Sync Stories: A College Instructor Creates a Secure Workflow, Accessible Anywhere

Sync Stories is a column dedicated to our users. Each week, we showcase a different use case for BitTorrent Sync and the personal stories behind it.

In this week’s edition: Educator Jon Hoffman shows how he uses Sync to manage teaching files that require a certain level of security and anywhere access.

From Jon: 

I’m Jon Hoffman, a lecturer at the University of Maryland.

I had long been a fan and advocate of Dropbox to sync and backup my files for school and teaching. I found it invaluable to be able to seamlessly work across platforms and systems from my work computer to my laptop and even my phone. But increasingly, I have been concerned about the dangers of using services like that which store my data online and may be vulnerable to hackers. This is especially a concern when, as a teacher, I hold sensitive data about my students and their grades in my synced files.

What drew me to BitTorrent Sync is that it can achieve the same result of Dropbox without anything being saved in the cloud! My files remain only on my devices and they are shared directly peer to peer. As far as I can tell, the only way my files’ security could be compromised is by egregiously negligent user-error.

Access to files, anytime/anywhere 

As someone who’s always on the go, teaching on two different campuses and working from home or a coffee shop on weekends, it’s essential that I can access my files. Last week, I was finalizing syllabi for my classes. I love that I could spend a couple hours setting up my course schedule in the office then head to the gym. After that on the bus ride home, I would read some articles I synced to my phone, then pick up where I left off on the syllabus when I got home on my desktop. This makes my workflow a breeze no matter where I am and what platform I’m using.

Jon Hoffman BitTorrent Sync

I especially like the improved sharing options in the recent version update. I like that I can share a folder as either read only or read/write access. And the ability to have access verified so that even if the shared access token url is somehow compromised, I can still prevent someone from accessing the folder without my approval.

Jon Hoffman BitTorrent Sync

All in all, I really like how easy BitTorrent Sync is, how much it streamlines the syncing and sharing process, and how secure it is over alternative services. Its greatest value in my experience is that it just works seamlessly, securely, and without the need for much thought. It just works. I’ve never had conflicting versions of a file on different devices, which Dropbox would occasionally do. I’ve never been concerned about creating an excessively long password to keep everything secure from unwanted access. I’ve been using it daily for more than 6 months and it just works. It has been a great addition to my daily workflow.

You can reach Jon on Twitter. For more info on Sync, click here and if you’ve got an epic Sync idea, use-case or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at]