Help, I'm drowning in paper! My filing cabinets are overflowing! I need to store these in The Cloud, in one place, so that I don't have to go to a dozen different websites to find my documents, securely, so that I can't have my identity stolen, and organized so that I can quickly find the documents I'm looking for.
Great, there's Amazon's S3, Google's Cloud Storage, Apple's iCloud, DropBox, SpiderOak, EverNote or any of a number of other players. I can certainly upload documents to, and download documents from, these services. But they're all a bit... off. Here's what I mean.
Ideally, a filing cabinet has some system of organization which lets you find files fast. Physically, each document goes into a single drawer labelled X, and a folder in that drawer labelled Y. That's pretty much all you get. Digitally, you should at least be able to assign tags to a file, such as "pets", "bank", "2012", "insurance" and then search on multiple tags. Digital files also let you search inside, in case the tags are nonexistent or not descriptive enough.
Which of the above-mentioned services allow tags? EverNote. That's it. The rest give you a filing cabinet and you sort of ball up your papers and toss them inside. You find a document by uncrumpling each document and looking at it to see if it's the one you want.
Lots of companies claim that they store your files securely. DropBox has proven that you can't trust any of these guys. The only real solution is to encrypt your files on your own computer, and decrypt them on your own computer. The cloud should not store your key.
Which of the above-mentioned services really have that level of security? SpiderOak. That's it. All the others might say that they have security, but all the maintenance guys have copies of the key to your filing cabinet. If a company maintains the keys for you, they can decrypt your files. Security breaches happen all the time, and for mainly stupid, monetary reasons.
None of these apps combine tagging with security. Why? There's clearly a demand for online storage of documents, but why isn't there any demand for secure, organizable online storage?
I think most people have done a back-of-the-envelope risk analysis and have concluded that they don't care if their files are stolen. Sure, they'll scream if someone intercepts their mail and looks at their credit card statements, but it's much easier for an employee of a company to unethically snoop through users' files, and it's much easier for companies to neglect security because it costs too much to implement, and nobody will know anyway. Or for companies to leave the back door open because the government makes them do it. Maybe a company that doesn't store customers' keys can't deal with telling customers that their files are unrecoverable if they lose their key?
However, where does that leave those of us at the high end of the security bell-curve?
Someone needs to step up to the challenge and develop a user-friendly solution that combines tagging of files with user-controlled security so that we can have a truly secure online filing cabinet.