Boston-based startup nCrypted Cloud recently launched software of the same name that's designed to address the security and privacy concerns that have emerged with the use of popular cloud-based storage services.
Available in consumer basic, consumer pro, and enterprise editions, nCrypted Cloud encrypts information stored on popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft's SkyDrive. The software is as simple to use as the services it works with, according to Nick Stamos, the CEO and co-founder of nCrypted Cloud, while offering the robustness and controls that enterprise IT departments need.
Stamos said nCrypted Cloud's security privacy protections fill a glaring gap in cloud storage services today.
"The promise of the cloud is 'put everything in the cloud and it will be available' — but that's the problem as well as the promise," said Stamos, who is also principal and founder of the Stamos Group.
Popular cloud-based storage services lack the security and privacy that enterprises require, yet employees are using them anyway. With the rise of BYOD and mobility, users want access to files anytime, from anywhere. This leaves enterprise IT departments searching for a way to protect corporate information stored in the cloud.
In a related development, last month, we reported on OwnCloud Inc and its release of the latest version of the ownCloud Community Edition with a number of usability, performance, and integration enhancements. The ownCloud file sync and share software, deployed on-premises, not only offers users greater control, but also allows organizations to integrate existing security, storage, monitoring, and reporting tools.
Mobile data management solutions have proven to be too restrictive and inflexible, said Stamos, while trying to implement corporate policies that prohibit employees from storing and accessing personal and corporate data from a mobile device is unreasonable. Enterprise IT needs a solution that users won't attempt to work around, but will embrace, he said.
"We allow users to apply privacy controls to personal data, as well as corporate data, so that if an employee parts ways with a company, he can revoke access to that personal data from a corporate device, and vice versa," explained Stamos. "That makes it a value proposition that users feel comfortable with." Meanwhile, enterprise security policies can be used to govern work files and allow for revocation of access if needed.
Enhance, not replace
One key distinction about nCrypted Cloud is that it works with existing cloud-storage services, instead of replacing them.
"We provide the same sort of native user experience ... so it's not disruptive [to] end users. The last thing the world needed was a new storage provider," said Stamos. "What people need is to be able to use the Dropbox they love ... in the context of it being more secure by just being able to make folders private or share them securely. They can continue to have their data where it is and how it's organized without being disruptive in any way, shape, or form."
nCrypted Cloud's persistent client-side encryption ensures that data isn't exposed and the software offers comprehensive key-management features to facilitate administration. When a user accesses corporate files from any device, their predefined access policies and sharing status is verified and keys for their user ID are sent to the device.
That client caches keys for offline access to files, and keys can be removed if the access policies change. Users can easily access and share files in different cloud-based storage services and have a single-pane view of cloud and corporate file repositories.
The consumer basic version of nCrypted Cloud is available for free. The consumer pro version costs $5 per month and includes managed secure sharing, some file auditing, and the capability to manage files stored in different cloud services. The enterprise edition — which enters beta testing next week — will be priced at $10 per month. It includes all of the capabilities of the consumer pro version, as well as enhancements such as multiple identities, centralized provisioning, and policy control, and a full audit trail of 30-day archives.
Downloads and more information are available at www.ncryptedcloud.com.
(BriefingsDirect contributor Cara Garretson provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached on LinkedIn.)