Security of the Cloud


Do you have your data in the clouds? Many people are starting to use ‘the cloud’ for data storage with services like Dropbox but recent reports about potential security issues with the service may have you wondering if it’s all such a great idea.

I won’t bore you with all the tech details – suffice to say that the keys that encrypt your data on the Dropbox servers are actually held by them meaning that potentially Dropbox employees could access the key and decrypt your data. If you use Apple or Google data storage, Skype or Twitter then you’re already falling under similar privacy policies so not much has changed in my mind with the revelations about the Dropbox service.

Personally I don’t have too much to worry about with regard to information I’m storing in the cloud, but if you or your business are beginning to feel weak at the knees there are some things you can do according to a recent Windows Secrets article.

If you want to continue to use Dropbox you could encrypt your data first using something like TrueCrypt which runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux but not mobile devices. SecretSync and BoxCryptor are two third party routines that work with the Dropbox API and you can use your own keys to encrypt/decrypt the data. This would mean you upload already encrypted files to Dropbox which then encrypts them for a second time – but if an employee decided to take a peek into your data they’d only find gobbledygook. Again though, these services don’t work on mobile devices.

If you’re just too annoyed with Dropbox to continue, an alternative service is provided by SpiderOak – also free offering a similar service to Dropbox but they don’t store the encryption keys. You create the password on your own computer and are completely responsible for it and its safekeeping. It works on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux but again not on mobile devices.

So it all comes down to how worried you are about who might be able to see your data. Large law firms continue to use Dropbox and other cloud-based computing so until they run screaming for the hills I figure the rest of us are okay.

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop –

1 comment

  1. Hi Lyn
    Very interesting post, looks like I will be starting to encrypt my files a bit more often from now on, thank you very much.
    Cheers ;D

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