Slack, Hipchat and other collaboration tools are the cool kids these days. And while they do a lot well, almost flawlessly, there's something missing that can cost you your business.


(For the record, all the talk about security is not the same thing. You can have good security - taller walls and bigger moats - and still get hacked or have a rogue sysadmin walk out with everything on a USB.)

Today is International Data Privacy Day. And SpiderOak has been a trusted company in the backup space for almost a decade, known for their Zero Knowledge privacy practices. Edward Snowden endorsed them two separate times as a good example of a company doing it right when it comes to privacy. You might remember when Snowden mentioned SpiderOak's backup solution as an alternative to Dropbox back in October of 2014.

Today, the Kansas City-based company announced Semaphor, the industry's first Zero Knowledge, private collaboration tool for ideas that matter. Boasting of beautiful UX, a new proprietary concept called "nervous design," native off-line mode, open source, password-free account creation, a new, innovative user verification process, and integrations. That was a mouthful. Let's just say it's like Slack, but WAAAAY more secure.

The "nervous design" feature is interesting in that it uses concepts like color patterns and resolution to communicate different levels of trust. If the colors are black and white, that's not very secure, however if it has several different hues and patterns, it acknowledges that it is secure. Semaphor aims to be the most privacy-friendly collaboration tool that also has an easy-to-use and attractive user experience.

SpiderOak is only accepting a limited number of pre-release invitation requests. General availability for Semaphor is later in the first quarter. You can request an invite to Semaphor here: The company mentioned that the live version of the app will be available in 6-8 weeks from now.

The main 'innovation points' on Semaphor:

proprietary "nervous design,"
password-free account creation
keyless identify verification (once someone signs up for an account, they will get their own unique public encryption key, like a QR code, but the colorful semaphoric pattern); people will be able to put it on their business cards, send on email, verify in person by scanning the pattern, or by texting it.
Contrary to traditional privacy-centric application trends, Semaphor will deliver privacy without compromising beautiful design and user experience.

Not only does SpiderOak have a secure Slack alternative, Semaphor, and a secure Dropbox alternative, SpiderOak One, they also have a secure LastPass alternative, Encryptr, and a secure Twitter alternative, Kloak.

SpiderOak doesn't know your information. That's what Zero Knowledge is all about. Everything is encrypted. There is no "reset your password" with them because by doing so that would negate the encryption. So, make sure to remember your password phrase. Believe me, this is a good thing.

"Stolen ideas are impossible to recover and can turn into successful business opportunities for your competitors. Your ideas matter and they deserve to be protected and shared only with your trusted network. Semaphor is not slack about privacy." - Mike McCamon, SpiderOak President & CMO

In the current day and age where the government has back-door access to many of your devices, profiles, and data, it's important to look for alternative solutions to maintain security and privacy. According to Edward Snowden, SpiderOak is the only company that allows for this level of security and safety.