We’ve had products before that have gone to waste because nobody would use them. But everyone has bought into using Tresorit.
“Service is our duty”: a mid-size department with a big challenge
Tony VonDerHaar has served as a detective at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department in Northern Kentucky for almost three decades. In 2001, he was assigned to investigate crimes involving electronic devices. With a deep understanding of the inner workings of the agency, he set his mind on finding a solution for a serious challenge he and his colleagues faced in their day-to-day operations. Well, two challenges, actually. “We constantly moved data back and forth between departments within the agency and external agencies. People kept asking around for thumb drives and external hard drives, borrowed them and, of course, you never saw them again.” Tony recalls. The far bigger issue was, of course, the safety of the highly sensitive information they needed to share.
“As a law enforcement agency, we have a lot of investigative, open case files, ranging from homicide to drug cases and child pornography. We often need to get them to the prosecutor’s office or to another agency,” he explains on a more sombre note. Which is what you’d expect from a sheriff’s office that serves some 132,000 residents as well as an estimated daytime work and travel population of 250,000 to 300,000 people on any given day. Not to mention that crimes, and as a result, related investigations, often reach well beyond county or state borders. “A case might start in Kentucky and then goes across the US for another agency to follow up on and vice versa. In the past, we put what we couldn’t email on a CD or DVD, which of course wasn’t the most secure way to send information.”
Safe and sound: Tresorit rolled out and put to use
“There must be better and safer ways to do this,” Tony thought to himself and started looking at secure cloud services. With his agency being a mid-size sheriff department in Kentucky, his aim was to find a solution that wasn’t just super secure but also affordable and easy to navigate. As an expert on cybercrime, Tony has a technical background to deal with open-source software, but the agency employs a diverse group of people with very different levels of computer literacy. “I started checking out paid options. Then I found Tresorit and the customer service was phenomenal. The account manager held our hand throughout the implementation and made sure that we completely understand how the product can be used,” the detective says.
The team got the hang of it without any trouble, especially younger and tech-savvy team members. Those who needed a bit more time to adjust were supplied with a handy step-by-step guide and could refer to Tresorit’s video tutorials. Everyone had the chance to sit in on the webinars Tresorit organised to answer users’ questions and give advice on how to make the most of the file storage and sync solution. “After the free trial was over, we all agreed that this was something we would actually use and decided to go ahead with it. It’s been great so far. Our account manager reaches out every few months to ask how things are going or if we have any issues or questions. He also keeps us posted about new and upcoming features. This is extremely helpful.”
Added bonus: better collaboration between detectives and departments
Today, more than twenty members of the investigative unit use tresors to store, sync and share files. “Automatic encryption is the most important aspect for us. Plus, we know exactly what IP address downloaded the transferred data, how many times, when and from what location. It’s incredible,” Tony explains. The zero-knowledge, end-to-end encryption feature has proven to be of tremendous help to them, especially when giving out case reports. “We needed confirmation that people had received the information sent to them. In the past, we would mail something out, which wasn't the most secure way to do it, even if it was sealed with evidence tape and sent as certified mail through our postal service,” the detective recalls.
The solution, especially the mobile app, has turned out to have other benefits, too.
Tony says: “Our primary focus was basically moving data from one person to another securely and getting a receipt. One of the things we’d never even thought of was the ability to take photographs and scan documents, then send them right into Tresorit’s encrypted cloud.” Since they started using this feature, the collaboration between investigators has become safer, smoother and more efficient. In more complex cases, detectives are often working in the field, each taking care of their own piece of the puzzle. The head case detective sets up a tresor where all the data is collected, from photos of license plates to suspect contact information, so detectives can easily pull up anything they need through their phones. “We’ve had products before that have gone to waste because nobody would use them. But everyone has bought into using Tresorit.”
Interested in learning more secure file sharing?
The second-largest sheriff’s office in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office employs 174 sworn deputies serving in the Patrol Division and Traffic Unit, Criminal Investigations, Court Services or as School Resource Officers.
Using unreliable methods to store and share information
Working with extremely sensitive data relating to criminal investigations
Diverse staff with different levels of technical skills
Several collaborators without a safe way to exchange knowledge
Zero-knowledge, end-to-end encryption for maximum security
Intuitive software that fits all levels of proficiency
Collaboration made safe and easy both with internal and external parties
Elimination of risky file-sharing methods