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encrypt files cloudThe cloud is a convenient place to back up and store files, but you should hesitate before uploading that sensitive data, whether you’re using Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive The Cloud Storage Showdown - Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More The Cloud Storage Showdown - Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More The cloud storage scene has heated up recently, with a long-awaited entry by Google and a revamped SkyDrive from Microsoft. Dropbox has gone unchallenged by the major players for a long time, but that’s changed... Read More . Sure, your files may be encrypted in transit and on the cloud provider’s servers, but the cloud storage company can decrypt them — and anyone that gets access to your account can view the files. Client-side encryption is an essential way to protect your important data without giving up on cloud storage.

Encryption does add some complexity, however. You can’t view the files in the cloud storage service’s web interface or easily share them. You’ll need your encryption tool to decrypt and access your files.

Encryption is ideal for sensitive files, but you don’t have to encrypt everything. Be sure to use a strong passphrase How To Create A Good Password That You Will Not Forget How To Create A Good Password That You Will Not Forget Read More  when setting up encryption, too.

Create A TrueCrypt Container

TrueCrypt is a do-it-yourself method of encryption. With TrueCrypt, you can create an encrypted file container and save it to your Dropbox folder. This file is a big, encrypted blob — no one can see the inside of it without your passphrase. TrueCrypt can mount the encrypted file container as a drive letter or fodler on your computer. Files you place inside the special TrueCrypt drive or folder will be encrypted and stored inside the TrueCrypt file container in your Dropbox folder. Our guide to creating and mounting an encrypted file container with TrueCrypt How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can't View with Truecrypt 7 How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can't View with Truecrypt 7 Read More will walk you through the process.

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Why Dropbox? Good question. Dropbox can synchronize only the changed portions of large files, while Google Drive and SkyDrive can only synchronize entire files (as far as I can tell). This means that, if you have a 2GB TrueCrypt drive and change a small file in it, Dropbox will upload a small portion of the TrueCrypt file, while Google Drive and SkyDrive will re-upload the entire 2GB file. Some other cloud storage services may also offer delta uploads – be sure you choose one that does if you’re using a TrueCrypt volume.

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For more information about TrueCrypt, check out our free TrueCrypt manual. We’ve also got a Dropbox cheat sheet and a Dropbox manual The Unofficial Guide To Dropbox The Unofficial Guide To Dropbox There's more to Dropbox than you might think: you can use it for file sharing, backing up your data, syncing files between computers and even remotely control your computer. Read More .

Use An App

BoxCryptor is an easy-to-use encryption solution. In spite of its name, you can use it with any cloud storage service, not just Dropbox. BoxCryptor creates a special subfolder in your cloud storage folder — in this folder, BoxCryptor stores encrypted versions of the files you add to a special BoxCryptor drive letter.

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BoxCryptor also has mobile apps, allowing you to access your encrypted files on the go. The Android app supports Dropbox and Google Drive, with SkyDrive support on the way. The iOS app will also receive Google Drive and SkyDrive support in the future. The free version of BoxCryptor is limited to 2GB of encrypted files.

encrypt files cloud storage

For more information, check out our full BoxCryptor walkthrough Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor Encrypt Your Dropbox Files With BoxCryptor Dropbox is a great service, but its security track record is nothing to be proud of. We’ve previously written about encrypted alternatives to Dropbox, but let’s be honest -- Dropbox stands out among cloud storage... Read More .

CloudFogger, which we’ve covered in the directory, and SecretSync are other, competing services which work similarly.

Switch To An Encrypted Service

All the other options here are ways of grafting client-side encryption onto a cloud storage service that doesn’t natively support it. Instead, you could opt for a cloud storage service that includes client-side encryption. SpiderOak and Wuala Secure Your Files: 3 Encrypted Dropbox Alternatives Secure Your Files: 3 Encrypted Dropbox Alternatives Dropbox brought cloud-based file synchronization and storage to the masses, but it's been hindered by high-profile security problems. Fortunately, you have another option — an alternative service that secures your files with local encryption and... Read More are good options. These services encrypt and decrypt your data locally – the services themselves have no idea what data you’re storing; they couldn’t view it if they wanted to.

encrypt files cloud storage

Check out our full walkthrough of SpiderOak SpiderOak - An Online Data Backup & Sharing Solution [Cross-Platform] SpiderOak - An Online Data Backup & Sharing Solution [Cross-Platform] Read More for more information. It’s a bit more complicated to set up than Dropbox and similar services, but it offers more flexibility – for example, you can synchronize any folder on your computer.

Encrypt Individual Files

If this all seems a bit much for you, you can just encrypt a handful of important files with a utility on your computer. You’ll need the utility to decrypt and access your encrypted files in the future. We’ve covered a variety of ways to easily and quickly encrypt files The 5 Best Ways To Easily & Quickly Encrypt Files Before Emailing Them [Windows] The 5 Best Ways To Easily & Quickly Encrypt Files Before Emailing Them [Windows] Earlier this year, I was faced with a situation where I had a writer working for me overseas in China, where we were both certain that all of our email communications were being monitored. I... Read More in the past, including creating an encrypted archive file 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive Google Drive is a great service, but installing the Google Drive application and synchronizing some files is just the first step. These tricks will help you take advantage of Google Drive, both on the desktop... Read More .

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Set Up EncFS On Linux

EncFS is an open-source option for Linux users. It’s exactly what it sounds like – an encrypted file system. It works similarly to BoxCryptor (in fact, it inspired BoxCryptor) – EncFS creates a special folder that contains encrypted versionsof your files. EncFs transparently decrypts and provides access to these files in another folder. You work with your files in this folder, and EncFS stores the files in encrypted form in your cloud storage folder.

encrypt files cloud

It’s a bit more complicated to set up, involving terminal commands. But, unlike the free version of BoxCryptor, it doesn’t limit the amount of files you can encrypt. We’ve got a guide to setting up EncFS How To Encrypt Your Dropbox Data With ENCFS [Linux] How To Encrypt Your Dropbox Data With ENCFS [Linux] Dropbox is arguably one of the best online file sync tools around. However, if you've been skimming through the tech news lately, you'll see that Dropbox is having some privacy issues as of late.Therefore, encrypting... Read More on your Linux system, if you’re interested.

Which encryption solution do you prefer – or do you not store sensitive data in the cloud? Leave a comment and let us know.

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