Future heads©  Marcel Weisheit/luckycloud GmbH© Marcel Weisheit/luckycloud GmbH

Luc Mader of luckycloud

As the seat of government and parliament and as a city with sensitive transport and communications networks, Berlin has been relying on innovative IT security concepts for many years. Cloud Computing has been a widely discussed topic in information technology, with data security playing a major role. Luckycloud – a comprehensive and sustainable cloud service provider for encrypted and secure communication – offers just that. Luc Mader, founder and CEO of luckycloud, explains the advantages of the company’s zero-knowledge cloud and tells us why data breaches have become impossible with their solution.  

Hello Mr. Mader. Security gaps and data breaches occurring with various cloud service providers have demonstrated that there is definitely a need for action in such areas as data protection and transparency. What makes luckycloud different from other providers, and why are our data safe here in particular?

The data security concept behind luckycloud not only enables the users to be in control of their own data, but also to ensure that they are both cryptographically and legally secure.  This is what actually constitutes state-of-the-art data protection. Our customers can save their files with luckycloud so that not even our administrators have access to them. Because actually, we should not entrust our data to anyone, assuming in good faith that the respective company will comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Can you describe the concept in more detail?

Luckycloud is taking a “clean eating approach” in a figurative sense – without any additions! That means that we focus one hundred percent on our core business only. We provide secure data storage, high-performance data synchronization between several devices, and performing full data backups of our customers’ own computers and server systems. After all, there is one thing most renowned providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive etc. have in common: They are a non-transparent black box that their customers simply have to trust blindly!

Security issues often remain unnoticed for a long time and are not closed until far-reaching data breaches have occurred. If a commercial company offers you a “free” service, then you are not the customer, but the product. An even more highly charged issue in this context are so-called back doors, that means deliberately installed trap doors. These are used by hackers to tap user data or metadata in masses, for purposes of espionage or illegal state surveillance.

It is, however, no longer sufficient to just look at the data stored by the users…?

True. Currently – in the background and unnoticed by the users – Google, Dropbox and Microsoft are systematically tapping and analysing metadata. Various types of user information are merged and linked in so-called user profiles. Based on such profiles they can make accurate predictions about the user’s behaviour far beyond the boundaries of the cloud services provided. Such predictions cover large areas of their private and business life. This is not fun anymore – the “transparent citizen” has long been harsh reality.

How did you get the idea to establish your start-up company?

I would say luckycloud is a logical consequence of the systematic large-scale collection of data performed by the large well-known Internet companies. It was therefore not a spontaneous business idea, but it resulted from the desire to be able to store data in a cloud independent of large corporations.

At the beginning of my studies at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW) I was fascinated by programming and dealing with server systems. In 2007, I launched an online platform for my friends and fellow students on which I was sharing an archive of compiled course material with all students in my programme. Based on this platform and supported by my university and many committed students, I developed an inter-university archive, storing mutually shared material from various study programmes.

Luckycloud combines two key features: cloud storage and emails. How exactly does it work? 

Luckycloud offers the option to use key IT services, such as a secure data cloud and email, based on the best open source software currently available in a single, user-friendly and engaging user interface. Luckycloud services include a highly secure data cloud with collaborative features and end-to-end encryption, and a state-of-the-art email system with the option to use PGP encryption, even through a webmailer from any device.

The optional mail feature provides cutting-edge and powerful mail hosting. Users can create and manage individual email addresses, register new or embed their own domains. They can integrate email accounts using a high-performance IMAP server or by accessing it through our state-of-the-art webmailer.

How is your company funded?

Apart from the free trial period during which our customers can test luckycloud extensively, we offer our cloud services only for a fee because we do not sell our customers’ data to make money. The infrastructure at luckycloud is growing harmoniously with the size of our regular customers. As a result, we were able to work profitably after just six month of operation.

Moreover, many students from Berlin have supported luckycloud with donations. A large part of the financial resources, however, comes from two investors with medium-sized enterprises. These had not worked with a cloud system before for data protection and data security reasons.  However, with luckycloud they saw a true alternative to traditional providers.

You have decided to have Berlin as the seat for your company – was that a deliberate decision?

We chose Berlin simply because I live here. Moreover, this amazing city offers paradise-like conditions, in particular when it comes to networking and the availability of IT specialists.

Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?

On the luckycloud… In the medium term, we plan to expand data cloud functionality and IT infrastructure with regard to their scalability in order be able to provide advanced services. To start with, we intend to expand our luckycloud product portfolio with an integrated collaboration messenger and with calendar and contact management features.

Our aim is to achieve a healthy and harmonious yet steady growth of our established clientele as we have done before. To achieve this, we want to give support and advice to companies looking for alternative IT services in the best possible way. We estimate that by the middle of 2018, we will be happy to serve a mid-six-figure number of customers with our luckycloud services.

Last but not least, can you finish the following sentence: Berlin is…

… a magical place for me where everything seems to be possible and which I am happy to call my hometown!

author
Tanja Mühlhans

Leitung Kreativ- und Medienwirtschaft, Digitalwirtschaft, Projekt Zukunft

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