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Privacy Tech | Encrypted file sharing tool puts emphasis on usability, sharing Related reading: With blockchain, there's a lot of hype, but a lot of potential, too

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When discussing his product, Tresorit Co-Founder & Head of Product Gyorgy Szilagyi kept reiterating the importance of usability. That's because usability is what Szilagyi cites as one of the reasons Tresorit is a compelling product for enterprises needing to share sensitive files and other information.

Tresorit is a platform designed to allow users to share documents with others through end-to-end encryption. Szilagyi wanted to create a platform to give privacy professionals a tool employees can use to securely share documents, while ensuring they do not put their company at risk if a device is lost or stolen.

“Encryption shouldn’t be something only a hacker can do. It should be something that anyone using a workstation in their daily lives should be able to use effectively,” Szilagyi said. “You shouldn’t have to understand crypto in order to use these products.”

Szilagyi allowed Privacy Tech to try out their platform to see firsthand how it is done. Users get started by creating a tresor—an encrypted file located on the platform allowing users to upload files to the cloud. Then, they have the ability to upload up to 1 terabyte of files.

For the demo, I took it upon myself to upload all sorts of files, ranging from Word documents and slideshows to PDFs and music files. All uploads took a matter of seconds before appearing in my tresor, and the platform even allowed me to upload multiple files at the same time, though upload speed slowed down if too many files were uploaded at once. I guess 50 Word documents is a bit of a hassle.

When discussing the core values in developing Tresorit, Szilagyi emphasized the importance of security and privacy. It is why Szilagyi touted the type of encryption within the platform.

Tresorit's web platform.

Tresorit's web platform

Every file sent through Tresorit is encrypted by the customers’ computer. Szilagyi said the company ensured whatever is uploaded to the platform is only seen by the user and with whomever they have shared their files.

“We think it is important to provide a truly zero-knowledge environment,” Szilagyi said. “By zero knowledge, we mean that no one, not even us as a provider, has access to the consumers’ files. We don’t store and do not know the customers’ passwords.”

Sharing was another key component Szilagyi mentioned when discussing the platform. Users have the ability to share tresors by either inviting other individuals to become members via email or sharing a link to take them directly to the encrypted files. The files are only decrypted when users are given the opportunity to access the tresor. Szilagyi said there are other ways to make sure file sharing is done in a secure manner, especially when handing out URLs.

“When you are sharing via a link, you are able to make this more secure with the addition of a password, you may the limit the number of downloads for a given link, and you can add an expiration date for the URL,” Szilagyi said.

Tresorit has three levels of permission controls. The owner of an account has the ability to create and delete tresors, add and remove members, change permissions, and transfer ownership. A manager can add and remove who can view a tresor but cannot add other managers, delete tresors, or change the permission of a manager or owner. Finally, an editor/viewer only has the ability to add, view and sync files.

Tresorit also has its own mobile app, which I downloaded during my demo. While uploading files from my computer, I surveyed the app to see how much time it took before the items appeared on my iPhone. Overall, it was nearly instantaneous.

I was able to upload and access the files on my phone. I even downloaded Aerosmith’s seminal classic “Dream On,” not realizing it was going to play the second it was finished. I can safely report that no one in the IAPP office was distracted by the great Joe Perry.

Tresorit on the iPhone

Tresorit on the iPhone

Szilagyi pointed out that there are few options for companies wishing to have a centralized place to store their files, with many turning to Dropbox and Google Drives instead.

Tresorit has two-thirds of its customers in Europe, meaning the EU General Data Protection Regulation is on the minds of everyone at the company. Szilagyi said Tresorit's product was in motion before the GDPR was announced and is ready to help companies comply with the impending rules.

“We keep an eye on all the GDPR requirements,” Tresorit PR Manager Eszter Szilva said. “The GDPR recommends encryption as one of the safeguards for data, so everything we are doing in terms of PHI control and adding more control for the admin is done by keeping an eye on the GDPR control requirements.”

Szilagyi said the company has come a long way since only being available on Windows systems. It had originally been a consumer-focused product, but it wasn’t the company’s intention to focus only on consumers. That’s because when Tresorit first started, it lacked the features and resources needed to support enterprises.

Now Tresorit is in a spot where they can help clients in ways it envisioned from the start.

“We always knew that we want to be a business and enterprise partner, because that is where privacy and security matters and is appreciated the most, and people have a willingness to pay for that,” Szilagyi said.

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