Private. This is one of LiveBox’s core strengths. We’re private, secure and simple, but even though the vast majority of the big players in the cloud business are secure and simple as well, few of them are private.
Let’s consider Google Drive and DropBox, they’re surely great, easy and even free for a limited usage, but every file you upload and share is actually stored in a remote server, physically belonging to the company offering the service.
You are safe from external attackers, probably, but are you safe against an internal breach?
Your files may be encrypted so a direct access to the storage server will not expose your secret data, but do the server owners know the decryption keys?
With LiveBox the answers are yes and no. You are safe against an internal breach, because the server is inside your company, so an internal breach is basically one of your staff doing something wrong. We don’t know the decryption keys of your files, because they are bound to the secret pin you chose when you login for the first time, and never stored.
The choice between loading a server and opening customer accounts against installing the server directly on the customer’s hardware is especially thorny, because they both have pros and cons, which we’ll analyze right now.
Software compatibility with hardware
Good for public: you can develop in a fully managed environment, meeting the hardware requirement of the software you’re developing.
Bad for private: every customer could have a different configuration, hardware, operating system, and many other things that could force the development team to factor in exceptions and custom programming.
Maintenance and updates
Good for public: owning the hardware system you can upgrade it when needed and all the customers will be affected, same thing applies to software updates.
Bad for private: you must create an automatic update system to ensure that every customer is always running the latest version, and some upgrades will require you to go to the customer’s company directly to perform maintenance.
Account and license management
Good for public: having everything centralized you can manage accounts on your servers, disable them and generally perform operations with no effort.
Bad for private: you must ensure that the software employs strong authentication checks and you must develop an efficient license system coordinated between local installations and the central hub.
Good for public: again centralization means that in the public cloud you can arrange the network infrastructure management once and be ready for every customer.
Bad for private: every customer can have a different network environment, so the cloud has to be be developed and configured to allow great flexibility.
Data and hardware sharing
Bad for public: every customer account runs on the same centralized server (or something like this) so you must maintain a strong server farm to support them, and every issue generated by a customer could endanger other customers on the same server.
Good for private: every customer has his own server, its installation, the performance can be tuned perfectly, each problem lives and dies inside the company walls without spreading to other customers.
Bad for public: the files are stored on a remote server, beyond the control of the data owner, so actually someone else has your data.
Good for private: the files are stored in the owner’s server, so data security is at the same level as his own security.
Bad for public: Given that data, licenses, account and all the functionality is located on a remote server, the authentication of end users must be bound to the system offered by the cloud company, making custom authentications trickier.
Good for private: Given that the cloud infrastructure is located on the customer’s server, the authentication can be linked to existing sources, such as LDAP or similar, increasing compatibility with the customer infrastructure.
As can be seen, the advantages in public cloud storage are mostly on the development team side, summed up as easier development of the hardware and software application, while the advantages in the private cloud storage are mostly on the customer side, summed up in stronger data privacy and customizability.
We’ve chosen our customers. Bigger efforts on our side in making LiveBox stable and reliable. Bigger efforts while upgrading it and deploying the updates. Bigger efforts in fine tuning and customization. But in the end our customer will know that they are really taken care of.
(My daily quote: “When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.” – David Brin).