Remote-access vendor LogMeIn is playing on its security credentials as it targets small businesses with Cubby, a cloud and local file-syncing tool that is, in the words of its Australian head, designed to "out-Dropbox Dropbox".
Those are fighting words as LogMeIn, long known for its tools allowing for remote access to desktops across the Internet, enters a market that has become increasingly clouded with contenders for the throne of Dropbox, whose name has become synonymous with the cloud file-syncing market it helped to create. Dropbox hit the 100 million user mark last November, and is continuing to grow despite competing offerings from Apple, Google, Microsoft and myriad smaller players.
As that company painfully found out last year when an employee's account was compromised and a flood of spam sent to Dropbox users – and in 2011, when a Dropbox error with the handling of file-storage hashes left users' files exposed online for four hours. That and other breaches have been picked by observers as symptomatic of lingering security concerns around the cloud-syncing model.
Despite lingering security concerns, companies recognise the productivity boost they provide and are allowing employees to use them in corporate environments regardless, a LogMeIn survey found in December.
With the full availability of its Cubby file-syncing tool, the company is targeting Dropbox's weak spots – not only by offering 5GB of storage on free accounts against Dropbox's 2GB, but by adding a number of security protections that Asia-Pacific vice president Andy Farquharson says should make it particularly attractive to companies with dispersed workgroups.
"If you're trying to make something that's really open and accessible, you're going to have to take some hits when it comes to security," he told CSO Australia. "The challenge we had was trying to come across both – and we think we've done a great job in creating a tool that appeals to both consumers and enterprise."
One such feature, DirectSync, bypasses concerns about data sovereignty – which remains a major issue for many organisations worried about putting sensitive data into the cloud – by directly linking specified file folders on the computers of many workgroup participants. Files are directly synchronised between the systems, bypassing any sort of centralised cloud storage and minimising the risk that data can be compromised while stored in the cloud.
DirectSync is part of the Cubby Pro file-syncing service, which Farquaharson says will appeal to SMBs looking for a more-secure way to share files. In situ 256-bit encryption, and 'Cubby Locks' that provide password protection and other tight controls over who can access certain data, all allow organisations to control access to their information. Building on LogMeIn's existing user authentication capabilities – which power its LogMeIn and join.me remote-access tools – Farquharson believes SMBs will appreciate the higher level of security.
"Because we've built our own data centre, we're able to protect users' data through all the steps of the syncing," he explains, noting that Dropbox relies on the availability and security of Amazon Web Services' Simple Storage Service (S3) platform, where it stores all customer information. "It's all about trying to give the additional functionality to enable granularity and control for the SMB market."