chasm has since been closed, however I don't like how easy it was for their internal checks and balances to be utterly defeated by the poor coding skills of one programmer.

Dropbox should have a) known and b) done better.

So, as the major failure of Dropbox is in the security (sic) of your data being applied at their server end, not at your client end, I've looked around for an alternative to Dropbox where I have some control over the security - SpiderOak seems to offer this.

SpiderOak lets you choose whether you want to back data up to the cloud using locally-applied encryption or whether you want to sync a folder on multiple machines that you've signed into using SpiderOak, again using locally-applied encryption - at no point is unencrypted data being stored on the SpiderOak servers.  You can also create a "ShareRoom" which allows you to share files with people who you choose, using a "RoomKey" password.

All up, this operates similarly to Dropbox and utilizes real security.  Dropbox has dropped the ball in a big way.


The Outspoken Wookie


Chris Brown said...

It's interesting that you write this, as I've stopped recommending DropBox to people and am on my way to not using it any more. Currently my (not-so-)cloud solution is a 64GB USB in my pocket encrypted with Bitlocker.

Mark Moore said...

I have been using SpiderOak for disaster recovery for around a year and a half now. The cross-platform client is spot on and makes it easy to backup across network shares. I spoke to "someone in charge" prior to purchasing and had a good experience. I even got his cell number! It's always good when you can speak to someone! If you are going cross platform and security is of the utmost importance, SpiderOak is the way to go.