Proton, the Swiss firm behind a variety of privacy-focused online services, has formally introduced its end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) cloud storage service to cellular.
Based in 2014, Proton was initially all about an encrypted Gmail various called Proton Mail, however within the intervening years the corporate has launched its own VPN and sought to copy varied Google providers with a privateness twist, together with a calendar which it launched on the net again in 2020 earlier than bringing it to mobile this year.
Proton additionally launched a cloud storage service to the combination on the net back in September after an prolonged beta interval, and now it’s rolling out on Android and iOS.
What’s notably notable about Proton Drive is that it’s a zero-knowledge encrypted cloud storage and file-sharing service, that means that no one exterior of the sender or recipient can intercept any information anyplace within the course of. This positions Proton Drive favorably in an area that features well-established incumbents similar to Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Dropbox. The latter of these recently announced plans to deliver E2EE to its personal cloud storage service, however that’s seemingly nonetheless a good distance off, plus it’ll solely be supplied as a perk to enterprise subscribers.
There are inherent challenges in introducing end-to-end encryption into cloud storage providers, notably throughout a number of platforms (together with the online), which works a way towards explaining why most corporations working within the area don’t provide E2EE. For starters, it requires constructing fully new frameworks for dealing with the passing of information between level A and level B with out risking exposing any of the info to the middleman service supplier. It additionally requires extra reminiscence and computing energy, and E2EE is mostly costlier because it’s harder to compress information, which in flip results in better infrastructure and storage prices.
It’s price noting that there are different E2EE cloud storage providers on the market similar to Tresorit, which was acquired by Swiss Post final yr, however Proton Drive is hoping to go a number of steps additional by way of its privateness promise.
Proton Drive, like most of Proton’s providers, ships with a primary free model that provides customers 1GB of cloud storage. Customers can improve to 500GB of encrypted storage by way of the $9.99 month-to-month Proton Limitless plan, which additionally ushers in premium incarnations of its sister merchandise together with Proton Mail, Calendar, and VPN. There’s a separate standalone Proton Drive subscription that’s out there for $3.99 monthly, which has a 200GB storage restrict.
All this has been a part of Proton’s roadmap for some time: some individuals may be blissful to pay for a privacy-focused e mail service, however many extra individuals will likely be keen to decide to a month-to-month subscription if it features a bunch of value-added providers.
Yup, bundling probably works.
Along with storage, Proton Drive additionally helps folder and file-sharing even with non-Proton Drive customers by safe hyperlinks, with the sender in a position to stipulate expiration dates and password necessities, whereas they will additionally manually revoke entry at any time.
Over and above this bundling of complementary providers, Proton is pushing the truth that it operates and owns all its personal infrastructure, relatively than counting on third-party infrastructure from the large cloud corporations. Proton’s information is saved in Switzerland and Germany.
“This enables Proton Drive’s storage infrastructure to be utterly impartial of U.S. tech giants,” Proton cofounder and CEO Andy Yen defined to TechCrunch.
Yen additionally highlighted the extent to which it has gone with its encryption efforts, together with “developments” it has made in E2EE within the browser, with no actual higher restrict on file-sizes.
“What actually units Proton Drive aside is the rigorous degree of encryption — true end-to-end encryption of not simply recordsdata and folder, but in addition filenames, extensions, and most different file metadata, and information verification by way of digital signatures,” Yen added. “[And] using our personal independently-operated cloud infrastructure.”
Proton has additionally made every of its apps open source, a course of it started some seven years in the past starting with its email service. This mainly implies that any third-party can examine its code and that it does what it says on the field.
“The open supply nature of our software program permits for impartial verification of the encryption,” Yen mentioned.
It’s price noting right here that plans are afoot for a Proton Drive desktop app sooner or later, with an early model of the Home windows app anticipated to floor for beta testers earlier than the top of 2022. The MacOS app, in the meantime, will seemingly rear its head a while within the first half of 2023.
Proton Drive quietly rolled out for all Android users over the weekend, and it’s out there for iOS users as of right now.