What do you do when you want to synchronize your files to the cloud, but you don’t want the cloud service to have access to them and you don’t (no offense to my wonderful American readers) want them stored in the United States?
For years this was my “rainbow unicorn” I was searching for – a Canadian Dropbox alternative.
How Sync.com Works
If you’ve used other file synchronization services, using Sync.com will be familiar.
You download the Mac or Windows client, and a folder is created on your computer called Sync. Anything you save in that folder is automatically copied up to the Sync.com server, and if you have the Sync.com application loaded on another computer, your files will automatically appear on that other device.
You can also log in via a web browser, and everything will be accessible there.
So far, other than the fact that they give you 5GB free instead of 2, this all seems pretty similar to Dropbox. What’s the difference?
Sync.com is promoting their security and positioning themselves as a “zero knowledge” service. What does this mean? In their words:
“Zero-knowledge” means we absolutely cannot access the encrypted data stored on our servers. Your data is completely safeguarded from unauthorized access, which is the only way you can completely trust the cloud. Protecting your right to privacy is our passion.
* End-to-end, client-side encryption on all your files, in transit and at rest
* Only you have access to the encryption keys
* We don’t store your password – it’s never transmitted to us
* File meta-data is also encrypted and only accessible by you
They talk about this more on their privacy page and there’s a whitepaper, if you’re interested.
It’s Aboot Time There Is A Canadian Sync Service
I had been searching for a solid Canadian Dropbox alternative for ages.
No offence intended to my wonderful friends south of the 49th, but many people up here prefer to have their data remain in Canada as much as possible. This particularly applies to those who work with client data such as those in the legal and financial industries.
Sync.com’s data centers are in Ontario. This doesn’t mean that you need to be Canadian to use the service, but for those that are concerned about that sort of thing, it’s good to know.
When I originally wrote this post back in 2013, there was very limited sharing ability and no mobile apps. Thankfully this has now changed.
In the mobile app you can access your files and share them. You can also set a PIN lock.
One big omission on the iOS app: I couldn’t find a way to save a PDF (via Open In… or any other method) to the Sync app. It seems(?) that you can only save Photos and Videos from the Camera Roll.
Starting with Version 1.1.6, you can now generate a sharing link right from Windows File Explorer or the Mac’s Finder.
Once you choose Share Sync Link, the link is copied to your clipboard.
Speaking of Share Links, there is one downside to the way they implemented that functionality. In order for someone to download using the Share Link, they need to have Flash installed or they will get this message:
This isn’t a problem if your recipient uses Google Chrome, but might be otherwise. Flash is becoming more and more rare. Hopefully they can come up with another solution for downloading encrypted files soon.
They have many other features at the Free and Pro ($49/year) that you can read about here.
These minor suggestions aside, so far I have really liked using Sync and it is popular with some users in the Paperless Document Organization Guide Facebook group.
If you are looking for a potentially more secure Dropbox alternative, Sync.com is worth a look.
That’s a referral code. If you use it, I will get 1 GB additional space and so will you. Win win. ↩