Christian Schmickler Interviewed: Provide Shield to Cloud Data with Cryptomator

The data has now become gasoline to run almost everything that is online, the demand for cloud data management is increasing on an exponential basis.

However, these cloud-centric databases are facing the music in the form of data privacy concerns. Moreover, the data stores in the cloud contain confidential and personal information of individuals that if shared publicly or get in the wrong hands can become a nightmare for user privacy.

Online data security is the key maintain privacy of users. To address this issue “Skymatic” develops a cloud encryption solution Cryptomator that ensures ultimate protection.

We are thankful to Mr. Christian Schmickler, Managing Partner at Skymatic for his precious time to discuss how Cryptomator software works and to ensure your data protection.

So without wasting any time let’s dig into the answers given by Mr. Christian Schmickler regarding how Cryptomator is an essential software in improving your online privacy.

Q1. Your Introduction at “Cryptomator”?
Yeah, well as you probably know that the main product, Cryptomator is out there from 2016, it is simply a program and an App that encrypts files on a user’s device, which can be a mobile phone or tablet, a computer or the client. So this is client side encryption or is known as end to end encryption.

The idea behind Cryptomator is to build a cloud based encryption solution that serves all kind of user and has no previous technical knowledge or advanced computing skills. We develop a software that is user friendly and easy to use as much possible and another factor that is very important for us is transparency to give people confidence in what we say that we do. So the open source aspect that was included in the basic version of Cryptomator.

Q2. As the Cryptomator technology is a bit advanced technology for the beginners, so how can you explain it in simple terms for those who have zero knowledge about encryption.

Well it’s a simple installation routine. If you’re on a computer then you just download the Java application, normal file or if you are downloaded from the IOS, from the App store or the Android, Google play store, you know the correct word there I guess. Yeah, you can just download this app from the very basic interface. You create so called the bowl (destination folder) then you Choose a path forward for a bowl that you have just created and then even a baby can use this file system it’s a drag and drop and any time you store file it got encrypted automatically.

As your audience consists mainly of non-technical people, who have concerns about online privacy but are relatively new or unknown on the technical aspects of it. Then the best way to explain our product is meant to provide online privacy within other products with the combination of Dropbox or Google drive.

Q3. What was the core idea/reason for establishing this project?

Our, my Co-founder Sebastian Stenzel you can find more about him at Skymatic website. He is an engineer and he realized that there are some flaws in cloud storage out there, and the main area of privacy is not really covered by the available offerings.

As in clouds you never know is it just another computer or another company’s computer. Can you trust them yet no. At then he was looking for solutions, to save these file in an encrypted manner and the available solutions of that time either not user friendly or not really trust worthy because they are neither open source nor their architecture is as convincing on privacy.

Sebastian started Cryptomator as the side project and begin writing first line of code and in the beginning of 2014 the first GitHub project was launched. Then some of his friends joined him. I joined the team in the beginning of 2016. At that time it became clear that it is time to transform this into a business model or a whole business projects so that’s how it’s all started. The idea is to sell Cryptomator app in order to provide a way for protecting user privacy.

But why didn’t it work extensively? Because people are not willing to pay any money in order to protect their privacy. It’s just very small niche markets out there of people that have very much knowledge of the digital world, and are very close to computers and everything you got to do with computers.

We tried to design Cryptomator to make it easy that everybody can use it. Ninety eight percent of our twitter followers, which is more than 3000 now, are male and only few of them understand the real meaning of privacy. Subject is technology, cryptography, and how to use it to enable user’s privacy. We have an audience now that was able to do encryption way before Cryptomator ever existed. So Cryptomator supposed to have all the other people in particular and it’s obvious no body is interested in that.

Those who don’t have much knowledge about online privacy can save your comfort from compromising to companies like Google, Facebook. In the end People spending towards improving their privacy find it very beneficial to use our services. I think the main problem is in the first place is the part about privacy in general which many fails to understand because the people who did not understand what it means, to have privacy as it is totally lost in society. Even people with the technical knowledge are reluctant to pay for privacy, and this is why we are still not getting great response.

Q4. How your Cryptomator encrypts your sensitive files and folders in Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and many other cloud storages.  

Well Cryptomator takes your file and encrypts it on your device which can be a mobile phone or computer and stores it in an encrypted way and send it automatically to the cloud where it then arrives in the encrypted form.

Q5. How Cryptomator is contributing to improving the online security of individuals and surrounding communities?

Yeah. Well it encrypts all your files on your devices, like your mobile phone, your iPad or computer. It means only encrypted files leave out of your system and beyond that, only encrypted data of yours is existed. Let say, if your cloud gets hacked or if your cloud is not as trustworthy as you hoped it was and some hackers trying to access your data, but they find only encrypted data. And they cannot really do much with it. Cryptomator not only encrypt the file content but also the file names like sample, so any kind of information except for the file size obviously. In short, Um, it is somewhat unreadable to anyone that compromises your cloud storage.

Q6. What is your opinion about individually on GDPR policies?

To me GDPR is not as effective. I mean it’s a good thing that people have taken GDPR as a reason to think about their online privacy right but then again Facebook and Cambridge Analytica has done much more to it.

I think the biggest problem with the GDPR is that the big institutions such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, are ask people to agree to all of the terms and conditions in order to be able to use those services and GDPR has asked the people whether they want to give permission to them or not.  But everybody has again, click on, yes, of course I read the new terms and conditions that are now compliant with GDPR. So this is the biggest problem and nothing has changed about that.

At the same time, if I look at the