Mr. or Ms. Lawyer: what's your number one concern for your data, including client files? It's probably security. Or privacy.
You'll also want reliability, ease of use, and app availability. After all, if you're going to use this service for professional purposes, it would be nice if your Apple-obsessed paralegal and your Android-obsessed self can access your files in harmony.
And of course, you'll want a reasonable price.
We'd hoped that SpiderOak, with it's client-side encryption, would be the answer to our needs. Unfortunately, while it had the security, its drawbacks, including the steep learning curve, left us wanting more.
Today, we learned about Bitcasa. We skimmed over it at first -- who needs another cloud storage provider, after all? A slow news day and a need for procrastination, however, led to a click on the announcement for the company's newly-updated mobile apps. It seems that we may have just stumbled upon our new favorite cloud storage provider.
Privacy, Security, Reliability
It starts with client-side encrypted cloud storage. In non-geek, that means your computer, and your app, disguise the data before it is uploaded, and only devices with your username and password can access the data. Bitcasa can't see the data itself, and their terms of service prevent them from using or sharing your data with anyone, including law enforcement.
All that data is stored on multiple, redundant Amazon cloud servers. If one server goes kaput, multiple others have copies of the encrypted data. Cloud storage is one area where redundancy is a good thing.
Apps for Nearly All
Android and iOS? Check. Windows 8? Of course. There is even an app for the Google Chrome browser, which allows you to save files off of the Internet to your Bitcasa drive itself. And if you're app-averse, or on a work computer, the Web interface, which includes simple drag-and-drop uploads, is pretty nifty.
After fifteen minutes with the just-released Android app, we've gotta say: it left nothing to be desired. It's intuitive, smooth, and visually appealing. It has separate categories for photos, music, video, documents, and favorites. In each category, you can swipe to the right to find a toggle switch for "Recently Added" or "Recently Viewed." As for favorites, if you "star" a file, it will save a local copy for those times where your data connection has dropped.
Another neat feature: auto-backup. On your phone, you can automatically back up your photos and videos. On your PC, you can "mirror" any folder you choose, which is perfect for backing up the essentials, from client files to family photos, into the cloud.
Our only suggestion would be to add a BlackBerry app.
As with most cloud storage providers, there are multiple tiers. The free tier is 10 gigabytes, which is more than industry-leader Dropbox's 2 gigs and our PRISM-free alternative, Box's 5 gigs.
If you want unlimited space, it'll run you $99 per year, or $10 per month. Compare that with Dropbox's 100 gigabytes for the same price.
- All Private Everything: PRISM-Free Phones and Operating Systems (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- All Private Everything (Else): Apps, Services, Social Networking (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- Box: A Bigger (Better?) Cloud Storage Option (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)