The idea of the Tresorit service, which offers client-side encryption for secure file sharing, was formed by academics but very quickly gained attention among both professionals and investors. The Budapest company, which was founded to develop and distribute the solution aspires to global presence.(X)
István Lám, who had been studying file sharing and encryption, and two partners, young researchers of the Budapest Technical University (BME), together with Levente Buttyán, senior lecturer and head of BME’s CrySyS Laboratory founded their company in 2011 after patenting a solution to encrypt cloud-based file sharing services.
"These services allow you to access files anywhere, on any device and also to cut costs by eliminating the need for internal server capacity. This is why corporate clients like to use it too", says István Lám, CEO of Tresorit Ltd. "Other widely used services like Dropbox entail a lot of risks in terms of the security of the shared content, as the uploaded information may be accessed by unauthorized users. Some service providers offer secure cloud but this only means that the users, through a safe connection, upload files to be encrypted only later, on the server of the service provider. Unauthorized users may get access to the files before encryption or even after, using the encryption keys stored by the service provider."
Encryption and cooperation
Tresorit on the other hand offers encryption on the client's side, which means the files are encrypted on the user's device before they are uploaded and may be viewed or edited in the cloud by authorized users only.
"The special feature of our service is that it is possible to share the files even after encryption on the user's side among the members of a group, who can be flexibly added to or deleted from the list of authorized members as needed" - explains Mr Lám.
Tresorit, just like Dropbox works in the file manager of the operating system, it keeps the selected folders in sync with the cloud and allows managing the access rights on the folder level. The files copied into the folder get encrypted before the software uploads them into the cloud.
"Different levels of access rights may be set, you can determine who can give or withdraw rights within the group, or who can view or edit the files", adds the CEO. "A further feature of our service is that the files don't need to be encrypted again for sharing, only when a user is denied the right to access."
The team of Tresorit has presented their product at domestic and international fairs and the solution won a number of honored international awards and prizes, such as the Global Security Challenge European prize or the Intel Challenge Eastern-European final. Besides the professional scene, venture investors also became interested, so the company, now with 15 members, could start preparing market entry with the backing of the Euroventures IV venture capital investment fund and nine private investors in 2012.
Free and specialized services
The public beta version of Tresorit is available on the company's website. It runs on Windows OS but it will be available soon on iOS, Android and OS X as well. The beta version can be used with Google Drive and the communication between clients is provided by the servers run by Tresorit on the Microsoft Azure platform.
"The beta version of our services is completely free and we are planning to provide free services for small-scale file sharing in the future too", says István Lám. "We are going to provide our own secure storage space in the cloud for business users and the service will also be available in private clouds. The advanced edition available for a subscription fee will provide additional features, such as mobile device protection, or the remote deletion of encryption keys and files stored on them."
Tresorit, aspiring to international presence, offers solutions for small and medium sized enterprises which have less access to suitable file encryption solutions, as well as for big companies and organizations with special activities which demand very strict file security.
"In the business world data encrypted by employees may be a security risk if used for leaking sensitive information" adds the CEO. "So we are working on a solution that allows the restoration of the encrypted documents in the presence of authorized managers. We are also planning to launch industry-specific editions of our service which will help organizations to be more aligned with legal requirements."