Software Spotlight: Security Minded Cloud Storage With SpiderOak
I have been holding off using SpiderOak for a long time on linux, hesitant to start shying away from Dropbox. While, I am still using Dropbox, I have now shifted my focus to SpiderOak. Why you ask? Keep reading on to get the scoop.
Spiders…Why did it have to be spiders?
SpiderOak is versatile, and I stress that in comparison to DropBox. It has hardened security baked in, and configuration options abound, enough to satisfy both beginners and more advanced users. I like the philosophy of spideroak, as evidence on their site, and the direction of the project. SpiderOak does take a few minutes more to get used to, but in the end, I think you will be more happy with it in the long run.
I need space…lots of space
Both DropBox and SpiderOak start at introductory 2GB file space limits. Both enable you to “upgrade” this limit, but for most system critical files (such as /etc configurations), the 2 GB limit has proven to be enough for me. I mainly only backup critical files, package lists, and documents. If you find an offer code to sign up and get added space on either, jump on it. SpiderOaks higher offerings reach into the 100 GB+ range, at 10 dollars per month. If you add 100 GB additional, that jumps to another 100 dollars per year (for those big data guys). 10 dollars per month for that much space isn’t too shabby…
SpiderOak, as mentioned above is pretty powerful, which you might now guess from its GUI design vs. the Terminal, CLI based tools we all know. SpiderOak does contain a WebUI, just like DropBox, but appears to be a little more simplistic, while not necessarily making it worse. Also available is an Android and iOS app to manage things on the Go.
So what makes SpiderOaks stand apart?
Why not just use DropBox you say? Security for one. I rather like SpiderOaks use of my private encryption key on my computer, putting more control in my hands vs. a fantasy “cloud server.” Also SpiderOak’s employees see *nothing* but encrypted volumes, and that data is there, but no filenames or content is exposed to them, unlike DrobBox. SpiderOak takes this game seriously and uses this as a big leverage point. The downside is, if you forget your password, even you will not be able to access those files. So as always, continue to keep a local external backup. 2 points of failure is much better than one of course. A side note on its security: the client does* save what you delete on your PC. So if document destruction is your motto, make sure you delete the “deleted files” in its recycle bin, similar to doing so on Windows, and it’s corresponding Outlook program as well.
SpiderOaks backup program is more traditional, using the “check this directory, exclude this one” vs the DropBox method of just syncing a hive folder. I prefer this method on SpiderOak so I don’t have to really separate my files out into their own folder, or let DropBox user a current folder I have. SpiderOak is also very verbose on its output, and has many options to keep on top of current gears and cogs moving around its system. Restoring with SpiderOak is just as nice, with separate accounts denoting your separate devices.
On a side note, not all* of SpiderOaks code is open and available, but much of it is, in the form of libraries and pieces of Open Source code. In the future, SpiderOaks has intents to release the source code. But until then, it is not a total OpenSource, much less “free” product.
What about OwnCloud?
OwnCloud is a “roll your own” cloud service, and relies typically on a hosted solution, such as being able to host the server on a web server you lease or own. You become totally in control, and this is ideal for lots of people. Unfortunately, many report the service tends to be slow, and I haven’t determined yet if that mostly falls on OwnCloud of my or others hosting companies.