Welcome to Vendor Quiz, a periodic feature here at Slaw in which we ask a legal marketplace supplier a series of substantive questions about their product or service. Our goal is to provide insight and guidance to Slaw readers who might be considering a purchase, and who would benefit from practical information with which they can make a more informed choice. Vendor Quiz is an advertorial service, with each post sponsored by the featured vendor.
Sync.com is a secure cloud storage platform that makes it easy to store, share and access your files from anywhere. The client’s privacy is guaranteed.
- What is “zero-knowledge” cloud storage, and why is it an important concept for Canadian lawyers to understand?
“Zero-knowledge” means that the cloud storage provider has absolutely no access to the files that are stored on its servers.
This is an important concept for companies storing sensitive documents, because it safeguards their data from unauthorized access. Lawyers specifically can take advantage of the convenience of the cloud without worrying about breaching lawyer-client confidentiality or data privacy laws.
With Sync’s zero-knowledge cloud storage, files are encrypted locally on a user’s computer or device and remain encrypted in the cloud. Most importantly, only the user has access to the encryption keys required to view the files. It’s technologically impossible for Sync employees to access, or provide access to, file data.
In contrast, cloud storage providers like Dropbox also use encryption, but they keep a copy of the encryption keys, which provides their employees and automated systems access to the files stored on their servers.
- What are the benefits of hosting data on servers located in Canada?
Sync stores all its file data here in Canada. Data stored outside Canada might fall under the laws and regulations of foreign jurisdictions, which could break compliance with Canadian data privacy laws. For example, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec have adopted data privacy legislation that includes Canadian data residency as a requirement for compliance.
And it’s not just where the data is stored that matters. Canadian companies storing sensitive information in the cloud must ensure that their cloud storage provider is a Canadian corporation. American companies operating within Canada may still fall under the U.S. Patriot Act, which would break compliance with Canadian data privacy laws. Sync is 100% Canadian.
- Do you claim ownership of the data stored on your servers?
Sync claims no ownership of user data. Because of our zero-knowledge encryption methods, we can’t even access the data!
- If a law firm shares documents or file folders with its clients, and the client establishes an account with you, will you be able to provide an anonymous experience for them, too?
Yes. Zero-knowledge encryption is baked into all of Sync’s sharing features, to provide the most secure and most private sharing experience possible.
But it gets better. With Sync, the recipient of a shared file does not need to create a Sync account to access or view the file securely. The only requirement is a web browser. This makes sharing really easy for everyone involved.
Sync also makes sharing files via email secure and private, by allowing any file to be shared as a simple link with encryption, notifications, passwords and expiry options seamlessly built in. This eliminates the need for attachments and ensures that only the recipient has access to the file.
- Do you offer mass-upload capability? How fast can a firm get up and running with your service?
Sync provides desktop apps for both Windows and Mac OS X that place a special “Sync folder” right on the computer. Once installed, a user can quickly drag and drop their files directly into the Sync folder. We provide overlay notifications as each file is uploaded and synced to the cloud. Upload speed is dependent on a fast Internet connection, of course.
Furthermore, users can install Sync on as many computers as they like, as well as on their iPhones, iPads and Android devices, to securely access and share their files from anywhere. Getting up and running with Sync is quick and easy.
- What are your views on Bill C-51, and will it affect privacy in the cloud?
We have been very vocal about certain aspects of the bill, which appear to give Canadian authorities and government agencies sweeping powers to set up dragnet digital surveillance, with little oversight or accountability. More importantly, though, we’re concerned that Bill C-51 will undermine trust in Canada’s technology sector, much as the Patriot Act did south of the border.
Edward Snowden may have the last word on the issue, however. He has been a huge proponent of zero-knowledge encryption and has stated repeatedly that zero-knowledge encryption is the only safeguard against government surveillance and the only way cloud providers can prove they can be trusted.
- What are the biggest concerns your existing Canadian legal clients have about cloud storage?
Canadian law firms are looking for compliance. Sync complies with all federal and provincial data privacy laws based on PIPEDA.
They’re also looking for absolute security and privacy in the cloud, to ensure their most important asset — client trust — is protected. Sync delivers on the promise of trust with zero-knowledge encryption baked into every facet of the product.
Sync is a great differentiator for Canadian law firms as well, because it demonstrates a high standard for client confidentiality and enhanced security. In fact, tens of thousands of businesses currently use Sync to improve productivity and keep their data safe, secure, and 100% private in the cloud.
- Do you have a demo or free trial?
Sync provides 5 GB of cloud storage absolutely free, with basic sharing, syncing and backup functionality included. Sync’s free plan never expires. It’s a great way to obtain hands-on experience with our desktop and mobile apps, and to see how zero-knowledge cloud storage can improve both productivity and privacy online.
Law firms that need more advanced features, such as user-based administration and file permissions, might want to consider Sync’s Pro plans, with up to 5 terabytes of storage space for as little as $49 per year, per user.