SkyDrive featured on the Security Now podcast

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The TWiT Network's popular security series, Security Now, has conducted a survey of twelve major cloud storage solutions. Of interest to Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 enthusiasts, host Steve Gibson included SkyDrive, in addition to the big name brands in the field like Dropbox and SugarSync, and the not so well known solutions like SpiderOak.

Unusually for podcasts, every episode of Security Now has a full transcript, so we can give you direct quote of Steve Gibson's appraisal of SkyDrive:

Steve: Exactly. And of course, going alphabetically, we've got Microsoft SkyDrive, which, eh. It doesn't seem to have any strong Mac support, not surprisingly, although there is an SDK available for apps, although only apparently running Windows, iOS, and Android. Now, Microsoft does give you more free storage than anybody, 25GB, I didn't see anybody that was at 25GB, with a 2GB per file limit. They do support - SkyDrive supports Windows, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 Metro-style. But again, no real clear focus on security. No explanation about how keys are handled or crypto and so forth. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if they also can and would respond to someone telling them that they need to hand over your data. Do you know anything more about SkyDrive that's beyond...

Leo: Well, I think it's going to expand. The thing is you're working with Microsoft. So at some point they're going to add to it. It's probably enterprise-focused. It does support the mesh synching, but only 5GB of that can be dedicated to Live Mesh synching.

Steve: And it does have a nice web interface, too.

Leo: And Mac. So, yeah, I mean, I think it's something. It doesn't seem to play at the same level as some of these other solutions, however.

Steve: No. And the 25GB is kind of compelling, except, like, well...

Leo: You can't really do much with it. There's no, for instance, there's no interface; right? There's no - you want to be able to mount it, for instance, as you do Dropbox. That would be cool. You can't do that.

I have to take issue with some of the comments here.

Yes, SkyDrive's web interface is very nice, I especially appreciate the drag and drop functionality. However, the office web apps that form part of SkyDrive's interface are woefully lacking, more than they should be given that they're competing with Google Docs. E.g. Office Live Word even lacks a word count function.

Leo also said that you can't mount SkyDrive as a drive. Well, you can - just search Google. The only problem with doing so is that it's painfully slow to use.

The key issue with SkyDrive is that its desktop integration is virtually non-existent (unless you feel like going 'off the reservation' as mentioned above), which lessens the usefulness of having such tight SkyDrive integration on Windows Phone 7. If you want to have a desktop document available on your phone, you have to remember to save a copy to SkyDrive before you leave your PC. However, even if you do set up SkyDrive as a network drive, you're unlikely to use it as your default location for saving office documents because it's so slow.

It's hoped the situation will improve so that the generous 25GB of storage can be better exploited by Windows and Windows Phone users.

Update: Many changes this week - see this story - which puts SkyDrive into a much more competitive position.

Source / Credit: Security Now Episode 349 Transcript