Cloud services offer a convenient solution to protect our data from potential loss, but that is not the only kind of security that we expect from this type of services. We upload the files that we want to preserve, the photos, documents and everything else that is important to us. As such, we need the data to remain safe so that nobody else can get access to it. While cloud storage and cloud backup services provide at least a basic level of encryption to make your data unreadable to third parties, if you want your files to be truly private, you may need to take additional measures on your side.
When you upload files and folders to the cloud, the provider would encrypt the data. In order to decrypt it, a key is required and the majority of providers keep the key. This means that as a user, you would have no choice but to trust that the provider won’t access to your data, and that they will keep the key safe to prevent others from accessing it. There is a small number of companies (including iDrive) that give customers the chance to create their own private key, by encrypting the data locally on their system, before it is uploaded to the cloud. The downside is that this option is usually available for an additional cost, or it is only intended for business users.
Protecting your privacy doesn’t have to be expensive so instead of spending a lot of money on a high tier cloud storage or backup plan, there are options that you can consider. There are many apps that let you encrypt your files before uploading them to the cloud to ensure that only you hold the key to decrypt them. If you require a high level of protection for your privacy, this is definitely something that you need to do. In this list, you will find the best solutions available to keep your files private without having to spend money. Just remember that it is crucial that you don’t lose your private encryption key. Otherwise, you won’t be able to access your files ever again.
With Boxcryptor you can set up a folder in any location in your computer and all the data that you move that folder, will be secured using AES 256-bit encryption. It is possible to place the Boxcryptor folder in the sync folder of cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. In order to get access to the data in the Boxcryptor folder, you just need to run the Boxcryptor app, go to the file you want to access and enter your password/key. While the content of the files remain hidden, it is possible to see filenames and extensions. Unfortunately, it is not possible to preview or open files in Google Docs or other options. You need to have Boxcryptor installed on the device you are using and download the files to be able to get access to them locally. Boxcryptor works with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS and more. It is available for free.
Viivo (No Longer Available)
When you use Viivo, two folders are created on your computer. One of them can be used to place your files and it looks like a normal folder stored locally. The other folder creates a copy of all the data saved in the first folder and it also encrypts it. You can upload the second folder to the cloud. The advantage of Viivo is that it allows you to create, view and edit files without hassle, using the local unencrypted versions. You can update the encrypted versions saved in the cloud, without having to decrypt the files whenever you need them. Viivo uses 256-bit encryption and it compresses the data, reducing the amount of bandwidth and space required. The app is available for free, but you need to register using a valid email address. It supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
When you use nCrypted Cloud, your cloud storage or backup folders are moved to an nCrypted Cloud folder. To encrypt or decrypt the files, you need to right click on them individually, since nCrypted Cloud doesn’t encrypt everything by default. Once a file or folder is encrypted with AES 256-bit, you will see a blue lock icon next to it. nCrypted also supports private file sharing and watermarking functionality, which will allow you to prevent copyright infringement when you share your files. Although nCrypted Cloud supports a limited selection of cloud storage solutions, popular names liek Google Drive, Box and Dropbox are in the list of options. Individual users can get nCrypted Cloud for free and the application works on Mac, Windows, Android and iOS.
Although Encrypto is mainly focused on helping users to send and share encrypted files, it also supports local and cloud storage encryption. All you need to do is to drag and drop the data onto the app window, create a password and if you want, you can also add a hint that only you and the person who will receive the file can figure out. Once you have set the password, the file will be protected with AES 256-bit encryption and it can be sent via email or stored on your computer. Bear in mind that in order to share files via Encrypto, both you and the recipient need to have the app installed. It is available for free for Mac and Windows and there are also mobile apps (Android and iOS) available.
Odrive lets you manage all your cloud storage accounts in a centralized location. This desktop and web-based tool lets you link all the accounts and you can put an encrypted folder in any location, such as your cloud storage folder. Every file that you place there will be automatically encrypted using SHA256 hashes. It should be noted that the files are only encrypted on the cloud and not locally, so they are not protected on the hard disk. What makes Odrive a great solution for privacy concerned users is the fact that it is a zero knowledge service. This means that it doesn’t have access to your encryption key and it doesn’t store it. Only you can decrypt your files so make sure that you keep the encryption key safe. With Odrive, you can also sycn and share data. It supports multiple cloud storage services including Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Amazon Cloud Drive.
Sookasa supports Google Drive, Box, OneDrive Dropbox and more, and it is another practical solution to protect your data before uploading it to the cloud. A Sookasa folder is created in your cloud storage sync folder. Then all the data that you place in that folder is encrypted with 256-bit AES standard. You will be able to see a file by downloading and decrypting it locally with the help of the Sookasa app. You can easily share data with a single click. Sookasa allows you to create a pasword, set permissions and encryption keys without hassle. It supports Windows, Android, Mac and iOS.
EncFSMP has a very simple interface, but it works in a similar way as BoxCryptor. An encrypted folder is created in any location on your local drive and all the data that you place there is encrypted. It is possible to set passwords to these folders and you can also edit and export them. It is a fairly basic solution and it doesn’t support file sharing or data management features. However, it is easy to use, it is free and it works on Linux. It is also compatible with Mac, Windows and Android (using the Cryptonite app).