A pioneer of secure cloud storage, Wuala announced today that it is closing its service after 7 years. Its founders Dominik Grolimund and Luzius Meisser, who have started new ventures a few years ago, deserve praise for what they started. They have been a source of inspiration for European tech entrepreneurs and cryptographers alike. We also wish good luck to the team who developed Wuala in the past years.
We can do no more than finish what they started – secure the cloud. We share Wuala’s belief that storing and sharing files securely should not be the privilege of techies, but a right of any businesses and individual.
We are proud that Wuala recommends Tresorit to their users to keep their files safe after Wuala shuts down.
Everyone in our team is prepared and committed to deliver an excellent service. We even developed a tool to help users migrate data securely from Wuala to Tresorit in collaboration with Wuala engineers.
I’d like to extend my personal welcome to Wuala users who chose Tresorit.
Why was Wuala groundbreaking?
Launched in 2008 as a university project from ETH Zürich, Wuala was way ahead of its time. Before the public actually heard about cloud, they were already thinking one step ahead – how to store data without giving up control over it to a cloud provider.
When they launched their peer-to-peer cloud storage, data was stored both by Wuala users and Wuala servers. One could even have traded their local storage for free cloud storage.
They came up with a way to ensure zero-knowledge security* – preventing even their own admins from accessing data. This is something that today’s gigantic cloud providers still haven’t figured out. Even before security breaches at Dropbox and other services alerted the public to the dangers of the cloud, Wuala proved that there was need for a more secure solution. In a way, it pioneered today’s thriving cloud storage security market.
With a large community of users, especially in Europe, a growing business customer base and first mover advantage on this market, they had everything going for them.
* this was even more important because of their innovative, „social” storage system – storing a part of everyone’s data on the computer’s of other users.
What’s next for security in the cloud?
As everyone keeps saying, the price of storage is plummeting to 0, but new cloud storage companies seem to crop up daily. The key problem is that you can’t build your business on storage. Sure, industry experts advise building added value on top of storage. But what constitutes enough added value? Is providing zero-knowledge security enough of a competitive advantage?
If the market is any judge, the answer is yes. Cloud security is on the rise – from Zscaler’s $100 million round to Box’s attempt at providing some security for their enterprise clients. Forums, blogs and news sites are full of questions and advice on the subject. It’s not just enterprises any more – small and medium businesses and everyday individuals are fed up with being afraid of getting hacked, or losing control over their files. It may have seemed like a slow minority before Snowden, but by now, it’s growing into an ever louder crowd. And it will keep growing after each new breach or news of surveillance.
Every technology moves along the technology adoption lifecycle. After a brief period of use by enthusiastic techies and early adopters, it inevitably needs to gain traction with a larger audience. And this audience looks not just for a certain benefit. It wants new services without giving up the convenience it’s used to with its current solutions.
Secure cloud storage vendors need to provide a level of convenience on par with Dropbox-like, non-encrypted solutions. We have a chance to learn from what made Wuala successful, and take secure storage mainstream. To succeed, all of us need to change the manistream definition of cutting-edge security.
At Tresorit we know that adequate key lengths and cryptography done right is extremely important. But we believe a polished user experience is just as important. We believe that there shouldn’t be a trade-off between zero-knowledge and convenience.
I’m confident we can pull it off. We just launched browser-based, zero-knowledge storage, access and sharing – something that almost no one else has managed to do. There are other exciting news which I hope we’ll be able to share soon.