Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

LAN Sync Overview

We’re just around the corner from releasing our much-requested LAN (Local Area Network) sync feature, which is now in the final stages of beta testing.

LAN sync enables much more efficient syncing of data between two or more computers. When SpiderOak is processing a sync between devices on the same LAN (i.e. on the same network), the devices can speak to each other locally, passing any needed data blocks directly to each other without the receiving devices having to download them from the SpiderOak servers. The originating device will still upload the changed or added files to SpiderOak to ensure the data is safely backed up and available to other computers in your SpiderOak network.

To illustrate the difference between ‘normal’ sync and LAN sync, please see the diagrams below:

Normal Sync: Device 1 uploads added or changed data to the SpiderOak servers over the Internet. Once the upload is complete and SpiderOak determines that the data is part of a sync, SpiderOak will start downloading the data to Device 2 which also occurs over the Internet. LAN Sync: Device 1 uploads added or changed data to the SpiderOak servers over the Internet (A). Once the upload is complete and SpiderOak determines that the data is part of a sync, SpiderOak again downloads the data to Device 2, only this time the download occurs directly between devices over the LAN (B). This optimization saves you time and bandwidth.

NOTE: The LAN sync feature only works for devices that are on the same LAN. For example, a sync between a home computer and a work computer will still go through the SpiderOak servers, as they do not share the same physical connection.

However, if you carry a laptop between work and home, SpiderOak is smart enough to determine the most efficient sync method, always transferring data blocks over the LAN when possible. At work, your laptop will sync with work devices over the LAN, and home devices over the internet. At home, SpiderOak will use your home LAN to efficiently transfer data from your home devices to your laptop, and data from your work devices will be downloaded over the internet.

In the end, regardless of the sync method SpiderOak uses, you can always feel safe in the knowledge that your important data is stored – securely & privately – in the cloud.

How does SpiderOak use SpiderOak? – Part 4

Michael Crane, UI/UX & QA

I am often switching between my Mac, PC and Linux machines when I am testing features in SpiderOak across multiple platforms. For this, I love using the folder sync feature in SpiderOak so I can test multiple types of files. As I don’t often have the same types of files on all my machines, I set up one universal folder on all machines to set up a direct file sharing system for myself. Since I can use any folder, and any name, I name the folder by the operating system on each machine so I don’t get confused.

Sharing is great with SpiderOak. I can create share folders with work related documents and share the folder with my colleagues. Those files are often updated and sometimes saved as a new file on my machine, version history is great for this behavioral habit flaw of mine. I can check in my SpiderOak client to see which file was edited most recently as well as see how many historical revisions there are of the document. If there are several versions (marked with the number of revisions in parenthesis), chances are that’s the most up to date file, versus a file with no revisions from awhile back that was probably abandoned.

Select the file, click the ‘Share File’ button [www], send that link off to a colleague. Done and done.

How does SpiderOak use SpiderOak? – Part 3

Jovan Washington, Web Communications Coordinator

Hi everyone!

I want to formally introduce myself and let you know how I use SpiderOak. First, let me explain a little about what I do here. My official title is Web Communications Coordinator. I work closely with our small marketing crew. Those of you active on Facebook, Twitter, Forums, etc. have likely been talking to me in the last several months or so. I would LOVE to hear suggestions you may have regarding SpiderOak’s social presence, particularly concerning sites/platforms SpiderOak does not currently participate in. Let’s talk! What can we do differently?

Working with the marketing crew has been fun and challenging. I’ve been a SpiderOak user since early 2008, and would only use it to back up my documents. Now that I work for the company, I find myself using it in ways I did not imagine. For starters, I now back up all my media. Pictures from SpiderOak gatherings, videos for marketing material, music, documents/passwords, invoices… You name it and it is probably on our servers. I also use several different devices, so keeping all my data in sync with other devices is extremely important. Let’s say Daniel (our other marketing guru) needs marketing material that I created on my desktop at home. I am not at my desktop at home however I am at a coffee shop 5 miles away! No worries, I can access it and send it to him from my laptop. I even use SpiderOak to test new versions of the software we release so we can have a better product for you!

That is how I use SpiderOak. It stores my life.

***

Stay tuned! Tomorrow, you’ll hear from Michael Crane, UI/UX & QA.

How does SpiderOak use SpiderOak? – Part 2

Matthew Erickson, Director of Programming

My last job involved a lot of sensitive satellite data from various governments around the world. I used SpiderOak to securely backup and sync this data between my laptop and my workstation. I also used the mobile app (after I originally wrote it, heh) to pull up documents for reference while in meetings with my funding agencies.

These days, I don’t use SpiderOak so much anymore for sync (I only have one computer I generally work from), but I use it to backup my photos and work. I also make heavy use of it to send data and software to my co-workers and our business partners.

***

Stay tuned! Tomorrow, you’ll hear from Jovan Washington, Web Communications Coordinator.

How does SpiderOak use SpiderOak?

‘Practice what you preach,’ a common response to what is seen as empty boasting. In asking ourselves how we use SpiderOak, we think you’ll find some interesting insight into how the makers of SpiderOak use their own product.

We don’t just talk a good game, we walk the walk.

***

Linzi Oliver, M3 – Messaging, Marketing & Making Stuff Up

I started using SpiderOak in 2008. At the time, I had a Toshiba laptop which contained very important documents and sentimental photos and videos. I used SpiderOak to backup those files. It was a good thing I did because not long after, my laptop laid itself to rest for good. Instead of fretting and panicking, I purchased a MacBook and added it to my SpiderOak network. All my data was recoverable.

This year, I purchased a MacBook Pro after leaving my other laptop at the security check point of SFO at the beginning of a long trip. I was able to download SpiderOak and retrieve needed files. I picked up my old laptop upon my return. You’d be amazed to see how many laptops are left at security on a daily basis. It’s shocking.

I currently keep several folders in sync across all my devices. I also use the SpiderOak ShareRooms to share photos and videos with family, friends and colleagues. Best of all? I’m the only one who holds the key to my data.

***

Stay tuned! Tomorrow, you’ll hear from Matthew Erickson, Director of Programming.

Dropping DropBox: A Relocation Guide

If you have recently switched from DropBox to SpiderOak, we’d like to take a few moments to welcome you to the secure side of backup. We know that switching backup providers can be a lot like moving to a new place.

It can be exciting and maybe a little intimidating too. We at SpiderOak would like to provide you with a relocation guide that will make the transition a little easier. There’s no map or moving boxes required, just the opportunity to start living your new and improved life on the
cloud.

Know the Territory:

You may be accustomed to the DropBox landscape, but at SpiderOak, security is our foundation. We have a strict, zero-knowledge privacy policy and an extensive, layered encryption system. Your data will remain secure on our servers in your very own SpiderOak safe house and we don’t even have the keys! Your password is the only key to unlock the encryptions and we have no way of ever knowing your password. At SpiderOak, we take security seriously.

Learn the Language:

With DropBox, you created a central folder on your hard drive for backup. You dragged and dropped your files into the main DropBox folder. SpiderOak has a completely different approach that allows you to keep your current file structure. Our client allows you to select data from your folder hierarchy using the ‘BackUp’ tab. SpiderOak uploads a mirror copy of your selection to our servers.

As you can see below, it’s easy to select files for backup.

No need to move folders around anymore. ‘Drag and Drop’ becomes ‘Select and Save’

Practice the Customs:

Security is the backbone for all of our features. To ensure security, backup must occur before syncing and sharing. Anytime you modify a file, SpiderOak must first upload the changes and build encryption blocks before any other process can begin. This requires you to back up every device you would like to sync. It also requires a little bit of extra time for the upload process. The motto to remember: ‘Security is our number one priority’.

Get to Know the Locals:

Learn more about the SpiderOak community by visiting our FAQs and Forum. The FAQ is a great place to learn how SpiderOak can meet your individual needs. You can also learn about the variety of special features that SpiderOak has to offer. Our Forum provides an interactive community where our more experienced users can help you get acquainted with your new surroundings. If you have specific questions or requests, please contact our SpiderOak Customer Relations department.

Embrace Your New Home:

SpiderOak offers our free 2GB plan to backup your data for as long as you like. When you’re ready, you can expand your new space and upgrade to our paid plans in 100GB increments. We provide 100GB for $10 per month or $100 per year. SpiderOak doesn’t discriminate. You can back up as many devices as you like, even external drives. We support all major platforms and have no file size limit. The space is yours. The security is yours. Welcome to SpiderOak!

In the trenches…

I sit writing this blog at 35,000 feet above the earth as myself and about a
100 other travelers head from San Francisco to Chicago. The time is 4:30 am CDT
(or 2:30 PDT) on Saturday morning October 25th.

It has been an exciting although long week at SpiderOak. In fact, this week
brings the conclusion of a long string of weeks, ending successfully in the
launch of SpiderOak 2.0 – a faster, more responsive, more flexible iteration of
our initial version. In addition to these increased functions, the truly
exciting part about 2.0 is that it serves as a strong foundation for many
important and needed features to come including our Sync tool, Team Sync (or
read/write ShareRooms), development of our multi-user / multi computer
environment for small businesses, and several others…

Over the last couple of weeks we have received many emails asking if we had
stopped developing or growing because our blog had not been regularly updated.
Being somewhat of an outsider to the blogging world, I thought the question a
bit strange. After all, the last few months have seen some of our most
important advancements as a company – a redevelopment of our core architecture
to make SpiderOak faster, more efficient, and increased responsiveness (a known
issue since we launched). But because this development hadn’t happened in
‘public’ or our progress been constantly updated in the formal setting of our
blog, people thought this a sign of weakness.

Well – I write this post to ensure you all – those who inquire about our
resolve or longevity – that we are here and here to stay. And if it is regular
blog posts that you require to confirm this, then you shall have them as we
promise to rise up from the trenches more often and let you all know that we
are alive, well, and committed to bringing you the best and most secure online
backup, storage, access, sharing, and sync product available. And 2.0 brings us
a lot closer..