Most people understand the difference between a private safe at home and a rented safe controlled by a bank. Your private safe is endangered by family members and burglars. Your bank safe is protected against burglars but is endangered by banking and government rules as well as fraud by bank employees.
People have a rough understanding of the pros and cons of the physical safe security solutions. However, users have no chance to assess the quality of online IT services.
They hope their data are adequately secured and backed up. Hopefully, the apps they are using and the companies running it will be operational forever. Passwords and accessed are handled according highest security standards. Users hope that large organisations like Facebook, Yahoo or Apple take better care of their data than small companies. This is certainly not true. The large organisations may have very good mechanisms to protect their data. However, criminals prefer large targets because the return on investment is much larger. Large companies are subject to all kinds of government regulations e.g. banks may not allowed to hand out the money you have in your saving accounts (just figures in a data base).
Many people think that their smart phone is data safe and store huge amounts of sensitive data – very often data which are owned by other people (e.g. email), employers or companies. Today you may be forced to give immigration officers your passwords to social networks and private accounts.
My solution to this problem is rather simple. I use a private Sharepoint Server Private Portal for me, my family clan, my professional project partners but also my guitar club. The Private Portal is hosted by a small hosting provider in Switzerland. The cost is about 120$/year for > 100 users. Microsoft is also offering Sharepoint Online for $5/user. The Microsoft Sharepoint software is used by a lot of large companies. Therefore it will be maintained at least for the next 20 years. Microsoft has a good track record on providing long-term support for their business software. The staff of the Swiss hoster is very experienced and provides services also to Swiss banks. Swiss government tries to establish a trusted IT infrastructure in Switzerland and knows how important security and privacy is for this business – I do not trust the legislation and government agencies of Trump, Merkel or Putin.
I personally control the high level access to my private portal and can create subportals for groups and invite other users. Users can manage the access to their data. Sharepoint provides multi language support – a very important figure for my WW family. It also provides private communication much like Facebook. You must not use eMail services to communicate. I don’t store a lot of data on my smart phone. Sensitive data is stored at the portal and can be accessed anytime with a browser or special Sharepoint apps. I personally prefer a browser which works on any device.
Certainly the private portal server can be attacked by hackers much like any other Sharepoint server. However, the ROI will be very small and not very interesting to NSA and other government agencies. The private portal has also the advantage that I can get a copy of all my data to my PC whenever I want and can move to another service provider. I am using standard systems like Facebook, XING , Google etc for first contacts, chats and „throw away“ data. The nice things about my Private Portal – no advertizing and no nasty messaging during work. It’s certainly worth 10$ per month.
Attention: Big Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google etc want to drive the small hosters out of business and move users to their closed platforms. An Open Source Collaboration Portal offering for private and small business is needed.