SWITCHdrive is the new secure and reliable personal cloud storage service.

Text: Patrik Schnellmann, published on 01.04.2014

More than 200 million users worldwide use the cloud storage service provided by the US-based company Dropbox. It allows easy synchronisation of files with desktop computers and smart devices. Sharing files with others is very simple, too. Up to a
limit of a few gigabytes, the service is free. The service also has a large user base in the Swiss academic community. People use it for data in the higher education context, which can be confidential or protected by copyright, and university management and IT departments do not feel at ease with this. They regard it as problematic because of the legal and privacy issues. Of course, they have always offered users storage space on their university infrastructure, but usage patterns have changed, and users now prefer easily available cloud services.

Finding a solution with the community

What can be done about this problem? Simply admonishing and educating users about privacy and legal concerns does not help to improve the situation. Providing a safe and secure alternative to synchronise and share files is the smarter way. With this in mind, university IT departments asked SWITCH to take up this idea in its innovation process. Following the innovation process, SWITCH specified the requirements for such a service together with the IT departments. The main requirements are as follows:

  • Compliance with Swiss data protection law and Swiss data location
  • Availability on desktop and mobile operating systems
  • Support for AAI-based authentication
  • No charging of end users
  • High usability


SWITCHdrive – safe storage by SWITCH

The positive community feedback after the test phase encouraged SWITCH to build up the new service SWITCHdrive. It enables collaboration by allowing users to share their files within the community. Users are able to access their files via their desktop computers, smartphones and tablets.

The service runs on a scalable cloud infrastructure managed by SWITCH in Switzerland. SWITCHdrive users will benefit from advanced reliability, privacy and security.

This article appeared in the SWITCH Journal October 2013 and has been updated.
About the author
Patrik   Schnellmann

Patrik Schnellmann

Patrik Schnellmann is Cloud Project Manager at SWITCH. He holds an MSc in Computer Science and a Master of Advanced Studies in Management, Technology and Economics from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Before joining SWITCH in 2004, he acquired experience in the finance industry and the Swiss government.

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