Boxcryptor Encrypts Your Cloud

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I know, I know. Don’t tell me. I have been a bit AWOL for a while. Day job and miscellaneous other excitement.

But I’m back, and have something to talk about, which certainly helps when trying to write. The common complaint raised by cloud opponents is the lack of security when you move your valuable data out of your direct control and into the ambiguous grasp of a server in Mozambique.  For those of you out there using the cloud and enjoying all that mobility and freedom, you may be interested in a little tool called Boxcryptor. Boxcryptor is an encryption application for common cloud services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive, all of which I happen to use, as well as any cloud using a WebDAV standard. It is also platform independent, so you can use it on your Mac or PC, Chromebook or Android or iOS device.

Boxcryptor creates a crytopgraphic virtual drive on your computer.  Files are encrypted locally before uploading them to your cloud of choice. Files are encrypted on an individual, rather than grouped, basis for added security. Any file dropped into an encrypted folder within the Boxcryptor drive will get automatically encrypted before it is synced to the cloud. To protect your files, Boxcryptor uses the AES-256 and RSA encryption algorithms. I love that it basically encrypts files on the fly, as part of your normal process of creating and saving data – just drop your files in the special secure drive rather than your usual cloud folder. You will know that your files are encrypted when you look in the cloud and see the .bc extension following the file name. It looks really simple to use, which is always nice.

Of course, to be really useful, the cloud has to allow for multi-party file sharing. It’s one of the main reasons to use it! Boxcryptor supports this, and accomplishes it in a secure way.

You won’t be able to see your encrypted files without Boxcryptor installed. So, you will need to have it on any computers on which you intend to view your sensitive material. However, once installed, just enter your Boxcryptor password to get into your materials. A word of caution here: that password information is not stored either locally or with Boxcryptor and you won’t be able to retrieve it if you forget it, once it is set. So choose carefully and store it somewhere safe. Since everything is locally encrypted, Boxcryptor has no access to your data either, so no worries there.

Boxcryptor is free for personal use and it does  offer AES-256 and RSA encryption, secure file sharing and mobile apps. The limitation is that you can only use one cloud service at a time with the free. Unlimited personal for $48 per year allows unlimited providers on unlimited devices. Company subscriptions offer multiple cloud services at once as well, along with groups, with multi-user pricing that goes down as you add more users. Company plans start at $96 per year for unlimited business use. The company plan also offers a master key and password reset function, enforce policies and centralized management and invoicing.

Because Boxcryptor believes its product is of particular interest to legal professionals, they sent me along a coupon code for Studio readers of 20% discount on their regular prices (discount code: boxcryptorlaw20, valid until December 31, 2013). So, if your resolution for 2014 includes greater cloud security, hop on that train and grab yourself some Boxcryptor.

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Another Reason to Love Google Drive & Gmail – 10GB Attachments!

 

As file sizes go up, the restrictions imposed by email services on file attachment sizes become more and more painful. I have bumped up against these limits on more than one occasion, with the net result of me not being able to email the desired file and suffering a bald spot where I was forced to pull out my own hair.

One of my reasons for touting Google Drive from the start was the ability to easily upload large (read 10GB) file sizes to the cloud. Well Google has done that one better: by integrating Google Drive into Gmail, you can now send 10GB file attachments from Drive using the email service!

If that wasn’t cool enough, Drive will make sure that recipients have the latest, up to date version of your cloud-stored document.

It is being rolled out slowly (unfortunately for me as I have a big file attachment to send right this minute), so check the new Composer in your Gmail to see if you have the little Drive icon down next to the attachments clip along the bottom bar of the compose window. You can also achieve attachment by pasting the Drive link to the doc right into the email. Gmail will check to see whether the recipients you designate in the “to” box have access to the file you are sending, and prompt you to adjust the file sharing settings within the email dialog. So, I definitely recommend you opt into the new Compose option if you plan on sending the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica to your friend via Gmail.

Yes, this is just one more reason to consider Gmail and Google Drive when deciding what cloud storage, communications, and file management system to employ.

Gmail blog.

Finding Public Google Docs

If you take my Everything Google course at Solo Practice University, you may recall from the Google Docs class that you can set your visibility on your Google Docs from the share button to private, anyone with the link, or public on the web. Public docs are accessible and viewable by anyone on the web. But how, exactly, do you find such public Google Docs?

 

Google Operating System blog has some tips for you on searching for these elusive public documents. You can’t find them within Docs or Google Drive. But you can via Google search. The post offers these handy queries:

 

Here are some useful queries that let you find public Google Drive/Docs files (you can append some keywords to the queries):

* [site:docs.google.com/document/d] – find text documents

* [site:docs.google.com/presentation/d] – find presentations

* [site:docs.google.com/drawings/d] – find drawings

* [site:docs.google.com/file/d] – find files: images, videos, PDF files, Microsoft Office documents and more (you should click “repeat the search with the omitted results included” since there are many files with similar titles)

* [site:docs.google.com/folder/d] – find folders (collections of files and other folders)

* [site:docs.google.com/open] – find other documents, folders and files (the links redirect to other URLs)

Public spreadsheets and forms can’t be indexed by search engines.

 

There you have it. Happy searching!

Here's One For You: Turn Google Drive Into A Fax Machine

In case you still fax stuff, you can give your faxes the modern edge by leveraging Google Drive and the HelloFax application. HelloFax’s Google Drive integration permits faxing of any document from Google Drive and receive faxes from others in a dedicated HelloFax folder within the drive. It’s just one of the great third-party integrations coming out of the box with GDrive, one that makes tons of sense for business users of the GCloud. The HelloFax app will also allow you to edit and sign PDF documents in the browser – no more printing important documents to sign and then scan back into your computer for printing. This is pretty cool, given that the reason most people still fax is so that they can sign a document and send it back.

 

Go green and go HelloFax and say goodbye to printed documents. And, work with them via Google Drive. Pretty sweet combination.