by on April 15, 2020, in

End-to-End-Encrypted Team Communication & Collaboration Tools

This post is a collection of my notes about my search for secure collaboration and communication tools for smaller organizations, specifically vast limits. I will update it from time to time.

What is This About?

In an ideal world, all our data and communications would be stored and transmitted end-to-end encrypted, i.e., in such a way that (cloud service) providers never see unencrypted data. Realistically, end-to-end encryption is only available for a subset of the services we use and need.

Requirements

Which features are we looking for? What functionality do we need?

  • End-to-end encryption with keys managed by the customer
  • UX: user experience and stability
  • SaaS: application hosted and managed by the vendor

Text & Audio/Video Chat

Mattermost

Netsfere

  • Company website
  • Cloud-based enterprise messaging service
  • The free plan looks good already. The paid Enterprise plan adds AD synchronization via an agent to be installed on domain controllers.

Riot/Matrix

Stackfield

  • Company website
  • Text chat and team collaboration as SaaS or on-premises solution
  • Functionality includes task management, time tracking, and event scheduling
  • Currently 1:1 calls only, no group calls with audio/video

Wickr

  • Company website
  • Zero-trust communications as SaaS (Wickr Pro) or on-premises solution (Wickr Enterprise)
  • Supports SSO via OpenID Connect (requires Wickr Pro Gold plan; Google and Okta specifically listed as compatible; configuration is not documented)

Wire

  • Company website
  • Fast-growing startup focusing on secure communications for enterprises
  • Usability of the encryption and security features seems to be good
  • Mobile app: the reviews on the Play Store and the App Store are not great

File Storage, Sharing and Sync

LucidLink

  • Company website
  • Presents cloud storage to the OS as a virtual drive
  • Adds a logical layer, works with most cloud storage providers (including Amazon, Azure, Google, Backblaze)
  • Lack of admin controls
  • The Windows client’s UX is so-so

Sync.com for Business

  • Company website
  • End-to-end encrypted file storage and sharing for teams
  • Inexpensive, good feature set
  • Supports ACLs through team shared folders (no nesting or changed permissions on subfolders)
  • Only one sync folder (directories outside the sync folder can be synced by creating symbolic links; this is not officially supported, though)
  • Not everybody seems to be happy with the Android app

Tresorit

  • Company website
  • End-to-end encrypted alternative to the usual EFSS suspects
  • Good UX, reliability and sync speed (personal experience over several years)
  • What’s missing: ACLs (permissions) per folder

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