Missouri based Bitcasa was launched in 2011, and is already one of the most well-funded cloud storage providers out there. To date, they have raised $20M in venture financing from a large number of investors and funds including Pelion Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Horizon Ventures, Samsung Ventures, and many more. As their name suggests Bitcasa is a home for your Bites, from Giga-bite to Terra-bite. Bitcasa offers both personal and enterprise cloud storage solutions. For the purpose of this review we will only be reviewing the personal solution. It is important to note that the emphasis in this service is to be an online hard drive (a home for your files). Consequently, this is not a synchronization based service. With this we do not mean that files are not synced across devices, rather the features of this service are centered on file storage.
With their amazing convergent encryption and deduplication features, Bitcasa provides a service that has the ease of using your hard drive, with no slow down of your computer. They offer 20GB free storage and 1TB for $10, and we have found this service to be exceptional value for money. Therefore, we would definitely recommend Bitcasa to all users who have a lot of files to store.
In addition to the convergent encryption that we will explain in the security section, the standout feature on this service is the ‘Favorite’ option. When users only store their files on their cloud and not on their computer hard-drive, they are internet dependent to access their files. As many users are all too familiar, Murphy’s law often kicks in and just when you have to finish preparing for an important presentation in the morning, the internet cuts out and you are thrown into a blind panic. What the ‘Favorite’ option does is it selects a number of files that you mark as favorites, which are stored locally on your hard-drive for seamless offline access. The cloud-based copy of the files are automatically updated when your internet returns. Other features include:
- Supports Windows, Windows RT, Linux, Android, and Google Chrome
- Stores any file types
- Option of unlimited storage
- Drag and drop features
- Unlimited file archiving
- Up to 180 day file versioning
- File sharing via email and social networks
- Mobile and Web app access
- Mobile app camera auto-backup
Another great feature is the HD video transcoding. You are able to live stream music and video files from your cloud, without the need for downloading specific mobile applications. This means that even if your mobile device cannot normally play that specific file, it can still be streamed on Bitcasa.
There are two pricing packages offered: Premium, at $10 per month for 1TB of storage space, and Pro for $99 per month for 10TB of storage. These both include:
- Supports up to 5 devices
- 30 day file version history
- Easy auto-backup computers
- Mobile and Web app access
- Mobile app camera auto-backup
- Unlimited file sharing
- Access to the support community
Bitcasa really shines with their intelligently designed security protocol under their convergent encryption. With the cloud storage providers that offer elite security, files are encrypted pre-transfer and re-encrypted for storage on datacenters with user generated encryption keys. Where convergent encryption differs is that the encryption keys are generated directly from the files itself, and not based on the user. This means that identical files are easily identified without the vendor needing access to the files. This allows for deduplication and the maximization of your storage space. You have complete control over your encryption keys and Bitcasa employees don’t have access to your files. When you want to share a file however, you can send file links that are not only password protected, but also use AES-256 hash/SHA-256 hashing for all your data Additionally, Bitcasa stores your files with at least three fully encrypted copies so your files will never be lost.
Ease of Use
The Bitcasa platform is extremely easy to use. Not only are you able to set up automatic backups so it will run in the background without you having to do anything more then setting up the initial backup schedule, but you can also backup with just one click. All you need to do is go to the file you want, right-click and select “Mirror,” and it will instantly back it up. The service is extremely well designed and centralized for your convenience too. You have easy access to both your online billing, and reporting and analytics on your cloud. This provides clear and complete visibility and insights into the overal performance of your cloud.
Bitcasa offers a wealth of customer support. In addition to their email and chat support they also have an extremely thorough help center. There you can find a multitude of documents, white papers, and guides of best practice. They also give device specific instructions and solutions to technical issues that can occur with a cloud storage service. Moreover, there are community forums where you can connect with users worldwide and learn from others experiences. Bitcasa is so focused on ensuring that their user base is cared for that they even give complete transparency on the health of their service with their ‘Service Health Dashboard.’ This dashboard monitors the health and status of all of Bitcasa web services.
Bitcasa is a cloud storage provider that not only supplies large amounts of storage space at an extremely competitive price, but they also give an unbeatable service. It is common for providers to offer 2GB of storage for free as a trial for their services, but Bitcasa is ready to put their money where their mouth is and offer a whopping 20GB free. They offer a rich array of features, unbeatable and cleverly designed security, as well as great customer support.