When we’re doing due diligence on a company, we share these files with Tresorit. Features like setting expiration dates for share links and making email verification mandatory are extremely useful to us.
Unicorns rising: helping Singaporean startups kick off business growth
Since the early 2010s, the Singaporean startup landscape has seen a real boom. The number of local tech startups skyrocketed to some 4,000 in 2017, thanks to the Lion City’s nurturing business environment, generous government backing and tight-knit entrepreneurial network. No wonder that VCs have got a little investment-happy lately, having poured USD 7.3 billion into local startups in 2017 alone. The tiny island-state has given the world four unicorns, no less, collectively valued at a staggering USD 12 billion. There’s no shortage of incubator and accelerator programmes either, providing budding ventures with much-needed access to industry knowledge and experience, mentoring and advice, clients and investors, as well as peripheral services and funding. And that’s exactly what Claus J. Karthe and his team at Singapore-based German Entrepreneurship Asia do.
As part of the German Entrepreneurship group, German Entrepreneurship Asia aims at connecting the innovation ecosystems of Asia and Europe, and foster cross-border synergies between startups, investors and established players. One of their programs for example, German Accelerator, is a five months growth acceleration program supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. “We are small and nimble, but a global organisation. We have offices all over the world – Munich and Berlin, in the US, Silicon Valley, Boston and New York, and in Singapore - but essentially, we’re independent groups. Our operation almost entirely relies on project-based collaboration. People come together and work on different assignments in teams, for example, building relevant acceleration concepts for the German government. Another example is when a specific marketing project is finished, the team dissolves, and soon we’re on to the next one,” Claus J. Karthe, CEO and Founder of German Entrepreneurship Asia, explains.
Better together: making collaboration smoother and more secure
Of course, where there’s collaboration, storing, accessing and sharing files will always be an essential part of doing business. One that’s better done in the fastest, smoothest and most secure way possible. Last year, Claus began looking around for potential cloud storage providers – and had his fair share of trial and error. Like many others, he started out using Dropbox and Google Drive. But once he had done some research on how safe Dropbox actually was, he decided to switch to a German startup that offered an end-to-end encryption solution for cloud storage providers. “Their tool kind of worked but it was quite complicated. I came across Tresorit by accident and was happy to give it a go. I had first created a private account, which I’ve had for about two years now, and tested it on my own devices to see how it worked before I moved on to deploying it at the company,” he recalls.
His two main concerns were synchronisation and data security in the cloud. Luckily, Tresorit’s cloud solution has ticked both boxes. “We basically use Tresorit as our big hard disc drive. Every single document we have in the company is stored in tresors, including our financial data. We don’t even have local copies of them. External partners, like our accountant, can use our shared folders, too. Of course, not everyone has access to every single tresor. We have many different tresors, all with different access settings,” Claus explains. He and his team can easily add people who work on the same project to relevant folders and documents, which sync in the cloud in real time. There was another plus he noticed early on. “Tresorit’s solution is very bandwidth-efficient, unlike Google Drive, which eats up your data plan like it’s nothing - even if you don’t do much with it. Try to use it on your mobile and check your data usage, you’ll be surprised. That was a major let-down for me,” he warns.
A local problem: using tresors for maximum safety and compliance
He also thinks that the level of data security Tresorit offers is hard to beat, if not impossible. And data protection is certainly no afterthought for an organisation that stores other companies’ most sensitive information. “I’m an advisor on venture capital. I work with startups every day and they share a lot of confidential information with us, including their intellectual property, business plans, projections and finances. These are documents that you definitely don’t want to see leaked. When we’re doing due diligence on a company, we share these files via tresors, so features like setting expiration dates for share links and making email verification mandatory are extremely useful to us,” Claus explains. Data security is almost a non-issue for them now. Client-side end-to-end encryption, a key feature of Tresorit’s cloud solution, is the most secure way to store data: files are encrypted before they even get uploaded to the cloud, with the key known only to the user’s client and those they share the file with.
“I generally believe in technology, but I have my doubts about what happens when it gets into the wrong hands. And I’ve seen many worrying examples, where technology was being used for malicious purposes. The fact that all our information is stored on European servers was another major selling point for us,” Claus says. In the wake of the implementation of GDPR, data residency is shaping up to be a major headache for businesses across the globe. Tresorit’s servers are located in the European Union, protected with best-in-class physical security and disaster prevention systems. User files and metadata are all sitting in bulletproof Azure data centres, constantly guarded against unauthorised access. Plus, Tresorit is certified for ISO 27001 and ensures compliance with the stringent rules of GDPR, HIPAA and other data security and data protection regulations. “At the end of the day, I think data protection should be a concern for all of us. What it shouldn’t be is a challenge,” Claus adds.
Interested in learning more about data security in the cloud? Check out the following materials:
German Entrepreneurship Asia connects the innovation ecosystems of Asia and Europe to drive cross-border synergies between startups, investors and established businesses. Some of their corporate innovation clients include BMW, Siemens and Volkswagen. Located in Singapore, the very heart of the Asian startup scene, the organisation maintains strong ties to the ASEAN countries through partnerships with private companies and government agencies.
Germany & Singapore
Storing and sharing extremely sensitive information using unsecure services
Project-based operation that requires seamless collaboration
Different users need different levels of permission to shared folders
Concerns about cloud data security and GDPR
Seamless collaboration among colleagues and with external partners
Bulletproof data protection for startups’ sensitive business information
Real-time synchronisation across devices
Easy to manage files and contributors with varying access