How to encrypt your data for cloud storage

Security is a priority when you are handling data because if your personal or business information falls in the wrong hands, the consequences can be devastating. We have seen many stories of email accounts (and other services) being compromised, and there are many dangers that could affect the privacy of your data, including online surveillance and cyber crime. While cloud storage offers many benefits and most providers claim to offer a top level of security to protect your files, there have been instances of accounts being compromised and some services including Dropbox, are known for its cooperation with the NSA.

In order to keep your information safe, it is important to encrypt it. This process adds a layer of security and makes sure that the data can’t be read by third parties, even if they manage to intercept the data. They won’t be able to make sense of the data and only you, as the holder of the encryption key, will be able to access the files in detail. Here we will go through ways to make files secure and keep your privacy protected.

In order to keep your information safe, it is important to encrypt it. This process adds a layer of security and makes sure that the data can’t be read by third parties, even if they manage to intercept the data. They won’t be able to make sense of the data and only you, as the holder of the encryption key, will be able to access the files in detail. Here we will go through ways to make files secure and keep your privacy protected.

Encryption options

There are two encryption solutions available when it comes to cloud services. The first is a cloud storage service that includes local encryption. Alternatively, you can choose a service that takes care of the encryption for you. If you choose a cloud storage service that comes with local encryption, it is likely that you will have to change the way you transfer the files to the service. It is important to understand how the service works and get additional support. The advantage is that you would have all the features in one place and will get peace of mind as the security and privacy of the data will be protected.

If you have a service that is focused on encrypting your files, you will be able to manage the information that should be encrypted and where it should be stored. For instance, you can choose a service that you are familiar with such as Dropbox, without worrying about security. While this option may delay the syncing process, it is a good solution if you are using third party apps to encrypt them. In any case it is important to protect your data with a good level of encryption. This is particularly important when you decide to stick to Dropbox, for the reasons we previously mentioned. The below option is worth considering.

BoxCryptor

This efficient encryption service lets you protect all the data that you store on your usual cloud storage service such as Dropbox. It is compatible with major operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux. If you don’t need to encrypt multiple drives or file extensions, you can use the free version of BoxCryptor. The free version could be enough for most users. The first thing to do is to choose a folder where you can store encrypted data. Once you do, Boxcryptor adds a new drive to your operating system so that you can use it for the encryption process. After that, you can select a folder where you want to store the files and you can keep the folder in Dropbox or the cloud storage provider of your choice, knowing that they are actually secure. Then, you have to select an encryption password.

Setting up a secure password or passphrase is crucial. You need to keep your password safe because if you lose it, it won’t be possible to restore your data since only you have the password and Boxcryptor can’t help you to recover it. The password should be secure enough to protect your files and ensure that only you can access them, but at the same time, it should be easy for you to memorize. The next step is to move the data to the Boxcryptor folder/ drive to get it encrypted. While the files would appear to be as normal, if someone tries to access them, they won’t be able to read them. Even if someone manages to break into your Dropbox account, they would need your passphrase/password in order to be able to make sense of the information. Otherwise, all that they will see is a series of letters and numbers.

The second option: A secure cloud storage service

While encryption software can be an effective solution, some people may prefer an alternative. You can opt for a dedicated cloud solution that includes local encryption for your data. There are different services that meet the criteria including SpiderOak, Wuala and Cubby. SpiderOak is a well-established service that offers Zero knowldge privacy. Thanks to this, only you have access to your data and not even SpiderOak will be able to read it. You can choose the passphrase to protect your files and enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your privacy will remain safe. SpiderOak allows you to backup, sync and share your files. Although the service is not as easy to use as Dropbox, the level of security that it offers is superior. Apart from offering local encryption, they protect your data on their servers with AES encryption. SpiderOak has plans that start at $5 for 100GB and there is a trial that gives you the possibility of testing the service for free for 21 days, with 250GB of storage.

Overall

If you don’t want to lose the convenience of Dropbox (or any other service you are used to) and its easy to use folder, you can opt for BoxCryptor. This will allow you to ensure that your data is really protected. Alternatively, new cloud storage users who are concerned about security can start directly with SpiderOak, as it offers a secure cloud storage solution. While it may take some time to get familiar with SpiderOak’s file syncing functionality, it is worth giving it a try.

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