Earlier this week, I embarked on a short journey to discover–Will BitTorrent Sync enable me to drop Dropbox and other cloud services? The answer is, “Yes, but I won’t be cancelling my account.”

Although I have found BitTorrent Sync invaluable on my home network, using it in a work setting (unless I have bittorrent ports unblocked, which I’m not prepared to do for this experiment) has been all but impossible. That’s a shame because anything that enables one to transfer large videos or files as quickly as I’ve found BitTorrent Sync to do so, well, that’s just invaluable.

That failure at work aside–and it’s a failure that makes BTSync unusable for many folks in K-12 education–I still heartily endorse the use of BTSync on the open web. I also wish there was a bit more transparency about the encryption protocols used.  This comment about the closed nature of BitTorrent Sync leaves me a bit nervous:

The whole point of P2P is to be decentralized as opposed to proprietary cloud sync solutions. Now at least with proprietary cloud sync solutions I can see that my files are being sent directly to Dropbox (Amazon cloud storage), Google Drive… When it’s P2P I can’t do that. So then to be able to build trust into SyncApp we would need to be able to review the code. Unless of course people are expected to always use TrueCrypt container files when using SyncApp to synchronize their sensitive data. (Source: Rippelhans comment)

There are a variety of solutions that work to solve the problem of storage. For example, here are a few that I’m aware of:

  1. BitTorrent Sync – works great across platforms (except iOS for which it isn’t available) and in network environments that block bit torrent.
  2. OwnCloud – a great solution that works well, is open source, and you can host on your own server. Very similar to Dropbox. 
  3. OneHub – encrypted dropbox type solution that is available at cost.

Of these, probably OwnCloud is probably the best solution but requires your own server or a server to work with.

If you’re using Google DriveDropbox.com,  Box.net, or the many other cloud storage solutions, you should encrypt your data before it’s put in the cloud. You can use many solutions, whether it’s individual file encryption tools like ParanoiaWork’s SSI File Encryptor,  AESCrypt.com,7zip compression utilities, or Truecrypt.org and/or Boxcryptor.com

What are your thoughts?

Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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