Passwords and public keys may someday be relics of the past, as vendors continue to come up with new ways to protect data. This week, Volterra, a startup focusing on solving challenges around distributed applications and data, introduced a solution that enables secure file sharing and data sharing without requiring passwords or public keys.
Designed mainly for securely sending emails and sharing documents via cloud-sharing apps such as Box, Dropbox, Slack and Teams, VoltShare encrypts data locally and requires only email addresses to share files.
Users access it either by downloading software or via an API or SDK that operates locally on a laptop or mobile device. After downloading the app, users add text or attach a file, create a policy based on the recipient's email address and duration, and share the encrypted content via email or their existing collaboration tool. Recipients decrypt the data using VoltShare. If they are using the email address specified by the sender and are within the specified timeframe, the data automatically decrypts.
Because VoltShare provides end-to-end encryption from the sender to the recipient, and neither passwords nor public keys are used, it completely protects any file or data that is stored or shared using a collaboration platform, explained Volterra CEO Ankur Singla.
"For example, if you … want to use Dropbox to share with a target recipient/s (internal or third-party) and your Dropbox account gets compromised, they can't access and decrypt the information because they are not the target recipient, so the VoltShare app won’t decrypt it for them," he said. "Even if any of these platforms were ever forced to hand over data to a government agency, the VoltShare-encrypted user data would not be compromised as it is independently encrypted on top of the collaboration platform's underlying security service."
This secure file sharing method does seem to provide some benefits, especially for companies, said Garrett Bekker, a principal data security analyst at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
"One of the challenges with secure data sharing, via either email encryption or information rights management offerings, has been how to share with external parties/non-employees without making recipients go through cumbersome registration processes or installing software," he said. "The ability to exchange data securely with third parties without requiring users to register or enroll for a service or install software would be welcome by many firms."
VoltShare comes in two versions: a free software download for occasional users and a paid enterprise subscription. The enterprise version is divided into two options: Teams accounts supporting 25 users and Organizations, with unlimited users.
The enterprise version allows organizations to configure policies to control what their employees can do with the tool and set up a sign-in process to follow their existing tools. This service also allows two completely different enterprises to share data with end-to-end encryption while adhering to the controls implemented by each organization's security team.