BitTorrent Sync launches commercial file sharing app

Consumer peer-to-peer software maker releases Sync 2.0 for secure file sharing between smartphones, desktops and NAS devices.

BitTorrent Inc. this week released Sync Pro 2.0, the first commercial version of its file sync-and-share application for network-attached storage devices.

The consumer peer-to-peer software maker also added vendors Synology and Western Digital to its list of NAS partners. Beta versions of BitTorrent Sync have been available as add-on software for installation on NAS platforms by NetGear, Qnap, Seagate, Synology, Sphere 3D (formerly Overland Storage) and Western Digital.

Sync enables shared storage across local networks or the Internet. The product is geared to small distributed work teams.

In version 2.0, file synching occurs automatically between all devices linked to a user's common private identity as an alternative to using the cloud. New folders added to one device are synchronized automatically across other devices, including smartphones, desktops or NAS devices.

The "cryptographic fingerprint" contains the user's folder permissions and can be distributed to all members of a peer group. The person who creates the folder can change permissions after sharing it, revoke or modify a user's access to shared storage, or designate other users as the folder owner.

The distributed certificate enables all members of a peer group to manage access requests from other users, including changing storage permissions on the fly. Users get authenticated either by scanning a Quick Response code on their smartphone or manually entering a 33-digit encryption key.

Beta version 1.4 of Sync authenticated shared storage between devices with clickable links to encryption keys, which needed to be changed for each device whenever a user's permission status changed.

The enhancements were made to change the focus from storage devices to end users, said Erik Pounds, BitTorrent vice president of product management for Sync.

"Having your devices together under a common private identity is really important for storage. It makes all your folders available on all your devices. When you have a high-capacity storage device , you can set it with just a single option to have a full copy of all your shared folders across all the devices," Pounds said.

"If someone shares a file with you, it will automatically start synching to your NAS device," Pounds added.

Sync Pro 2.0 comes with a default setting to ensure that users only write to files inside a NAS data store. Users also can link NAS data shares to their private identity and opt to synchronize all folders or select files.

A new Sync All feature uses NAS boxes as a central repository for shared storage. Users select only the files they need, but have visibility into all NAS storage. Pounds said this provides an alternative to cloud storage by eliminating the need to download and upload files.

BitTorrent Sync Pro is sold on a per-user basis for $40 per year. Up to 50 licenses can be synched to a user's private identity.

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