Volterra introduces VoltShare for secure password-free collaboration

Volterra’s platform provides distributed cloud services for the enterprise, but with VoltShare they are leveraging its capabilities to enhance existing collaboration tools with security that requires no passwords or public keys. It’s being sold on a freemium model with a paid enterprise version, and is particularly aimed at the Work From Home market.

Santa Clara CA-based Volterra is a well-financed startup that handles operational and security issues involving multi-cloud and edge deployments, with a cloud-native SaaS-based solution that manages very large numbers of devices across multiple clouds and at the edge. Today they are announcing a new product and a new top layer to their stack. VoltShare provides a secure and simple means of securely sharing confidential files and information without passwords or public key cryptography, which works with all popular collaboration platforms. It leverages technology that was already in their solution, and which they had already been developing for their own internal use. With VoltShare, they are explicitly targeting enterprises who want better security to manage Work From Home situations which have been created by the pandemic.

Volterra’s distributed cloud platform consists of three building blocks: VoltStack, VoltMesh and VoltConsole. VoltStack deploys and manages distributed applications across multiple clouds or edge sites using Kubernetes APIs. VoltMesh provides high performance networking and zero-trust security between multiple clouds and edge sites. VoltConsole is a management console for centralized  deployment and operation of distributed applications at a global scale. Ankur Singla, Volterra’s CEO, explained how VoltShare is a logical extension to this framework.

Ankur Singla, Volterra’s CEO,

“The way we think about this is that every component we build is for dealing with distributed apps or data,” Singla said. “VoltMesh is about distributed packets – connectivity and security at a deep packet level. VoltStack is securing apps. VoltShare is on top of it, providing end-to-end encryption in file sharing. So at the lowest level you have the network, then apps on top of that, and then data on top of that.

“Secure file sharing and collaboration without passwords and public keys is something that hasn’t existed to date,” said Mark Weiner, Volterra’s CMO. “It has been a long-time market need, which has not been done. Apple has been working on Apple ID for years at a sharing and collaborating level, and they don’t do this.”

Volterra was able to do it because the necessary technology already existed within VoltMesh.

Mark Weiner, Volterra’s CMO

“We have leveraged this technology to solve this long-time issue,” Weiner said. “As part of VoltMesh, we have some blindfold technology for app-app communication, that lets apps talk to each other in a secure way, which is very timely today. Given what is going on with pandemic, we thought it would be great if people working at home could leverage this. The alternatives are enterprisey and technical. We took this enterprisey tech we have that let apps identify each other and apply it here so that to end users as well as enterprises can use it.”

Singla emphasized that this wasn’t a simple process, and that Volterra didn’t just quickly repurpose its technology when the pandemic appeared.

“It was not done overnight,” he said. “We had been building this out for app to app communication around our own internal processes for GDPR and PCI Compliance. We created this internal tool for that, and what we did with VoltShare is asked the team to take the same command line tool we built for employees and repurpose it for external use.”

VoltShare operates locally on a laptop or mobile device to easily encrypt sensitive data for sharing with target recipients through email or existing collaboration platforms like Slack, Dropbox and Microsoft Teams.  An end user looking to use it just downloads the VoltShare application, registers, and creates a policy for text or an attached file based on recipients’ email address and duration. They then share the encrypted content through email or their existing collaboration platform. When the target recipients receive the encrypted data, the data automatically decrypts providing the email and policies stipulated are correct.

Volterra’s primary market at this stage of its development has been larger enterprises, and the enterprise is still the main target here. While the version for end users is free, this is really a freemium model. The monetization comes from the paid enterprise subscription for increased security and compliance.

“It’s a Slack-like model where users can sign up for free,” Singla said. “However, enterprises will typically want control, to keep the data inside the corporation and not share the data with anyone outside, or make it integrate with Active Directory, or have more advanced features like Single Sign On or audit logs. All of these things are supported in the paid version.”

The different between the free user version and the paid enterprise one is strictly in these controls. The free version has no artificial limits on scale.

“In the enterprise and free versions, the scalability is the same,” Singla said. “In the free version you can share without any scalability limits,  but if you want compliance and auditability, that’s how we monetize the solution.”

While Volterra is still in proof of concept stage which typically involves a lot of high touch direct selling, they brought in channel partners early and the channel plays a key role in their Go-to-Market.

“With the Enterprise version, our security channel partners can come in with this nice SaaS based subscription model,” Weiner noted.

The link to download the free version is https://volterra.io/products/voltshare.

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