UPDATE: Cyphertite has sadly announced its closure as of 18th August 2015.
Cyphertite is described, quite simply, as “high security online backup.” A quick browse of the provider’s website seems to suggest this is an accurate description, and that this is a simple service best suited to techies and enthusiasts, rather than novices who require a little hand-holding.
Cypertite’s open-source roots are clear, with the website offering downloadable source code alongside complied client versions of the software. One benefit of this open-source approach is that Cyphertite’s encryption methods can be “independently verified.” Essentially, they set out to operate a service on an “open book” basis, and simply charge you for storage on their servers.
Pricing & Plans
The biggest news about Cyphertite’s subscription plans is that the provider offers a free service for up to 8GB of data. This is notably generous, because while some other providers also offer a free option, most are for a maximum of 3GB or 5GB.
When it comes to chargeable services, it’s all very simple because there’s only one consumer package: the “personal” service, costing $10 per month for unlimited data. Cyphertite also offer “pay by usage” business service with priority support and installation help, but we concentrate on consumer services for the purpose of this review.
Cyphertite is a little light on features, and doesn’t try to be “all things to all people” like some other backup services.
In a way, it’s easier to list what Cyphertite doesn’t do than what it does! You won’t find any friendly synchronisation and sharing features here, and versioning is limited to configuring how many “increments” of a backed up file will be saved.
Also conspicuous by its absence is any mobile support – you won’t find a way to access your Cyphertite files from iOS or Android.
One feature we’ve not found elsewhere is a Command Line Interface (CLI) option for controlling the software. Cyphertite does offer this, further extending its appeal to enthusiasts and experts.
What soon becomes clear when reviewing Cyphertite is that it’s a classic secure online backup solution, aimed at a techie demographic, and that it isn’t really trying to be anything else.
Security & Privacy
Cyphertite begins to regain some lost ground when you look into privacy and security, as you would expect with a product where this is the focus.
Cyphertite operates encryption based on a “crypto passphrase” to encrypt data before it leaves your computer.
Another level of encryption is then applied once data reaches Cyphertite’s servers. These are operated on a true “zero knowledge” basis, where even Cyphertite staff cannot access your data as they do not have your crypto passphrase.
Another thing that will please the privacy-conscious is that Cyphertite clearly lay our their attitude to handing over customer data to “the authorities.” While they state that warrants can be served to force them to hand over customer data, they say that this will only ever be in its encrypted form, and thus only accessible by you, or anyone given your passphrase.
For those preoccupied with security, Cyphertite’s lack of headline features may be adequately balanced out by these definite privacy plus points.
Cyphertite’s website is an interesting place, because on the face of it, it’s as simple and friendly as those from most other online backup providers – the ones aimed at less of a technical audience.
However, it’s not long before Cyphertite betrays its open source roots. Just one click away from the homepage is a typical open source support “wiki” that will delight techies and intimidate novices!
There is a basic FAQ section, but there’s not that much to hand-hold those lacking confidence. This is hardly surprising given the perceived target market.
As we just stated, “user friendly” isn’t really Cyphertite’s thing, and the support section reinforces this.
You have access to the aforementioned FAQ and Wiki sections, but that’s about it. If you’re still stuck, your only option is email support. However, Cyphertite do commit to a “one business day” response time, which goes a little further than some providers who refrain from making such promises.
We certainly couldn’t find a number for phone support!
We took advantage of Cyphertite’s generous free 8GB package to test out the software.
First, we signed up via the link on the website. We just needed a username, password and email address.
After signing up, we were taken to an account admin page, where we had the option of upgrading to a chargeable plan.
We then proceeded to the software download page to download the client software to our test machine running Windows 7.
Cyphertite’s client software was a small 11MB download. Installation was a simple matter of clicking through a very fast installation wizard.
We then opened the software, revealing Cyphertite’s surprisingly stripped-down and clear user interface.
We clicked into “create backup” to set up our first job. Here, Cyphertite further revealed itself as a simple, classic online backup system – we could select a one-off backup to take place immediately or in the future, or a scheduled backed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Selecting the data to backup was a simple case of adding files or folders from a file browser.
With our trial backup in progress (which completed without problems), we took the time to play around with the rest of the Cyphertite software. To be frank, there’s not an awful lot there; this is definitely “stripped bare” software.
However, one little feature worthy of note is Cyphertite’s right-click menu integration, allowing you to quickly backup a file or folder to the cloud on the fly.
As we mentioned earlier, Cyphertite don’t offer any mobile device integration, so there’s no Windows or Android client to review here.
It’s also worth mentioning that while a version is in development, there is currently no Cyphertite software available for Mac, although Unix and Linux versions are available.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Cyphertite is rather limited. It doesn’t offer a fraction of the features of competing software, and the lack of Mac and mobile versions will put plenty of people off.
However, it would be a mistake to dismiss it out of hand. The stripped down, traditional approach to online backup will certainly appeal to a certain user demographic, as will the focus on privacy and security. If those things appeal to you, Cyphertite is worth a try, and it will cost you nothing to audition it.
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- Simple traditional software – for those that are looking for that!
- Generous 8GB free allowance
- Good security credentials
We weren’t so sure about
- “Techie” open-source approach that will discourage some
- Limited support options
- Limited functionality
- No Mac or mobile support