Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

What people are saying about SpiderOak (Pt. 3)

Over the past few days, we’ve been highlighting what our users are saying about us. In case you missed it, you can view our posts from Friday and yesterday.

We appreciate SpiderOak users, and one of our favorite things is getting to know you. Our loyal customers and fellow privacy fanatics have continually helped us create a better product and develop and grow as a company.

Cody, the pharmacy student:

Konrad, the computer geek:

“I came across SpiderOak a few days ago and gave it a bit of testing. I absolutely love the pricing plans, especially with the student discount. As a fellow computer geek, I also really appreciate all the security features. You are doing an awesome job as far as doing things properly is concerned.”

Alexej, the savvy solution-seeker:

“Back before I discovered SpiderOak, I was feeling the need to set up some kind of backup and sync between my work and home computer. I never, ever would store any data that is personal on someone else’s server unencrypted though. What was I to do?! I searched and tried and eventually came up with an encfs-Volume in a Dropbox folder. Believe me, it was a day’s work for me to figure out how to get this running on OS X including installing the Linux files, making a bash-script that would mount the volume automatically so it would always be ready to use, etc. But finally, this allowed me to store and sync files remotely while ensuring they were encrypted on my side on the fly. That was the first – at least functional – solution I used; I had tried a few other ways before but they all fell short in terms of usability. Then, I found SpiderOak – and you guys! You can imagine how moved I was to see that somebody was doing just what I had looked for for all the right reasons and in just the right way! Great company, great people, good reads on the website, and all in all such a feeling of relief, both safe and secure.

The best test was a recent hiccup while backing up: transfers just froze at some point and nothing seemed to be working anymore. But thanks to the way SpiderOak is coded and stored, nothing got lost, the re-installation of my primary device’s backups and syncs were a breeze, and Laura (Customer Relations) was a pleasure to talk to and get assisted by.”

Don’t be shy – what about you? What has been your SpiderOak experience? Leave a comment below.

(Psssst…tomorrow we will kick off our limited special offer of 25GB for $30. We’ve had a lot of requests for a 25GB offering, but this will be our first. Be sure you don’t miss out – it will only be available for 3 days!)

What people are saying about SpiderOak (Pt. 2)

We’re thankful for you. We said it Friday, and we aren’t quite done.

One of our favorite things is getting to know SpiderOak users. Our loyal customers and fellow privacy fanatics have continually helped us create a better product and develop and grow as a company.

Meet a few more users who were willing to share their SpiderOak story:

Angela, the mother of four:

Gary, the traveler:

“Thank you again for your organization’s fabulous gift of your ‘cloud,’ to me and the friends to which I’ve referred to your company. Your tool allows me to:

  1. Reduce my stress and feel safer because I know that my roughly 25 years of docs are backed-up more securely than on a memory stick or DVD (which I used to use).
  2. Save energy, time and frustration because I no longer need to remember to and, then, manually back up my docs and sync my computers.
  3. Have enhanced convenience and travel about Toronto more lightly without having to drag my laptop because I can access my docs wherever I am in the world via the net.

You won’t be surprised, given the above benefits that I receive from SpiderOak, that I have it loaded into my “Start-up File” on each of my desktops, laptop and wife’s computer so your [client] loads and runs automatically when I start to write. This enhances SpiderOak’s convenience even further for me.”

Christopher, the Linux, Ubuntu and Windows user:

“I am a person who has a certain amount of data I often need to access when I’m away from my workstation. Of course, I’m also concerned that just backing-up to my external drive could have risks. An excellent solution to these needs is the online backup service provided by SpiderOak.

What’s striking about SpiderOak is the elegance and simplicity of the product. A small, easy-to-setup application sits on my Ubuntu and Windows desktops and backs up the data I have specified when it’s created or changed. It’s wonderful that it just gets on with the job without needing my intervention. I can easily make changes to my backup set, check my backed up data, or see how much of my free online storage I have used – which, by the way, is a really attractive feature with 1GB being allocated for each friend referred. I often setup networks and PCs for friends, etc, and I have found that SpiderOak is a great tool for storing useful files in a central location that I can access any time I need to. By using the simple web interface and downloading them I save myself the bother of constantly remembering to have to load a USB stick to carry them around. The same advantages apply when I setup new Linux distros on my own machines.

I’ve also found SpiderOak a great tool to enhance security while travelling. I often travel in Europe on business and previously would carry a laptop or USB containing sensitive data. Yes, it was encrypted, but it gives me much more reassurance that I can now simply access that data securely from my company’s network by logging into my secure SpiderOak account.

Last, but certainly not least, I really like how SpiderOak comes across. The website is simple to navigate and tells me all I need to know. There’s also an element of humour there and in the Twitter feed from @SpiderOak. I really appreciate this. Although I’ve never had a problem with the product, I have the feeling that although SpiderOak people take what they do very seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s refreshing to discover a business that is not laden with empty marketing-speak and actually comes across as if it has pleasant human beings working for it who are interested in what I as a customer need. It must be a great place to work! Thank you for an excellent service.”

What about you? What has been your SpiderOak experience? Leave a comment below.

What people are saying about SpiderOak (Pt. 1)

One of our favorite things is getting to know SpiderOak users. Our loyal customers and fellow privacy fanatics have continually helped us create a better product and develop and grow as a company.

We’re grateful. Allow me to introduce you to a few users who were willing to share their SpiderOak story:

Kevin, the professional musician:

Brook, relieved to have photos and videos safely backed up:

“I just wanted to drop a quick note that I recently started using SpiderOak for my backup and syncing needs, and it works great. I can vouch for it working well on Windows, Linux and the Android app. I love all the flexibility you have with [the client] and really appreciate the ‘zero-knowledge’ data encryption. Over the weekend [my family] organized and backed up about 10GB of photos and videos. It’s a huge relief to have that taken care of. [I really appreciate] SpiderOak’s sync feature for keeping my main documents synced between my desktop and laptop. I’ve contacted support a few times for general questions and always received quick, personal and useful responses. So far, I’m very pleased.”

T3charmy, left Dropbox for SpiderOak:

“I left dropbox for you guys. I had a promo for 5GB free, and so far, you guys are WAY better than Dropbox. My experience… has far exceeded what Dropbox could do. The one thing that I would like to see is the ability to upload files from the Android app. Other than that, you have far exceeded my expectations. 6/5 stars.”

We’ll share more testimonials next week, as well as promote a limited special deal for 25GB we’ve never before offered. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, what about you? What has been your SpiderOak experience? Leave a comment below.

+1 For Privacy

It is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And while security is crucial, it leaves out something critically important. Privacy.

We believe you shouldn’t have to choose. Companies who can’t offer privacy are forced to sell security alone. For us, it is the combination that leads to the only true freedom online. Our ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Privacy Standard trumps words like ‘trust’ and ‘security’ as plaintext data is never visible to anyone but you.

Join us in both acknowledging Cyber Security Month but also recognizing a huge ‘+1 for Privacy’ with this special promotion:

For only 48 hours, we’re offering 5 free GB for new users and 3 additional GBs for our already loyal support base.

Visit this link: SpiderOak.com/signup/, and use the promo code “plus1forprivacy” in your account settings.

Note: This code will replace your current amount with 5GBs. If you are an existing paying member, please email Plus1forprivacy@spideroak.com with your username and we will add 3GBs to your account.

Thanks for making the web a safe place with us, and your help spreading the word.

+1 for privacy,

The SpiderOak team

Now Hiring –> Sales Engineer!

We are looking for an energetic person-friendly hacker to join the SpiderOak team in the role of Sales Engineer. As SpiderOak Blue gains significant traction in the enterprise market, we are noticing an increasing need to bring these companies online in a faster and more efficient manner. As an example, one day you may be configuring a virtual machine to authenticate 20,000 users against SpiderOak while the next integrating patches by some of our development partners into our directory sync code base.

Our ideal hacker is first and foremost a considerate communicator. This hacker is going to be the primary smiling face to our technical contacts with our Blue customers and partners, and we expect our hacker will represent our tribe well. Our Blue customer base includes Fortune 500 companies, US & foreign government agencies, and large US & foreign educational institutions. Our hacker will be comfortable being the primary point of contact with technical and senior IT staff within these organizations. Unhappy customers should create an appropriately unhappy hacker.

This hacker will be responsible for managing and communicating timelines and problems (and their interrelation) to both internal SpiderOak staff and that of our customers. We should be able to randomly quiz our hacker of the status of ongoing trial and live programs and she should be able to respond usefully (allowing for research). Our hacker will be the nexus hub for the technical on-boarding process of new Blue accounts and should be appropriately self-organized.

This hacker will also be comfortable with a variety of Linux-based server technology. Our software is distributed as code on an Ubuntu virtual appliance, so our hacker will be perfectly happy hacking away on Python code to eventually run on Ubuntu. This hacker will also be comfortable configuring said Ubuntu system. Bonus points for a background involving developing against an alphabet soup involving LDAP, RADIUS, MS AD, or SAML.

SpiderOak’s a distributed company; as such, our ideal hacker is a first-rate communicator. Our hacker will be commonly available during the US working day on our secret awesome undisclosed IRC channel as well as via phone and/or skype. Our hacker will raise a fuss if something beyond their control is blocking their projects; however, our hacker will be a problem solver and be more than up to making the impossible hack come to reality. They will jump at the chance to travel to work with other SpiderOakers, with key cities being Kansas City, MO, Chicago, IL, and San Fransisco, CA. Civility and “work-togetherness”, especially but not limited to strangers, is required. Effectively managing one’s self is also a key requirement; nobody will be looking over our hacker’s shoulder while they work. A sense of humor is appreciated.

Specifically in this case, our hacker will be working most closely with our teams in Chicago and KC such that being close or willingness to travel to these locations is important and especially toward the beginning.

Still interested? Send an email to jobs@spideroak.com including “sales engineer” in the subject with a little about yourself and your experience to date (a ‘cover letter’ if ou will). NOTE: Resumes are not required as who you are is more important that what your resume may or may not say. If we enjoy your thoughts and feel like you will be a good fit, we will send you a small task to complete. Please do be sure to tell us a bit about yourself, what you can do, and why you’d like to work for us. English only, please.

We know there’s talent in everyone regardless of what little papers might say, so we have no “minimum” requirements for degrees. We’re also super-equal-opportunity: quality hacking knows no bounds for race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, species*, or religion. If you can meet what we need, we’ll do amazing things together, no matter who, what, or where you are.

* We encourage kangaroos that can deliver lattes in their pouches.

A note to our Tech-Savvy, Forward-Thinking SpiderOak Users. Yes – We’re Talking to You!

An Open Letter to Our Tech-Savvy Forward-Thinking Users:

We wanted to send our utmost admiration and gratitude. Great activity continues as we and our industry grow and push forward. Much of what we have developed and the choices we have made since our 2007 inception has been because of you – our wonderful user base.

We also wanted to make you aware of two big recent announcements to cross our wire (if you haven’t seen them just yet):

  1. We launched our new website &
  2. We entered the Enterprise market with SpiderOak Blue

Breaking through these milestones, we wanted to thank our roots. Thank you for embracing the importance of privacy with us, steering us towards better design, a more comprehensive product experience, and demanding more of us and our strengths. Thanks to those of you who pushed us from your role in your company’s IT department or as CTO toward breaking through into the enterprise space.

We love our relationship with you and want to stay true to that. Keep the feedback coming in the wonderful honest and detailed form it has taken. And thank you – above all – for your continued patronage and support.

We look forward to serving you for many years ahead as we continue to prove that one doesn’t have to sacrifice privacy for the benefits obtained in the cloud…

We remain grateful,

The SpiderOak Team

SpiderOak University Pop Quiz Answers #3

First, we’d like to thank you for your participation. We had a great response to our final quiz. You all have graduated from SpiderOak University! You all should be proud.

You will not be notified when your account has been upgraded so just check your account to see your change. Many of you will receive 3 GBs if you got all the questions right, and the rest of you will receive 1 GB. That being said, let’s get to what you are really waiting for.

The Answers

How many different computers can you include folders from in a ShareRoom?

All of them.

What is a central repository?

A place where things may be put for safekeeping.

What is one thing that is really important when finding a cloud provider?

To ensure that my data is very private so no one can view what is being stored.

What platforms does SpiderOak support?

Linux, Windows, Mac

What discount do students / university staff / professors get?

None of the above. (50% off)

Which video does Ethan Oberman draw a bad version of a phone?

Features 101: 5 Characteristics That Make SpiderOak Different

True/False: SpiderOak is 100% secure.

False (SpiderOak is 100% private. Security can be very strong but not 100% secure)

How could you use SpiderOak to expand your lifespan?

Have your DNA sequenced store it and back it up securely with SpiderOak, and in your old age, use the record of your undamaged DNA to repair your cell.

SpiderOak University Pop Quiz #3

For the past 5 weeks, we have posted videos about SpiderOak and our product. I hope you’ve been paying attention because we have some specific questions for you!

Pop Quiz

It is simple. All you have to do is answer the questions below. If you get all questions correct, we will give you 3 GBs of extra space. For those of you who may miss a few, we will give you 1 GB for trying.

Just like any other quiz, there is a time limit so please submit your quiz within 24 hours. After which time, no storage will be awarded. This is our last quiz for SpiderOak University. Thank you very much for your participation and we hope you have learned a lot about SpiderOak!

Good Luck! Remember – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account by signing up with your school address.

Sign up today.

Fill out my online form.

The Marriage & Separation of PRIVACY and SECURITY

We’re finding that lot of people aren’t aware of the difference between privacy and security. And for good reason. It can be confusing. They are, after all, so closely linked and equal in importance – you have to have them both.

Think of it like this:

You hope and expect that your bank is SECURE. You expect that no one else can access your account, access your money, and take advantage of your data and assets. It is also critical to the bank’s existence and business that they take the highest security measures to make sure your money and information is safe.

But a bank IS NOT private – they can see your information, how much money is in your account, and can alter information (sans say a Swiss bank account). There is a lot of expectation around trust in this capacity.

PRIVACY is more so the safety deposit box you keep at the bank. Only you have the key. It is not only kept secure, at the bank’s location, through their elaborate measures to give you that assurance, but it is also PRIVATE. You are the only one who can see the contents of the box. (Remember the scene in the Bourne Identity, when Jason Bourne goes to the bank to get his black security box? He gets the key, the box, takes it to a room, closes the curtain, and opens it. Alone, with privacy and security as his allies, he is able to access his gun, passports and money. Look out world!)

Here’s another example: A toilet in a glass room with a bolt lock on it. It is secure. But definitely not private.

One last example: You write in a journal, and hide it in your underwear drawer. It is private, or at least this is your intent, as it holds your own personal thoughts, opinions, or experiences. But it might not be secure. All it takes is a nosy sibling to seek it out, or stumble across it. Like that, your privacy is compromised.

All of this to say, in today’s ever-increasing tech-saturated society, your files, data, and information is more exposed than ever before. We believe it is important that you know what different sites and products you use are doing with your data, or at least have access to that transparency.

Just as you probably desire to use a bathroom NOT in a glass room, know only you can access your safety deposit box at the bank, and that your journal will stay private, so we work to uphold and respect this need. We work to offer you a completely private storage, sync, and share environment. We work to offer you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that only YOU have access to all of your files and data, no one at SpiderOak can see it (we call this our Zero-Knowledge privacy standard). This is our highest priority.

Since the inception of our product, we have worked to marry privacy and security for YOUR complete benefit and peace of mind. The whole reason SpiderOak was created was because there was a need for a private, central repository where we, where you, could safely store all of (y)our data.

“Privacy is not a feature to tack onto a list,” said Ethan Oberman, SpiderOak CEO. “It is very much a part of how you build and structure your product from its inception. We’ve taken this integrated approach in a zero-knowledge environment.”

How would YOU explain the difference between privacy and security? Leave us your analogy in the comments below.

Central Repository 101: Where Does Your Data Live?

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re talking to you.

This is our last week of posting video shorts where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for our last POP QUIZ this week so you can receive extra GBs.

Ethan Oberman shows off how SpiderOak centralizes ALL your data across all platforms and devices.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.