We have become dependent on the cloud. Whether it's for the likes of Google services or one of the many cloud storage providers, it's a challenge to function properly without having that connection into the great ether.
If you're like me, you rely upon cloud storage for many data streams, from the not-so-sensitive to the very sensitive (and everything in-between). Because of this, we depend upon the security of our cloud providers. For the most part, those providers succeed in delivering on their promises, via the standard security mechanisms (think encryption). There is, however, one company taking a different approach to cloud storage security: Vawlt.
SEE: Vendor comparison: Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud (Tech Pro Research)
What Vawlt does
Imagine that you have a data stream coming out of your computer, destined for a cloud storage service. With most cloud storage providers, that stream is encrypted and stored on the provider's service. Not so with Vawlt. Instead, Vawlt breaks that outgoing stream into data blocks and then redundantly stores those blocks between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
Individually, those blocks amount to random bits of data. Pieced together they make up your files and folders. To that end, anyone attempting to steal your data could only steal it in blocks (without the ability to piece those blocks back together).
The "blocking" of data occurs locally, by way of an installed application (currently available for Windows and macOS, with a Linux app coming sometime in the future). Effectively, you have a locally installed application, where you can add files/folders that then breaks the data into blocks, and redundantly syncs those blocks between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
This means that your data never passes through the Vawlt servers. In fact, the Vawlt servers are only used for the managing of accounts, handling of shared folders, authenticating users, and other small features (not related to the system data plane). So you have a security model that removes the company servers from the data equation and uses a unique security system, unlike anything currently within the cloud space.
SEE: Google Cloud Platform: An insider's guide (TechRepublic download)
What Vawlt doesn't do
Vawlt does not enable users to sync multiple cloud accounts to one central point. In fact, beyond the added security measures, Vawlt is just another cloud storage service (albeit one with a serious twist).
Vawlt also doesn't offer much in the way of a desktop client. Yes, it has one, but most of what it does is under the hood. On the surface, the Vawlt app is nothing more than a means to connect your file manager to your account. Once connected, you create (or copy) files and folders in the Vawlt directory, and the underlying system does its thing.
In fact, what Vawlt calls a "Dashboard" is just a way to log into your account, manage your Vawlt plan, set up billing, and change your password. You'll find no means to add exceptions, throttle data, or any other bells and whistles. The user-facing portion of the Vawlt app is as bare bones as it gets (Figure A).
How much does Vawlt cost?
If this next-level, security-minded cloud storage service sounds like something you might want, you can kick the tires for free, using a 15-day trial (sign up on the Vawlt sign up page). Once the 15-day trial is up, the pricing looks like this:
- Individual - 50 GB of storage for $6.74 per month
- Individual plus - 250 GB of storage $19.82 per month
- Team - 50 GB of $6.70 per user per month
- Team Plus - 250 GB of storage $29.42 per user per month
No matter what plan you opt to sign up for, you will enjoy all of the current Vawlt features, so you don't have to worry about the old upsell unless it is simply for more space or teams.
I look forward to seeing what Vawlt has to offer when their product becomes more mature. For anyone who considers the standard cloud storage offerings to be less-than-ideal on the security end of things Vawlt might be just the ticket.
- How to use FreeFileSync to back up your cloud directories (TechRepublic)
- How to sync multiple cloud storage services for free with MultCloud (TechRepublic)
- How Amazon Web Services runs security at a global scale (ZDNet)
- Hybrid cloud: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know about the cloud, explained (ZDNet)
- Best cloud services for small businesses (CNET)
- Microsoft Office vs Google Docs Suite vs LibreOffice (Download.com)
- Cloud computing: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.