Hailing from Switzerland, Tresorit is an online backup provider with a serious focus on security and privacy. They are so confident of their security that they offer a $50,000 hacking “bounty” to anyone who can successfully hack into their systems!
The company’s data centres are located in Switzerland and elsewhere in the EU, providing an immediate plus point for those individuals who simply don’t want their data stored in the USA following the NSA scandal.
Tresorit offer both business and consumer services. We concentrate on the latter here.
Pricing & Plans
Tresorit’s online backup offerings are clear and simple – in fact, on the consumer side, they’re a little bit limited.
Essentially, you are looking at one package and one price, and that’s storage of up to 100GB for €10 per month. Delving a little deeper, you find out that this goes down to €8.33 per month if you pay for a year up front.
Tresorit also offer a free service for those only needing to store up to 3GB of data, which is commendable.
It’s fair to say that although €10 per month isn’t an enormous amount of money, it is an above average cost for this kind of service. We have, for example, reviewed other services where US$5 per month gets you unlimited storage.
The 100GB limit will be a problem for some. There doesn’t appear to be any way to buy more storage without choosing a business package. While 100GB may be enough for some users, others with lots of media rich files to back up may need substantially more, and this will therefore act as quite a deal-breaker for them.
The features page of the Tresorit website puts security at the fore, but we’ll discuss that in the next section.
In terms of functionality, Tresorit’s features list is pretty standard stuff.
A drag and drop interface allows you to designate any folder as a secure “tresor.” This may be a meaningless term to you, but the word is actually German for “safe” or “vault” according to Wikipedia.
Tresorit comes with the now almost ubiquitous Android and iOS apps, so you can get to your stored files from mobile devices.
Tresorit’s sharing features are worthy of note, and akin to a secure version of Dropbox. “Shareable encryption” is how the provider describes it, without “compromising security.” If you’re looking to share data like this in a more secure environment than Dropbox, then Tresorit is worth special consideration.
That’s about it really, with most of the other highlighted functionality all referring to security, so let’s move onto that next.
If you’re preoccupied with privacy and security, Tresorit’s focus on it is likely to please you.
As you can see from the image above (part of Tresorit’s comparison with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive), Tresorit does a lot related to security that the other highlighted providers don’t.
If Tresorit chose to compare themselves with other online backup services instead, there wouldn’t be quite such a difference, but this doesn’t take away from the service’s strong security credentials.
First up is client-side encryption, meaning that all data is encrypted before being sent to Tresorit’s EU-based servers. The data also remains encrypted (with AES-256 encryption) once it’s stored. Furthermore, Tresorit are not able to access the stored data.
Tresorit also use TLS encryption during transmission, the successor to SSL, which they claim makes data as secure as possible on it’s journey to their servers.
Tresorit’s website is business-like and understated, with a clear emphasis on highlighting security and privacy features.
The provider deserves serious commendation for the highly visible phone number on the home page (even if it is a sales line!) Some providers do all they can to avoid having to speak to their customers in person, so we always like to see a prominent contact number.
Beyond this, there’s little to really say about the website, though it does strike a good balance between providing too much or too little information, something not all companies get quite right.
After seeing the prominent sales line number, we must admit we were disappointed not to find a corresponding one for telephone support. Individual support requests are instead dealt with via a ticketing system.
In addition, there’s a knowledge base and a support forum. We weren’t blown away by any of this, especially when other providers offer tutorial videos and other more friendly support options.
Tresorit does what it needs to do in terms of support, but definitely stops short of going “above and beyond.”
(NB. We carried out our review using a MacBook Pro with the latest version of OS X. A Windows version is also available, and we wouldn’t expect to see anything other than cosmetic differences in that version).
Signing up to Tresorit was nice and simple. After clicking “Get started,” the website detected that we were using a Mac and commenced the download of a 16MB installation file.
As is the case with most Mac apps, we then had to drag the Tresorit app to our applications folder.
After opening the app, we were prompted for some basic sign-up details: our name, email address, and chosen password.
When we entered the password, we were warned that there was no password recovery option available to us, something that will reassure the suspicious that Tresorit really does operate “zero knowledge” security.
Next, we received a confirmation email requiring us to verify our email address. The Tresorit software then took us through a basic five-step tutorial before launching into the main client.
Tresorit’s client software is clean and simple, but takes a rather different approach to most online backup services. You are encouraged to drag and drop any folders you wish to sync (backup) to the client window. You can also hit a “plus” icon and manually browse to folders to add them.
What you can’t do is access your computer’s folder structure and tick everything you want to backup, which for many would be viewed as the “traditional” way to configure the first job for an online backup product. Tresorit definitely take a “sync” rather than “backup” approach. While this achieves the same ends, some may find the chosen approach a little rigid and not to their taste.
Still, we created our first couple of “tresors” with no issue, and the data was quickly backed up to Tresorit’s servers. We could view the activity of each tresor by clicking an icon in the GUI.
>With secure sharing being such a big part of Tresorit, we thought we should spend a little time checking out this functionality. Choosing to share a folder gave us the option of setting some permissions for the tresor, allowing the chosen user (selected by email address) to view, edit, share or delete the tresor (or any combination of these options).
At the “other end” the invited user receives an email like the one below. Before they can access the shared data, they must themselves download Tresorit, install it and register.
On the surface, this all seems a little convoluted, but this is the nature of truly secure sharing. If the data is to be fully private, a few extra steps are to be expected.
Further exploration of the client software didn’t reveal too much to get excited about, and there weren’t a great many options to play with. There were some options to restrict the bandwidth used for backing up data, but these were fairly rudimentary.
In order to test Tresorit’s mobile device support, we downloaded the Tresorit app for iOS to a test iPhone.
After installing the (free) app from the App Store and running it, we (unsurprisingly) had to enter our Tresorit login details. After waiting for a surprisingly long time for the login process to complete, we were able to see our previously created “tresors” and access the content within.
We were also given the option to automatically sync the contents of our phone’s camera roll to the service, which we thought was a pleasing additional feature.
We were pleased with the ability to download and preview both text and photo content, but it’s fair to say that the app did seem a little sluggish in operation.
It’s quite difficult to sum up our opinion of Tresorit, because while it will be perfect for some people, there’s enough that might irritate others to make our recommendation a slightly cautious one.
Essentially, Tresorit is rather “stuck in its ways.” The provider has chosen a rather rigid yet quirky way to do things, but in turn managed to make a service that’s secure enough to reassure the most paranoid of privacy-obsessives.
It all comes down to what you’re looking for. If privacy’s at the top of your list and you’re not put off by a fixed 100GB storage limit and a slight lack of flexibility, Tresorit’s easy to recommend. However, there are other solutions out there we’d feel more inclined to recommend to people with different priorities. Thankfully, the generous 3GB free account allows you to make up your own mind.
Take a trip over to BestBackups to read about more online backup services.