June 29, 2012

To SpiderOak, Freedom = Blazing Our Own Trail

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In yesterday’s blog post, Erin and Alan spoke a bit about how freedom means your peace of mind. We achieve that through our dedication to privacy online.

Another way we embrace freedom online is through blazing our own trail. We’re proud to say we’ve done this intentionally in several ways:

It’s smart to have ‘Zero-Knowledge’

Though it makes work for our developers and engineers a little challenging, the idea was to create an environment where Fairless and Oberman didn’t have to trust the people hired on to work at SpiderOak. So they methodically developed a system which is called “’Zero-Knowledge’ privacy.” This means, there is no point where a SpiderOak employee, even with direct access to the servers that are storing the data, can access your information. It is a very important distinction and gives you (as an individual or a business) the freedom to upload your embarrassing videos (like waving around golf ball retrievers) or backing up your grandma’s super-secret recipes. Should the government or anyone else come busting through our digital offices, asking for grandma’s recipes, we would have to give them the data by law. BUT it is encrypted and there is nothing we can do to decrypt it. Read more about this in our recent newsletter.


It’s because of you that we are so passionate and vocal about privacy. Providing a private and flexible product, with real feedback and support is something we’re proud to offer. Our customers often say, “I love working with real people!” We have a virtual team scattered around the world, and when our users can identify us as being real people who really help them, it brings smiles to our faces. Our loyal following of people like you who care about privacy is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the cloud storage / sync / share companies in our space.

Complete cross-platform support

In yesterday’s interview with our CTO, Alan Fairless, you probably read where he recalled there being very few online backup options during SpiderOak’s inception in 2007 that were compatible with all platforms. The need for heterogeneity has always existed, but it’s becoming more pronounced as devices proliferate, devices that run diverse operating systems, especially Linux. In fact, a large chunk of our customers run Linux OS. Being a heavy Linux user himself, Fairless saw the need. So that is where we started, and worked our way across platforms, giving our users the freedom to backup, sync, and share their important data from any device. We continue to provide flexible multi-platform support.

What’s in a name

I often get the question, “What exactly is a SpiderOak?” “Does someone in the company have a fascination with spiders and oak trees?” Believe it or not, there was actually a method in creating our name. Alan Fairless and Ethan Oberman did not want to come up with a name everyone had in the industry, but wanted something unique. At the time (and to this day) it was pretty hard to find a good domain, so they started taking concepts that they liked and started placing them together to see if they were available. They slowly started plugging in different concepts and they liked the concept of spiders and webs of data. The word “Oak” was brought to the table to mean very strong and stable. And that is how the SpiderOak name was formed. Since it is so different and not specific, this gives us the freedom to be flexible. There is also an interesting ancient story that uniquely describes the name we chose.

Let’s celebrate!

As a special thank you and to celebrate, all of next week SpiderOak is going to offer you 4 additional FREE GB for the 4th.

Whether you are already using SpiderOak, just signed up, or are ready to give it a try, celebrate with us by grabbing your 4 FREE GB. Stay tuned for details via our blog, Twitter, and Facebook.