ProtonDrive is an online cloud storage service based in Switzerland that emphasizes enhanced security and data encryption.
For quite a few years already, ProtonMail has been offering a relatively secure email service to the public. ProtonDrive is expected to launch its beta during the last quarter of 2020, and it will feature a similar experience to that offered by Tresorit, pCloud, or Sync (client-side encryption).
However, Internxt goes a step further in protecting user privacy. Internxt Drive is the only cloud storage service that doesn’t only provide client-side encryption (like ProtonDrive and many secure cloud storage services, see above), but it goes a step further by offering its service on an infrastructure of data centers spread all over the globe. Internxt, nor any third-party can access any of your files. Files uploaded to Internxt Drive are fragmented, client-side encrypted, and distributed all over the globe, so that a server never holds a complete file, but instead an encrypted shard.
There is a relevant number of studies on the topic of distributed cloud storage (eg Analysis of centralized and decentralized cloud architectures, School of Computing, University of South Alabama). And even ProtonMail published an article mentioning that their choice of a traditional cloud architecture instead of one that’s more innovative like that of Internxt, had some very obvious disadvantages. In ProtonMail’s own words:
Offering a centralized cloud storage service instead of a decentralized one is always going to involve some trade-offs. We recognize, for example, that the decentralized nature of the p2p model makes it highly effective at defeating censorship. Without a centralized server, there is no single point of failure for decentralized cloud storage systems. There is no one server that can suffer a catastrophic failure, accidentally burn to the ground, or be seized by a third party. With decentralized systems, your data is stored on the disks of multiple (possibly even hundreds of) operators, who may be located all over the world. As demonstrated by the success of the p2p BitTorrent protocol, this makes p2p systems almost impossible to censor, block, or shut down, as there is no central organization which can be pressured or coerced. Downloading data from a p2p network can be very efficient when the recipient is able to obtain data from multiple sources (peers) simultaneously.
So, why did ProtonMail create ProtonDrive under a traditional, centralized infrastructure? Quoting their own article: “Our existing infrastructure. ProtonDrive is built upon Proton’s existing infrastructure. All data stored on our servers is end-to-end encrypted, so even if the files are breached, they cannot be decrypted and accessed.” So, as mentioned above, ProtonDrive simply offers the security layer of client-encryption that for instance Google Drive and Dropbox lack, and that services like Tresorit already offer. However, Internxt Drive goes a step further by not only offering client-side encryption but also file fragmentation in an infrastructure that’s incredibly redundant and spread across the whole globe.