If you've been hesitant about using an online storage service because of the privacy risk or cost, you might be interested in what Pro Softnet has to offer via its IDriveSync service.
The online storage provider unveiled today a Private Key Encryption option for those signing up for a new IDriveSync account. The company says the new feature "brings a whole new level of security for users who are concerned about storing their sensitive and confidential information on the cloud." In fact, according to Pro Softnet CEO Raghu Kulkarni, none of the leading sync services -- including Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive -- provides this for general consumers.
To use this feature, pick a private key (an additional password) that will then be used for encrypting data stored in your online account. Since the key isn't generated by IDriveSync, no one except the authorized user has access to this data. Pro Softnet says the key itself is not stored on its servers, so even IDriveSync employees can't access the encrypted data. This also means that if you lose the key, you completely lose access to the data.
Note that the Private Key option is only available during the sign-up process and can't be changed at a later time, including the key itself. This is because the key is associated with the encryption and in order to change or remove it, it's necessary to decrypt and re-encrypt the data. This is a process that takes a long time, and might not even be possible in certain situations.
The company says data sharing between IDriveSync users is still possible with the Private Key option as long as the user explicitly allows IDriveSync to store an encrypted version of the key. Users also have the option to clear the stored private encryption key, when they want to stop sharing their data with others.
Now that the privacy part is taken care of, how about cost? IDriveSync gives all new users a free account of 10GB that can be increased to up to 30GB by referring friends or installing its apps. Students will get a free account of 25GB to start with. After that, power users can upgrade to the 150GB or 500GB plans that cost $4.95 or $14.95 per month, respectively.
There's a desktop application for the IDriveSync service, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. The online storage space can be used to sync data with an unlimited number of devices or for nonsync backups in a feature called Out of Box. Out of Box keeps data as separate copies for each device and saves it in up to 30 versions, which is great if you tend to make wrong changes to your documents. The service's Web interface also permits quick drag and drop for data syncing or backups.
In all, if you're looking for a new way to conveniently and securely back up or sync your important data, hopefully 10GB of it or less, IDriveSync is totally worth a try even without its new Private Key option.