It’s pretty well known that for all of its handy qualities, Dropbox has one big “wait a minute” for lawyers. Specifically, data uploaded to your Dropbox in the cloud is not automatically encrypted. I’ve briefly written about SpiderOak before, an alternative to Dropbox that offers the encryption needed. My only ding against this app and service is that many iPad app developers don’t support it although they support Dropbox. (By this I mean that they don’t have a way to download from SpiderOak in the application.)
There’s another secure alternative out there, SafeSync. SafeSync offers encrypted data storage in the cloud, and it has apps for mobile platforms. There are two faults I see with SafeSync. First, it’s free for only 30 days. (Yes, I know, a company has to make a living, but I generally need more than 30 days to test drive something. Call me weird.) After that, the service is available for paying customers only—although those customers receive 20 gigabytes of storage space. Second, and more important, the SafeSync app does not integrate with with other apps at all. I can examine a PDF or Word file in SafeSync, but I cannot open it with another app for annotating or editing. For me, that’s a deal breaker, I’m afraid.
My hope is that in 2012 we will see apps like TrialPad offer integration with services in addition to Dropbox. I hope we will also see apps like SafeSync take advantage of Apple’s “Open in…” feature and let us open files in apps and save them back to SafeSync.
For now, we lawyers will need to stick with Dropbox and use it as a temporary site to store documents until we can pull them into other apps. With any luck, we will soon have a seamless computer-to-iPad way to store documents securely in the cloud.