Tech people are probably used to the idea that we’ll have our memories and photos stored online. Sure, we have it in the backs of our mind that it’ll all be on some dusty hard drive somewhere we can access in the nursing home – at least we HOPE that’s the case. At the same time, very few people know how to store something in the cloud for a very long time – other than hoping Google Drive might still be around in the era of flying cars, 150 years old people and teleportation.
But services for very long term cloud infrastructure storage for enterprises is a big business. Few companies have set out to do the same for the ordinary person in the street. Long-term storage is usually considered an enterprise product, with very different characteristics. Thus, Evault from Seagate recently announced the EVault Long-Term Storage Service, for instance.
And most people think about backups, not storage. This is good for the “next day” after a failure, but rarely good in thirty years time.
So business documents, research data and kids photos, plus the accompanying issues of encryption, plus storage media and technology obsolescence, not to mention financial commitment… well it all adds up to a problem.
A new startup, Longaccess, is making a big promise: to securely and privately store files, so that the user never has to to do anything about them again. Founded in 2013 in Athens, Greece, Longaccess’ idea is to offer prepaid storage and access for 30 years.
Users don’t have to pay again (after the upfront cost) and they don’t have to migrate their files as technology evolves. And it comes with a printed Certificate to be used even if something happens to the files, by their kids or business associates or lawyer. Think of it like a safe deposit box in a bank. (We’ll get to the printed thing in a moment).
Today LongAccess releases a new feature that allows you to copy files directly from Dropbox to Longaccess.
Now, there is some competition. Small startups like SixSafe and Holdon.to (yet to launch) are looking at this market already. And Sony’s “Archival Disk” could well be a competing product, when and if it’s available on the market. But the jury is still out.
The LongAccess founders say they started Longaccess in the first place because – as we know – in 10 or 20 years even DVD drives will be obsolete, as will USB disks.
So the details: Pricing starts from Free for one year for 250MB. Then €7 for 30 years for a 1GB capsule, up to €100GB capsule for 30 years for €399 (that’s €13.3 per year).
The average cost per GB is low because the company uses cold storage. In addition, files are encrypted on the client side using AES256 encryption and a randomly generated key that is never shared with the service itself.
Once an archive upload is complete, the application generates a unique certificate: a text file containing the archive ID and the encryption key. You then print the Certificate and the hard copy acts as a physical token that makes it easy to access these digital rights for the long term. No passwords, no emails, etc – just the certificate.
Users can keep the Certificate in digital format (it’s just an HTML file), but the hardcopy of the the Certificate ID key could be printed on paper or even engraved into metal or stone. However they want to keep it.
“We are not competing with other cloud storage services, like Dropbox or SkyDrive”, Panayotis Vryonis, Longaccess CEO, told us. “I use them every day for saving, editing and sharing, they are my workbench. Longaccess, on the other hand, is more like a safe deposit box at a bank: it’s not as convenient for everyday use, but if you want to go the extra mile, you can be sure that whatever you put in it, will be safe, secure and your kids will find it.”
The company has raised €210,000 in total, largely lead by Greece-based Openfund.