Hervé Blanc, Founder & CEO, SHAREKEYHervé Blanc, Founder & CEO
Suppose you are the CFO of a corporation who is preparing a presentation with sensitive financial data for the Board of Directors. Or you might be the Head of Human Resources planning to implement a staff reduction within specific departments whose affected employees have been identified. Or perhaps you are an Executive reaching out to a peer at another company to discuss a potential corporate transaction. You very likely need a collaboration tool to communicate with your team or other business contacts to exchange messages and documents whose content is highly confidential. You might even want to keep secret that you communicate with someone altogether. How can you be sure that your highly sensitive data and confidential communication remains private? And that no one has access to any information – whether an external agent, an intermediary, a service or infrastructure provider, or technical administrator – along the communication path?

It is easy to mix security with privacy. Several collaboration tools provide end-to-end security, by ensuring that the data communication pipes and storage are secured to prevent eavesdropping or alteration, and by encrypting the data itself some times. However, when you read their Terms of Service – something that actually no one really bothers to read before accepting and consenting – you are actually entrusting your Service Provider with your login and password, with the tacit understanding that they will protect them and not access them for any other reason than logging in. Careful reading of such Terms of Service shows that no Service Provider commits that your data will never be accessed, nor can demonstrably prove that your data have not been misused. In reality some providers analyze your data to monetize it. They might have to disclose such data if requested by court order. Or data may be inadvertently leaked as a result of a data hack. Sharekey was conceived to tackle these limitations and risks, based on a vision of its two Founders – Hervé Blanc and Sauro Nicli.

Sharekey, the Swiss-based, privacy-focused collaboration platform provider they have created, is both secure and private. Accepting its Terms of Service requires Zero Trust in the collaboration platform itself and in any data service providers because the data and the encryption private keys used to protect them are owned by the end user and not revealed to anyone outside their devices. Encrypted data stored in Sharekey’s cloud with your private key cannot be revealed because even Sharekey does not own the decryption keys. Sharekey end users choose what to share and with whom by exchanging shared keys – this “share keys” mechanism stands behind their company name. “All collaboration apps have access to your data. Sharekey proposes a true private collaboration application with the mission to guarantee business privacy with an app-to-app encrypted platform – based on Zero Trust,” says Hervé Blanc, Founder & CEO of Sharekey.

An All-in-One Privacy-centric App for Business Collaboration

Sharekey targets the C-suite – Corporate Executives, Board Members, Senior Managers and Legal, Administrative and Financial staff that support them – who need a private collaboration workspace that works both within and across enterprise boundaries, where privacy and secrecy of communication are absolute – for example, the terms and conditions of an acquisition where some stakeholders (e.g., lawyers, bankers, etc.) are outside the enterprise’s security perimeter.

The adjacent graphic positions Sharekey versus other collaboration tools.
It targets the top of the pyramid, where the number of users may be small, but where the need for maintaining secrecy and confidentiality of exchanges is paramount. Obviously Sharekey can also serve as an enterprise-wide internal collaboration tool, enabling individual and group communication, file and folder sharing, as well as identity and access management.

Sharekey combines Slack, Dropbox and Zoom functionalities into a single enterprise-grade collaboration tool, all-in-one, focusing on privacy, not just security. Sharekey can be installed on any device – iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Web and Linux – which means that it can readily fit any enterprise IT infrastructure without requiring any operational changes besides installation (and deinstallation, when an employee leaves).

How Sharekey differs from other collaboration tools

Many consumer-oriented collaboration solutions have found their way into the workplace and corporate boardrooms “by osmosis”. Sharekey differs in one essential way – it is not just a way to ensure secure end-to-end communication. It provides app-to-app security and privacy. The end point for Sharekey is not the device on which the app resides, but the app itself. The private encryption key that is used to secure a communication channel never leaves the crypto wallet installed on the user’s device so that no one has access to it. In a sense, it is like a secure pipeline – much like a VPN – between peer Sharekey apps. The devices, the networks and the cloud are blind to what is exchanged as well as between whom such exchanges are taking place.

All collaboration apps have access to your data. Sharekey offers a complete collaboration application with the mission to guarantee business privacy with a truly app-to-app encrypted platform

Sharekey’s app-to-app encrypted solution allows additional features that are not possible with most of the current collaboration tools. For instance, it isn’t possible to have the same WhatsApp or Signal account on multiple mobile devices without losing the communications history on the second mobile device, nor is it easy to synchronise your Telegram secret chats across multiple devices. It can be done, but the process is cumbersome and requires the use of cloud services, with whom non-encrypted data need to be shared.

Sharekey is built to work seamlessly in a multi-device environment, because the data, even when stored on Sharekey’s cloud servers – 1000 meters deep inside a Swiss mountain – remain encrypted with your key, which never, ever leaves your device. When you need to sync data with a new device, you simply log into your Sharekey app on that device and – voilà – the data is given access to and both devices will remain always synched. This is particularly helpful when new collaborators join a multi-party communication channel. With other collaboration apps, the previous exchanges might not be available to the new participant. This is not business friendly.

Sharekey can also serve as an emergency tool during cyber-attacks, when other communication and collaboration resources may be offline.

Unlike other collaboration platforms, Sharekey’s code is open source, readily available for inspection and audit by security professionals.

When sharing keys to allow data sharing, Hervé Blanc points out that “With Sharekey, when you share confidential information, you have full control of your data. You own it because you encrypt it with your own key, and you control it because you can share it with access privileges with only those contacts you chose. Users can be Viewers, Editors or Administrators. You can make that choice.”

Because users exchange keys only when they communicate and collaborate – never actual data –, your encrypted data is stored only once in the Sharekey cloud.
Sharing data means “sharing the keys to allow access to the data”. This feature becomes increasingly critical as energy consumption and sustainability come business concerns.

Sustainable, eco-resilient app

Sharekey has designed its solution to be eco-resilient. Its data centers run on renewable energy and its sharing protocols are “green by design.” For instance, when sharing files and folders, only the lightweight encryption key – the “shared key” – is exchanged, which allows the recipient to decide if data should be downloaded or not, avoiding unnecessary file transfers. This is especially efficient in large multi-party collaboration.

No data analytics can be conducted, as all data is encrypted. Sharekey’s cloud cannot aggregate nor process metadata, nor install tracking analytics, avoiding additional energy consumption. In our current climate, every little bit helps to minimize the negative impact of IT operations on the environment while reducing costs overall.

Under Swiss Privacy Laws, not the CLOUD Act

As a Swiss-registered company and with its infrastructure entirely in Switzerland (including its highly secure data storage and network access guaranteed by our trusted Cloud service provider Exoscale), all user data stored by Sharekey is protected by one of the strongest privacy laws available in the world – the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act, unlike the Cloud Act that US-based cloud providers are subjected to. Only a court order issued by a Swiss judge can cause the data to be retrieved, but even so the data is not exposed! After all, Sharekey does not hold the decryption keys, which reside in the crypto wallets of its users.
  • With Sharekey, when you share confidential information, you have full control of your data. You own it because you encrypt it with your own key, and you control it because you can share it with access privileges. Users can be Viewers, Editors or Administrators. You can make that choice

What’s coming next?

Sharekey currently supports multimedia communication (chats, datarooms, voice calls, video conferencing), encrypted storage, role-based data sharing and multi-device synchronization. Next year, Sharekey will become the first application to offer true app-to-app encrypted Online Collaboration with the ability to view and edit multiple file types simultaneously among various users. Another feature – called “Pin to Blockchain” – will offer the ability to record electronic signatures on a blockchain.

Awards & Prestigious Clients

Sharekey has garnered a lot of industry attention. Recently Sharekey received the Public Award at the PwC Cyber Security & Privacy Day in Luxembourg and the Gold Medal for Innovation at the IT Night 2022 in Paris. During 2021, the company received several awards (Swisscom Startup Challenge, VentureLab Leaders, Top 10 Swiss Cybersecurity Startups 2021) that greatly increased its visibility, especially in Switzerland. These awards prove the innovation of this application.

Recently one of the largest insurance companies in the world has implemented its solution as a way for its top management to collaborate privately on sensitive matters.

Sharekey is becoming a trusted Partner for large corporations and business elites to manage their communication and data sharing with all external stakeholders in a highly secure, private and green manner. This is ushering in a new era of private data sharing collaboration.

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Hervé Blanc, Founder & CEO

Sharekey provides a privacy-focused business collaboration suite, All-in-One, which guarantees confidential communication and data sharing both within and across corporate boundaries. It is particularly suited for use at the highest level of enterprises, such as Top Executives, CXOs, Board Members and their staff. Users need Zero Trust in Sharekey and Sharekey has Zero Knowledge of users’ data and metadata, which ring fences the application from many of the privacy concerns and security threats facing other collaboration platforms.

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