BitTorrent announces cloudless peer-to-peer storage software

17 Jan 2014

While more and more organisations begin to move significant amounts of their data to cloud storage, torrent provider BitTorrent announced plans to create a cloudless peer-to-peer (P2P) storage software for increased information security.

The lengths to which governments and organisations like the US National Security Agency (NSA), Google and Facebook have allegedly gone to access people’s personal online information is now well-known to many across the world and a number of companies have begun to fight back with various security devices and software.

Cloud storage, in particular, has been a hot topic with regard to questions raised about how secure is people’s information that is being stored in a server room in any one of the locations across the globe.

Not without controversy, file-transfer service BitTorrent is one of the world’s biggest torrent software providers and is now looking at taking on storage with the launch of BitTorrent Sync.

As opposed to cloud storage sites like Dropbox or Microsoft’s SkyDrive, BitTorrent Sync will remove the concept of data centres in favour of a P2P storage model, where data is stored on dozens of individuals’ computers and synced to re-create the file when it’s requested.

Greater security

The model is a progression of the P2P file transfer through torrents, which download a file to a user’s hard drive with the data ‘seeded’ from dozens, if not hundreds, of other people online.

This will offer users, in theory, much better protection from companies and organisations accessing people’s information, as a greater level of encryption will exist on a person’s computer than an open server.

Perhaps the biggest factor in BitTorrent’s favour is a lack of restrictions on storage space.

Users of cloud-storage systems will be familiar with storage limits, as space will obviously be limited on a server. With BitTorrent Sync, there is no storage limit, as the file will be coming from multiple sources across the world.

This in turn creates an obvious drawback to P2P storage. BitTorrent Sync’s design means that two devices require constant connectivity to synch, as there is no server in a different location hosting the data.

Data-storage experts will no doubt be keeping an eagle eye on how the service progresses in the coming months, but this could prove to be an interesting step in increased security online.

BitTorrent Sync is now available to download from its website in beta form, and the company claims it should run on Windows, Mac and Linux devices.

This includes smartphones with Android 2.2 or higher, or iOS 5 or higher.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic