Sync.com vs Tresorit: a Zero-Knowledge Cloud Storage Battle

obr2By Brian Law — Last Updated: 13 Nov'17 2017-09-30T05:33:59+00:00

With so many great choices available today, finding the best cloud storage solution for your needs can be a tall order. If you are prioritizing cloud security, Sync.com and Tresorit are two zero-knowledge services with valuable feature sets that should be on your final list. Even narrowed down to just those two choices, though, there’s still work to be done.

To help you make that final decision, we’ve put both services head to head to see which one is the better overall cloud storage pick. While both are among the best zero-knowledge cloud services out there, there are enough distinguishing features between them to make the comparison interesting.

If you need more help deciding whether either service deserves to be your cloud storage solution, be sure and check out our separate, recently updated reviews for the full details.

If you’re more hands-on than that, you can either visit Sync.com and sign up for the free 5GB plan or go to Tresorit and make use of the 14-day trial.

Starts from
$ 4.08 per month
Visit Sync.comSync.com Review
  • Zero-knowledge
  • Fast syncing
  • Great interface
  • Secure link sharing
  • No 3rd-party tools
  • No monthly plans
Starts from
$ 12.50 per month
Visit TresoritTresorit Review
  • Zero-knowledge
  • Great support
  • Excellent control
  • Compliance audits
  • High cost
  • CC required for trial
  • Difficult to use
  • All sync, no backup

Why Use Zero-Knowledge Cloud Storage?

Most services offer a reasonable, though rarely watertight, measure of security. For most users, that’s fine: a relatively secure, convenient way to store files is all that’s needed. At the bare minimum, we’d recommend selecting a service that at least encrypts your data while at rest on its servers and in transit.

For people storing financial documents, intellectual property and other highly sensitive files, such measures may not be enough. That’s because encrypted data can be accessed by anyone in possession of the encryption key and most cloud storage providers keep control of those keys for you.

Doing so means that if the cloud storage company suffers a breach on the server containing your user credentials, the perpetrator can gain access to your data. It also means that your data can be decrypted and scanned for marketing purposes or incorporated into government surveillance programs like PRISM.

If such things concern you, you’ll likely want to seriously consider a zero-knowledge cloud storage service. The advantage of these companies is that they don’t store your key. Instead, you retain complete control of it, meaning only you can decrypt your data.

While this may be the most secure approach to encryption, that added security comes at cost: zero-knowledge providers cannot recover your password if you forget it and they tend to offer less functionality because private encryption makes application integration (like Google Docs or Office Online) difficult to implement.

Sync.com vs Tresorit: Let’s Compare

With all that in mind, it’s time to take a closer look at how Sync.com and Tresorit match up against each other to determine which one is the better cloud storage service. We’ll be evaluating both over four rounds: pricing, security, ease of use and extra functionality.

1

Pricing

When shopping for cloud storage, bottom line will probably be a top consideration, so that’s where we’ll start, even though Sync.com has an unfair advantage as it is one of our best free storage providers out there.

In terms of freebies, there’s a very clear winner: Sync.com offers 5GB for free while Tresorit only offers a 14-day free trial. In fact, some people will find that the 5GB that Sync.com offers covers all of their needs. If your primary concern is Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, you won’t need a massive amount of storage.

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Free Cloud Storage in 2017: Top Five Providers with Large Free Service Plans
>

With regard to paid subscriptions, Sync.com pulls even further ahead when it comes to value. Sync.com gives you 2TB of storage at $8 per month. Tresorit gets you just 100GB, a small fraction of what you get with Sync.com, for $10.42 per month if you pay annually.

Even if you only need 100GB, it would still be cheaper to go with Sync.com’s 2TB plan. Although not prominently advertised on its website, Sync.com actually has a 500GB option, too, which costs just $49 per year.

Tresorit also has a 1TB plan, but costs $24 a month if you’re paying annually.

The only real advantage Tresorit has over Sync.com is that you can pay monthly rather than having to pay for a full year in advance. However, in doing so the service becomes even more expensive. It’s 100GB plan is $12.50 per month and its 1TB plan is $30 per month.

While price probably isn’t your only consideration, the disparity between paying for Sync.com versus Tresorit is hard to overlook. Tresorit is simply a very expensive service.


Winner (Pricing): Sync.com
Sync.com
Tresorit
2

Security

As Sync.com and Tresorit are both zero-knowledge providers, security is a major selling point. In addition to private, end-to-end encryption, both services use TLS encryption, a rock solid protocol, during transit to further protect your files and personal information.

At rest, Sync.com uses 256-bit AES encryption, a protocol that is virtually unbreakable. Tresorit uses the same 256-bit AES encryption and has also been audited for ISO27001:2005 and SSAE 16 certification, so you can be sure it’s secure.

Both cloud storage providers locate their servers outside of the United States, safe from the reaches of the NSA’s PRISM program and other Patriot Act shenanigans. Sync.com maintains its data centers in Canada and Tresorit’s are in Ireland and the Netherlands.

That said, server location doesn’t really matter so much with Sync.com and Tresorit. Thanks to zero-knowledge security, your data should be safe even if it was stashed on a server in the White House basement.  

Both services offer secure sharing of files by link with passwords, expiration dates, download limits and permissions. Both services go above and beyond when it comes to link sharing, as they remain encrypted using zero-knowledge protocols even after flying the proverbial roost.

If somehow private encryption isn’t enough, both Sync.com and Tresorit offer two-factor authentication as well. This means that even if someone does learn your password, they cannot access your account without your device on hand.

Despite the long list of similarities, there are some differences between the two. One is that Tresorit is partnered Microsoft Azure, meaning U.S. authorities need little more than a warrant to request your files, though they would be encrypted. Sync.com, on the other hand, runs its servers in Canada, well out of reach of the NSA.


Winner (Security): Tie
Sync.com
Tresorit
3

Ease of Use

In 2017, a positive, streamlined user experience shouldn’t be too much to ask. For the most part, both Tresorit and Sync.com are very solid in this respect.

Tresorit does fall behind in a few ways, especially when it comes to deleted files. While it has become increasingly common for storage providers to offer a trash folder that will hold onto files before permanently deleting them, Tresorit does not.

Once a file is deleted from Tresorit, it’s gone forever. Tresorit has claimed that this will be revised soon, but for the time being, users will need to be extremely cautious about deleting files.

With Sync.com, your files will still be recoverable for a full 30 days after deletion with a free account and indefinitely with a paid subscription.

Tresorit also takes an unnecessarily complicated approach to its features. The decision to call Tresorit’s folders “tresors” (German for “vault”) really seems like reinventing the wheel. It adds unnecessary confusion to those just starting to use it. Users are used to folders, which is exactly how tresors behave.

Tresorit’s native app looks similar to a browser interface, but offers quicker access to various features. It can be a bit confusing at first, but after getting used to it, the user interface does looks modern and shouldn’t cause many issues.

One advantage of using Tresorit is that you can sync any folder in your file system. You don’t have to move everything into a dedicated folder like you do with Sync.com or most other cloud storage services.

On the other hand, having a bunch of cloud-linked folders in your files system can make management difficult, particularly when dealing with the limited storage space Tresorit offers.

Sync.com follows the sync-folder model that Dropbox popularized in 2007. You’ll have a single sync folder installed on your computer and the Sync.com app is used primarily for settings. You’ll do much of your file management from your browser by logging into your account on the Sync.com website.

If you happen to be accessing your files from a browser, both services offer modern looking interfaces that are relatively easy to navigate. Tresorit’s holds a strong resemblance to its desktop app, though with slightly less functionality. Sync.com’s is slightly harder to navigate, but does offer more functionality like an online-only vault and event history.

For the most part though, you’ll probably be accessing your files from your operating system instead of the web browser and Sync.com’s more traditional approach will be easier for most people.


Winner (Ease of Use): Sync.com
Sync.com
Tresorit
4

Extra Functions

Services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive set the bar high for what users can expect in terms of added functionality from a cloud storage service. That includes word processors, spreadsheets and other integrated tools (read our Google Drive review and OneDrive review for more on either of these great services).

With zero-knowledge providers, you won’t be getting quite as many bonuses since their insular nature makes in-app collaboration problematic. That said, you should expect at least a little more than bare-bones functionality from premium services.

Sync.com has a decent offering with secure file sharing that features expiration dates, permissions, collaboration, download limits and remote wiping. Sync.com also has the ability to keep shared links encrypted, even without passwords, as well as file versioning for up to 30 days.

Sync.com isn’t an overly flashy service, lacking integration with other applications, but it certainly still delivers with the essential tools you’d want out of a cloud storage service.

Tresorit takes things further. Although it does lack the ability to recover deleted files, it matches Sync.com’s other features and its ability to sync any folder on your computer is very useful. If you don’t want to move files around or specifically need files in a certain location, Tresorit can sync that folder. There’s no need to move it into a dedicated sync folder.

Tresorit also offers better operating system support than Sync.com. While Sync.com will keep you covered on the major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, Tresorit supports those in addition to Windows Phone, Blackberry and Linux, too.


Winner (Extra Functions): Tresorit
Sync.com
Tresorit
5

The Verdict

There’s a reason we rank Sync.com as not only the best zero-knowledge provider but also first among best cloud storage providers in general. It’s easy to use, great for file sharing, affordable and offers as good an approach to data security as you’ll find in the consumer cloud storage market.

That said, Tresorit is not without value. Very few storage solutions offer the ability to sync any folder on your computer. Those that do often share Tresorit’s high price tag, but with Tresorit you also get the advantage of zero-knowledge security.

Tresorit also gives you the added bonus of third-party audits to confirm its security as well as broader operating system support. For most people, Sync.com will be the better choice, but Tresorit has its place in the market.

Final Winner: Sync.com

Will you be using the more traditional and better priced Sync.com, or are your needs specific enough to justify paying up for Tresorit? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and feel free to check out our other cloud storage reviews if your mind is still not made up.

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