By Nerino Petro at 8 July, 2011, 4:39 pm
Dropbox has quickly become a widely used product and service with a good reputation at least up until recently. In the last few months, Dropox has made a number of misstatements and gaffes regarding who has access to your data and to what extent that Dropbox could make of it. From a lawyers perspective, Dropbox should not be used for confidential or other sensitive data unless it's been encrypted prior to uploading to your Dropbox account. All of this logically makes one wonder if there are alternatives to Dropbox that are 1) as easy to use; 2) are more secure and which have better privacy policies; and 3) work on as many platforms. The folks over at Lifehacker have recently posted an article on this exact topic. Keep reading past the break for a link.
There are a number of alternatives and I've written about some of them for the ABA and most recently, the State Bar of Wisconsin, in the June Wisconsin Lawyer magazine in my article Make Your Mobile Life Easier: Online Storage. However, my article was more of an overview of the services and not a feature by feature comparison. For that information I'll recommend Dropbox vs. the Alternatives: Which Online Syncing Service Is Right for You?
Melanie Pinola wrotes a great comparison article detailing the features and ease of use of Dropbox vs. 4 of its competitors inlcuding MS Live Mesh, SpiderOak, SugarSynch and Wuala. The article is a good place to start if you haven't already haven't signed up for one of the cloud based synchronization services or if you are looking for an alternative to your current service. For those that really like the ease and convenience of Dropbox but are worried about access to information by others, CompletelyPrivateFIles may have developed a simple solution for you.
In addition to their other offerings including utilities for Box.net and Gmail, their newest product is aimed directly at Dropbox users: called SecretSync, this client side encryption product is currently in beta form and available for Windows and Linux with the site proclaiming that an OS X version will be forthcoming. While you can manually create encrypted containers in Dropbox using a product like Truecrypt (Compujurist recommended), it takes a bit of work. SecretSync appears to make the whole process easy and quick while giving you control over the encrypt ion. According to the FAQs :
SecretSync installs a tunnel folder that goes inside your Dropbox. Files are encrypted before being put in here. The tunnel folder is inside Dropbox to allow it to sync your encrypted files to your other devices.