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Cloud Expo: Article

Adding Security to Cloud-Based Storage

nCrypted Cloud adds security and privacy to cloud-based storage services for consumers and enterprises

Boston-based startup nCrypted Cloud recently launched software of the same name 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, says Nick Stamos, the CEO and Co-Founder of nCrypted Cloud, while offering the robustness and controls that enterprise IT departments need.

Stamos says 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.

“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,” says 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 develoment, 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-premise, not only offers users greater control, but allows organizations to integrate existing security, storage, monitoring and reporting tools.

Mobile data management solutions have proven 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 says.

“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,” explains 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 end users. The last thing the world needed was a new storage provider,” says 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, her predefined access policies and sharing status is verified and keys for her user ID are sent to the device.

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.

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 – well 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.)

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At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

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