Swedish security firm BlockMaster has come up with an alternative to cloud file sharing systems such as Dropbox that allows enterprises to encrypt data without losing control of encryption keys.

Instead of synchronising files from PCs and mobile devices through a cloud layer controlled by a service supplier, enterprises set up two 'ShieldShare' servers, one (the Storage Engine) on which encrypted files are kept and a second (PKI Key Management) server used to retain the encryption keys.

The storage server used to relay files between authenticated clients can sit in the cloud while the key server remains inside and under the control of the enterprise, a regulatory necessity for companies in some sectors.

Suited to large public-sector organisations for which encryption is now a must, the system is also compatible with BlockMaster’s range of SafeConsoleReady policy-defined USB drives. The provision of keys is automatic while the system includes a full audit trail of shared files.

“ShieldShare offers true cloud security where you hold the encryption keys, not the service provider. And all data is encrypted on the clients before touching any server,” said BlockMaster CSO, Anders Kjellander.

“Now local government agencies in Europe can make use of global big brand cloud infrastructure services to enable file sharing without risking breaches to privacy legislation.”

Large organisations with complex data needs saw value in cloud synchronisation but were reluctant to use systems originally built for consumers because of security worries.

Data had to be encrypted at client level and keys used to secure them had to be free from third-party access, he said.

ShieldShare’s desktop software is compatible with all versions of Windows from XP onwards and OS X 10.6 or later, with Linux and mobile clients coming. Demonstration licenses are available by signing up here.