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Sync – Is it Time to Drop Dropbox?

Share files online with Sync, an online file sharing service that does two things better than any other platform out there. Read on:

Online file sharing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box are indispensable right now. Unfortunately, that also means we’re at their mercy when it comes to handling our data privacy when we share and store files online.

Or are we?

Today, let’s take a closer look at an online file sharing service that I think solves this problem: Sync.

sync privacy

Like me, Sync is based in Canada. Their prime directive, aside from being an outstanding file sharing service like the others, is to respect our privacy. 

But is privacy really THAT much of an issue? Well, let's have a quick conversation about privacy. 

Why You Should Share Files Online With Sync

Sync has summarized things for us quite nicely in a white paper that talks about privacy. Basically, they tell us exactly how the different main services respect our privacy. 

A closer look at Dropbox’s Terms of Service

Check out Dropbox’s own Terms of Service (ToS) as of April 2019.

There are two particularly alarming parts here:

  1. “We need your permission to do things like hosting your stuff, backing it up and sharing it when you ask us to. Our services also provide you with features like photo thumbnails, document previews, commenting, easy sorting, editing, sharing and searching. These and other features may require our systems to access, store and scan your stuff.”
  2. “We have the right to extend that courtesy to our affiliates and other third parties we work with.”

Most of the other services do the same kind of thing. 

Sync, on the other hand doesn't allow anybody to see any of your data. It’s really as simple as that.

Sync encrypts your data at source. As soon as you upload a file to Sync, it's encrypted.

The best part? Only you have the decryption key. So even if somebody else gets your data, it's useless to them because they can’t use it.

Furthermore, Sync’s servers are located in Canada. Here, we have very powerful privacy laws. What if other nations ask for access to your information? Even if it's totally legal in that nation, it doesn't carry any weight in Canada. 

If you think about it, all of these services are going to do a good job of uploading and downloading files, and allowing you to share files with others. After all, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

But I don't know of any other service that's going to protect your privacy the way that Sync does—and to me, that’s why it deserves a closer look.

A Quick Tour of Sync

Before we take you on a quick tour through Sync itself, let’s look at how file sharing services work, so that you can understand the similarities Sync has with other platforms.

On your local desktop, you have a folder that contains the files that you want to upload and have access to online. Any files you drag into that folder are going to be automatically synced or copied to the online servers, which in turn allow you to access those files from other devices. In a nutshell, that’s how online file sharing works. 

Now you can designate some of those files as shared files so that you can share them with others. So with a simple web link, they can then access or download those files themselves. And as mentioned earlier, the difference with Sync is that extra layer of encrypted protection.

There are a number of ways that you can manage all of your different Sync files. 

First, you can open up your Sync account in any web browser. Just log in, and you have access to your entire Sync account. Actually, I have all of my administration files now stored on Sync. Because of Sync’s encryption, I feel comfortable with the entire process. 

I'm also using Sync for sharing our videos because my account has a lot of storage. It’s great for sharing files with my team members when we’re editing videos, for example.

There’s also a Sync desktop app. It appears on the toolbar at the very top of my Mac (same as it would in Windows.) Here’s where we can actually choose to open the folder and control all of the different aspects of Sync through the desktop app. Any files I drag and drop in the folder will then be shared to the online service. 

Preferences in Sync

In Preferences, you can specify where your local home folder is stored, like an external drive. 

You can also manage all of the other account settings (e.g. changing your password).

It also lets you check if you have large files that are being uploaded or downloaded. 

Meanwhile, the Advanced tab lets you determine exactly which files are going to be synced online and which ones will just be stored locally. 

This last feature is extremely useful if you want to keep some files locally stored instead of syncing them to the cloud because of file size or privacy concerns. 

Also, Sync is currently compliant with all of the different privacy laws in the world (or at least in the Western world), including GDPR. 

Recognizing philosophically how Sync approaches privacy, I think you can feel very secure that moving ahead, as countries create new privacy laws, Sync will continue to comply (and thus keep you compliant as well).

In terms of functionality, Sync can go toe to toe with the best online file sharing tools out there. However, it does two things better than the other services do:

  1. It protects your privacy aggressively. 
  2. It lets you pay in Canadian money, which means you’ll actually save money. 

Those are two compelling reasons to have a good, solid look at Sync. 

You can watch the full tutorial on our YouTube channel by clicking this link. Also, join our Webinar Wednesdays and learn new things every week by clicking here.

Have fun storming the castle!

Online file sharing services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are terrific tools that are indispensable for many of us, however, we should all be conscious of what these services do with the information that we upload to them.

Our privacy might not be as private as we want when using these services, and it's important as customers, consumers, and clients to demand stronger privacy protections as more of our personal and professional life is stored online every day.

Is there an alternative to the big name services which will also protect our privacy?

I think so, it's called Sync (affiliate link) and we're going to take a look at it together!

Sync.com (Affiliate Link)

Private…Until It Isn't

Before we look at how and why Sync is a more secure alternative to the most popular file sharing and storage services it might help to look at an example of what it's competitors say about your privacy.

This is an excerpt from the Dropbox Terms of Service, pertinent sections underlined.

“We need your permission to do things like hosting Your Stuff, backing it up, and sharing it when you ask us to…These and other features may require our systems to access, store, and scan Your Stuff. You give us permission to do those things, and this permission extends to our affiliates and trusted third parties we work with.”

Dropbox defines “Your Stuff” as including all content, files, messages, and contacts stored on Dropbox. This means that not only can Dropbox access and scan your information but that DropBox can share your data with affiliates and third parties, whose identity is not publicly available.

Dropbox says “Your Stuff is yours” and that their terms don't give them any right to the information you upload, but giving themselves the right to access that information undermines the very principle of privacy.

Effectively, your privacy is yours until it's theirs.

That's not good enough for me, and I don't think it is good enough for many of us, so let's see what separates Sync from the rest of the pack.

Sync and Respecting Your Privacy

Sync does not allow anybody to see any of your data. How?

Encryption.

Sync encrypts your data at the source, which means it is encrypted the moment it is uploaded to their servers. Oh, and those servers are located in Canada which has some of the most strict and robust privacy laws in the world. Sync is compliant with every Federal and Provincial privacy regulation in Canada, as well as US, UK, and GDPR laws.

Nobody can access your data without your encryption key. Not Sync themselves, and certainly not some shadowy unnamed third party.

That's more than good enough, that's great.

Using Sync

You can access Sync either through the desktop app or through your browser. The desktop app allows you to customize your experience by determining where the files will be stored, perhaps on a Network Attached Storage Device or just on your desktop hard drive. It also makes it very easy for you to decide which files will be synced to their server. You can uncheck any folders any time and they will no longer be available on the server making it easy to determine what you share and when you share it.

There are a lot of options for file sharing and storage services and they all work very well. Sync is their equal in every way but does 2 things which the others just do not do; it aggressively protects your privacy, and they actually allow Canadians to pay in Canadian dollars which saves us money!

Whichever service you use just be sure to read up on what your rights are, and importantly what the service can do with the information you upload to them. As long as you're comfortable with that, that's great!

Until next time,

Have fun storming the castle!

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