The cloud is great if you want the convenience of accessing your files everywhere.
Many do and the cloud currently is populated online storage services like Dropbox and SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud-centric Office 365 Home Premium, and Google's Chromebook push. There's even some speculation that Windows could one day become an online service.
The problem is many of these services fall short when it comes to keeping your data private and locking it down with encryption.
That changes Tuesday thanks to a new Dropbox-style sync service from SpiderOak called Hive. Part of the SpiderOak 5.0 desktop client for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Hive creates a folder on your desktop that you can quickly drag and drop files into and sync them across all your SpiderOak-connected PCs.
As with previous versions of SpiderOak, you can also access your files on mobile devices. As part of the SpiderOak Hive roll out, the company has a new Android app coming your way next week--we've got a sneak peek at the latest beta version.
Hive has already been available for about a week. Starting Tuesday, however, when new users download SpiderOak, they will get 5GB of free online storage for a limited time instead of the company's usual 2GB allotment.
Hive may sound like every other sync service out there, and in some ways it is, but the difference with SpiderOak Hive is the company's commitment to zero-knowledge encryption for your data and password.
"One of the impetuses behind Hive," SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman told PCWorld "was providing people with an easy way to approach [to data] privacy in a way they've already understood with cloud-storage services." The means applying SpiderOak's zero-knowledge capabilities to the drag-and-drop functionality of services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive.
SpiderOak uses a combination of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES encryption to ensure your data is locked up tight and only you have the key--which is your password. The problem is that, unlike other online services, SpiderOak cannot retrieve your password for you should you forget it.
Hands-on with SpiderOak Hive
It's easiest to think of SpiderOak as having two components: Hive for quick sharing and sync, and a back-up application for critical files you don't want to lose, such as family photos.
Although Hive is a new product, you were previously able to set up a Dropbox-like folder via the SpiderOak back-up application. But creating the sync folder required a manual set-up on each device that was really more suited for power users.
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