Proton, a Swiss privacy focused software company, now has an arsenal of apps and services that go much beyond what it’s perhaps best known for, the end-to-end encrypted Proton Mail. There’s of course the encrypted Proton VPN, a calendar app and even a password management product called Proton Pass. But the toolset finally achieves some sort of completion, with the Proton Drive cloud storage service, now getting native support on all smartphone and computing device platforms.
A native app for Apple’s Mac computing devices is now available, and it joins the apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows PCs. In fact, the Mac app arrives a few months after the native Proton Drive for Windows, which rolled out over the summer. The puzzle is complete. It also means Proton Drive can now be considered a viable, usable and secure alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. More so, if you are within the Apple device ecosystem, with a Mac computing device figuring prominently.
These latest set of developments happen, as coincidental as it is at a time when Google is ironing out technical issues with Drive.
Proton Drive’s highlights include end-to-end encryption, file syncing on the cloud and all connected devices, offline file access and coming soon will be the option to also sync any folder residing in your Mac, to the cloud. Unlike how other cloud services work which do encryption on the cloud, Proton Drive encrypts any file that’s being uploaded to cloud storage, on the device itself. Apps on Windows and Mac too, allow for downloading a file to local storage for access when you may not have internet connectivity.
True to its CERN roots, the company remains based in Switzerland and the Mac app for Proton Drive is also open source, open for routine privacy and security audits by third-party experts. Proton started out in 2014 in Switzerland, when a team of scientists at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) came together to build an internet which offered more privacy. The rest is history, with a set of end-to-end encrypted apps that offer a user more data privacy and security.
For Proton, piecing together the Drive puzzle is important in terms of a broader ecosystem. Even more so, as it pitches its more privacy focused services as alternatives to Google and Microsoft’s suite of apps. Having mail, cloud storage, calendar, a password manager and VPN can be pitched as an alternative ecosystem to a combination buckets users tend to find themselves in – Gmail, Drive and Calendar, or Outlook and OneDrive. VPN gives Proton an added advantage. As does a Pass, with Google and Microsoft having their own authenticator apps too.
The question of pricing. A Proton account can enable access to some or all apps, feature set unlock depending on the subscription package chosen.
There is the Proton Free tier with 1GB of file storage and email inbox space – though this is inferior in comparison with the free tiers for Gmail + Drive (7GB) and Outlook + OneDrive (5GB). Calendar, VPN and limited utility of Pass, are available. That said, Proton Unlimited for $12.99 per month (that’s around ₹1,082) is the way to go – 500GB storage space, 10 high speed VPN connection and integrated 2-factor authentication in Proton Pass, some highlights.