We’re all becoming increasingly reliant on consumer cloud services, as cloud storage providers like Dropbox make it easy to share and store files, folders, images, sync between platforms, and more. They make our lives easier, but because they store an enormous amount of potentially sensitive data, there are some inherent risks. While Dropbox is for personal use, it and services like it are increasingly being used by businesses — another example of the ongoing consumerization of enterprise and IT.
It’s also true that most people want their data in their cloud service to be synced across all platforms on which they have the app installed, mobile, desktop, etc. So, with individuals and companies storing sensitive data in the cloud, cross-sync can make for some potential security problems, and it’s not really something you want to do at work.
That’s why virtualization provider AppSense has created DataNow Vault, a set of mobile and desktop apps for iOS, Windows and Mac that enable users to encrypt sensitive information in their Dropbox accounts for free — without giving up the convenience of cross-platform syncing.
DataNow Vault is the first product from “AppSense Labs,” the company’s new research arm, which is dedicated to building consumer-friendly solutions around cloud, mobile, and data that work within traditional IT infrastructure. As the boundaries between personal and professional computing are blurring, AppSense Labs will look to ride that wave with new products that capitalize on this transition, making it easier on consumers and enterprise, piece by piece.
And to that point, DataNow Vault is a great first step in alleviating some of the worry over the security of our personal information as it moves about the cloud. With the advent of Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, businesses will have to decide whether these proprietary clouds are something they want to adopt. In iCloud’s case, user accounts are tied to Apple not to businesses, which may lead to some businesses balking at using the service to share sensitive company information.
This is where DataNow Vault could really come in handy. For now, it’s focused on Dropbox, but there’s potential for it to move beyond Dropbox, even if iCloud/SkyDrive integration isn’t in the cards. Businesses want to use friendly cloud services, and encryption of sensitive data is key to encouraging further adoption.
As to how the app works? It’s fairly straightforward, users simply install the app and link it to their Dropbox accounts, at which point they can upload new files, protect them instantly, while browsing and viewing existing and protected Dropbox files.
For more, check out the iOS app here.
Update: We’ve received word as of February 5th, 2013, that AppSense has settled a trademark suit with Data Locker, Inc. and has agreed to change the name of this product to DataNow Vault. The product was initially called DataLocker (and thus it was listed in the headline and the post as such) but going forward, AppSense will use the name “DataNow Vault.” More in AppSense’s new product page here.