How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

After another round of high-profile celebrity hacks, it’s clear that cloud storage isn’t exactly as safe as it’s made out to be. It’s easy to sync your files with a service such as OneDrive or Dropbox, but it’s also easy to forget about those files down the road. You may have deleted some sensitive photos from your phone, but they still ended up synced in the cloud, and now they’re in the hands of a hacker.

Let’s take a look at how your cloud data can be potentially compromised and how you can add another layer of protection by encrypting them before they reach the cloud.

Cloud-storage encryption

There are two forms of encryption when you’re dealing with cloud storage services: transit and resting. When your files travel between your PC and a cloud service, the files and folders you upload are generally encrypted with at least 128-bit secure sockets layer (SSL) technology.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

When your data is resting in storage, however, there is less of a chance that it will have encryption, and if it does, the cloud service will likely hold the key. In the case of OneDrive, only those with a business subscription can take advantage of resting encryption. Dropbox, on the other hand, provides resting 256-bit encryption, but it holds the encryption keys.

Encryption of your data, while it’s in transit and comfy in the cloud, works great against brute-force attacks. It would take a supercomputer years to crack the 256-bit encryption. It’s much more likely that failure on the user side will involve a phishing attack or a weak password that can be guessed by an interested party. If your account can be accessed through the front door, decryption isn’t necessary.

Keeper of the encryption keys

To otherwise unscramble the encrypted data, a key is needed. Each time data is encrypted, one of these keys is created and is saved somewhere. Many online backup services — which are separate from cloud-sync services — let you create the encryption key and take responsibility for keeping it safe. If you lose the key, say goodbye to your backed up data.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Cloud storage services used for syncing and sharing, such as Dropbox, do not provide users with the option to create their own encryption keys. It’s up to the user to trust the service with creating and safeguarding the key. There’s less of a chance that you’ll end up locked out forever because you forgot that key, but there’s also a chance that the service itself will be compromised, in which case the entire thing is out of your hands. Bottom line: No matter how careful you are, things can go wrong when someone else holds the keys.

Encrypt your data before it reaches the cloud

Some people refuse to use cloud storage because of security concerns. Others claim they have nothing to hide and wouldn’t care if their files were released to the general public. Regardless of your opinion, it’s not a bad idea to use protection on the internet. It’s not getting any safer out there, and people can take advantage of the smallest bits of information.

Yes, it’s just another thing you have to worry about, but encrypting your data yourself before sending it to the cloud will help protect you. You don’t have be a whiz to perform this extra step. Encryption software is generally easy to use, you can create a unique encryption key that only you hold, and most options work well with popular cloud-storage services. Even if you don’t want to pay, there are plenty of free encryption tools out there.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Services such as AxCrypt and Folder Lock, both of which are PCMag editors’ choices, have free, basic versions of their software, and they also offer paid subscriptions that come with plenty more features, including local disk encryption to help keep things safe on your end.

There are a ton of free alternatives that can encrypt one file at a time before sending them to the cloud. 7Zip and Boxcryptor are standouts in this arena.

More resources

For more information on creating strong passwords and avoiding phishing, check out our full guide on how to ensure your cloud data remains safe. And if you’re interested in full cloud backups of your PC, have a look at our choice for the best online backup service.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Build a powerful PC for less than $900 with these Prime Day deals

Building a PC for Prime Day can see you score some steep discounts. We’ve put together a PC build that consists of an 8-core CPU, 250GB PCIe 4.0 SSD (with a 2TB HDD for good measure), 16GB of RAM, and a reliable PSU for $900.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Sea of Thieves’ massive Pirates of the Caribbean collaboration is live

Rare’s big partnership with Disney is now live, bringing a huge amount of fresh content to the world’s biggest and boldest pirate adventure. Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life is available for free to owners, and is available in Xbox Game Pass too.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Microsoft is building cloud-native Xbox games, but what does that mean?

Microsoft revealed its Xbox Publishing mission statement, focusing on innovation, community, and inclusivity. A big part of that mission involves innovations in cloud-native gaming, but what exactly does that mean?

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

These are the best PC sticks when you’re on the move

Instant computer — just add a screen. That’s the general idea behind the ultra-portable PC, but it can be hard to know which one you want. Relax, we have you covered!

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

After another round of high-profile celebrity hacks, it’s clear that cloud storage isn’t exactly as safe as it’s made out to be. It’s easy to sync your files with a service such as OneDrive or Dropbox, but it’s also easy to forget about those files down the road. You may have deleted some sensitive photos from your phone, but they still ended up synced in the cloud, and now they’re in the hands of a hacker.

Let’s take a look at how your cloud data can be potentially compromised and how you can add another layer of protection by encrypting them before they reach the cloud.

Cloud-storage encryption

There are two forms of encryption when you’re dealing with cloud storage services: transit and resting. When your files travel between your PC and a cloud service, the files and folders you upload are generally encrypted with at least 128-bit secure sockets layer (SSL) technology.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

When your data is resting in storage, however, there is less of a chance that it will have encryption, and if it does, the cloud service will likely hold the key. In the case of OneDrive, only those with a business subscription can take advantage of resting encryption. Dropbox, on the other hand, provides resting 256-bit encryption, but it holds the encryption keys.

Encryption of your data, while it’s in transit and comfy in the cloud, works great against brute-force attacks. It would take a supercomputer years to crack the 256-bit encryption. It’s much more likely that failure on the user side will involve a phishing attack or a weak password that can be guessed by an interested party. If your account can be accessed through the front door, decryption isn’t necessary.

Keeper of the encryption keys

To otherwise unscramble the encrypted data, a key is needed. Each time data is encrypted, one of these keys is created and is saved somewhere. Many online backup services — which are separate from cloud-sync services — let you create the encryption key and take responsibility for keeping it safe. If you lose the key, say goodbye to your backed up data.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Cloud storage services used for syncing and sharing, such as Dropbox, do not provide users with the option to create their own encryption keys. It’s up to the user to trust the service with creating and safeguarding the key. There’s less of a chance that you’ll end up locked out forever because you forgot that key, but there’s also a chance that the service itself will be compromised, in which case the entire thing is out of your hands. Bottom line: No matter how careful you are, things can go wrong when someone else holds the keys.

Encrypt your data before it reaches the cloud

Some people refuse to use cloud storage because of security concerns. Others claim they have nothing to hide and wouldn’t care if their files were released to the general public. Regardless of your opinion, it’s not a bad idea to use protection on the internet. It’s not getting any safer out there, and people can take advantage of the smallest bits of information.

Yes, it’s just another thing you have to worry about, but encrypting your data yourself before sending it to the cloud will help protect you. You don’t have be a whiz to perform this extra step. Encryption software is generally easy to use, you can create a unique encryption key that only you hold, and most options work well with popular cloud-storage services. Even if you don’t want to pay, there are plenty of free encryption tools out there.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Services such as AxCrypt and Folder Lock, both of which are PCMag editors’ choices, have free, basic versions of their software, and they also offer paid subscriptions that come with plenty more features, including local disk encryption to help keep things safe on your end.

There are a ton of free alternatives that can encrypt one file at a time before sending them to the cloud. 7Zip and Boxcryptor are standouts in this arena.

More resources

For more information on creating strong passwords and avoiding phishing, check out our full guide on how to ensure your cloud data remains safe. And if you’re interested in full cloud backups of your PC, have a look at our choice for the best online backup service.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Build a powerful PC for less than $900 with these Prime Day deals

Building a PC for Prime Day can see you score some steep discounts. We’ve put together a PC build that consists of an 8-core CPU, 250GB PCIe 4.0 SSD (with a 2TB HDD for good measure), 16GB of RAM, and a reliable PSU for $900.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Sea of Thieves’ massive Pirates of the Caribbean collaboration is live

Rare’s big partnership with Disney is now live, bringing a huge amount of fresh content to the world’s biggest and boldest pirate adventure. Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life is available for free to owners, and is available in Xbox Game Pass too.

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Microsoft is building cloud-native Xbox games, but what does that mean?

Microsoft revealed its Xbox Publishing mission statement, focusing on innovation, community, and inclusivity. A big part of that mission involves innovations in cloud-native gaming, but what exactly does that mean?

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

These are the best PC sticks when you’re on the move

Instant computer — just add a screen. That’s the general idea behind the ultra-portable PC, but it can be hard to know which one you want. Relax, we have you covered!

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

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Just a few years ago, keeping files secure was a simple task—you could move them to a thumb drive, delete any duplicate copies, and store the thumb drive in a safe location. As technology has advanced, however, data security has had to adapt to usability, and that means adjusting for Cloud sharing and storage.

Moving your secure documents and files into Cloud storage can feel risky, but you can combat the risk with proper encryption. If you’re new to the realm of data encryption and Cloud storage, keep reading to learn what encryption is and how you can use different encryption methods to keep your Cloud-based files safe and secure.

What Is Encryption?

Every file or piece of data on a computer exists as a series of characters that gets interpreted by various programs on your computer. In its most basic form, encryption uses a predetermined pattern to change those characters, scrambling them so they can’t be used. Only the user who holds the encryption key—usually accessed with a password—can unscramble the data again.

Once used almost exclusively by security techs, encryption is now a tool that can and should be used by the masses. In the words of Taylor Miller, security expert at ATTSavings, “Encryption is no longer the purview of government officials and hackers; it has never been easier to make your files safe.”

There are many procedures used for encryption, but Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is among the most secure out there. Files can be encrypted to AES in three ways: native password-based encryption, app-based encryption, or Cloud-based encryption. Here’s a closer look at each method.

1. Native, Password-Based Encryption

If you have ever used password protection on a document with Microsoft Office, you’ve used a form of native encryption. This encryption method is fairly basic, but it can be effective if you’ve chosen a complex, hard-to-crack password. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have password-based encryption options, as does Adobe Acrobat.

  • Native encryption is easy to use—you don’t have to go through another program to handle the encryption.
  • Native encryption requires no external software, and other users can access your files simply by knowing the password.
  • Depending on the program you’re working with, there may not be a native encryption option.
  • Natively encrypted files may run into compatibility problems between different versions of the same software.
  • On certain programs, AES isn’t set as the default encryption standard. In these instances, you may need to change the encryption setting to AES, which ensures maximum security.

2. Application-Based Encryption

If you want to go a step beyond native, password-based encryption, consider using an encryption software application. These apps have become very user friendly in recent years. Some programs allow you to encrypt entire folders or directories, providing automatic encryption for any additional files uploaded to those locations.

  • Application-based encryption programs allow you to encrypt most files, regardless of the programs they come from.
  • Depending on the software you choose, you may be able to encrypt many files at once.
  • These programs often allow you to select your level of encryption.
  • If you intend to share encrypted files, the users you share with may need to have the same encryption software.
  • While many encryption packages are free for private use, using a program commercially often requires the purchase of a commercial license, which can be very expensive.
  • You will likely need to move files out of your Cloud storage account before editing them to ensure proper encryption.

3. Cloud-Based Encryption

Some Cloud storage services have built-in encryption to protect your data. This method is good to use in tandem with another method listed here, as it effectively doubles up on the protection you’ve already got. Do note that not all Cloud storage providers offer encryption, so you’ll want to clarify what security protocol—if any—your host uses.

  • Like application-based encryption, Cloud-based encryption allows for encryption of any file, no matter which program the file or data originated in.
  • Depending on the Cloud service you choose, encryption may be automatic.
  • You won’t need any additional programs to decrypt the data you access.
  • Collaborators can easily access Cloud-encrypted files without compatibility issues—all they need is the password to access the hosting account.
  • Like offline encryption software, using encrypted Cloud hosting commercially will likely require extra money for licensing.
  • Some services store encryption keys internally, which can be problematic if the host experiences a breach.

Cloud hosting makes collaboration—especially long-distance collaboration—much easier than it used to be. But that increased ease of use, needs specialized security to back it up. Fortunately, encryption is a great way to ameliorate some of those Cloud-based risks, so use one or more of the above methods to help ensure your data stays protected.

Google Drive is among the top consumer cloud platform on the web right now, which means, we as users must demand a higher level of security and privacy from the search giant. We cannot trust Google to do this 100 percent, and it has much to do with the company’s need for user data.

Secure your files on Google Drive

So, the question right now is, how can we use Google Drive, but at the same time, keep our files as secure as possible? Well, the answer is simple, really. We must take advantage of third-party tools to secure our files before uploading them to the platform.

Yes, we do know that Google protects your files during the upload process, but it also decrypts them for the purpose of analyzing the files, then encrypts everything after. Additionally, we should point out that the user is never in control of the encryption keys, and that is never a good thing from our view.

  1. Boxcryptor
  2. Cryptomator
  3. RClone with Crypt
  4. Microsoft Word
  5. VeraCrypt

We will now discuss this in more detail.

1] Boxcryptor

We like what Boxcryptor has to offer due to its ease of use. When you install Boxcryptor, the tool will install a virtual drive on your computer, and from there, it will add cloud providers such as Google Drive to the drive. You see, the service is basically an extra layer of security on top of what is already offered.

It will encrypt every cloud file on the drive and others you upload in the future. The good news is, the tool offers AES-256 with RSA-4096 encryption security, and that’s nice.

Visit the official website. They have a free plan too.

2] Cryptomator

This is probably our favorite because it’s free, and also open source. The source code has been analyzed multiple times and the results have shown there are no backdoors. Furthermore, you do not have to register to use it.

We like the fact that Cryptomator uses something that is called transparent encryption. When this is in use, the user has no idea the files are being encrypted as they continue to act normally. Not only that, but there is the addition of the Cryptomator vault that is saved on Google Drive.

While the vault lives on Google Drive, the user is given a virtual hard drive to play around with their files. The tool also encrypts every file added to the vault individually. Now, while the program is free to use on Desktop, folks who want to make use of it on mobile must pay a small fee.

3] RClone with Crypt

Do you prefer to use a command-line based program instead of ones with a strong graphical user interface? Well champ, you’re in the right place with Rclone. It will synchronize files and directories from Google Drive.

The best aspect of this tool, however, is the crypt function. It will encrypt files on your computer before they are uploaded to Google Drive. To have a deeper understanding of how to do this, please watch the video below.

4] Microsoft Word

One of the best options to take advantage of is Microsoft Word. Before uploading documents to Google Drive, you can decide to use the tool to encrypt the document first. Now, the encryption isn’t a deep thing, but rather a password lock.

Perform the task by navigating to File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password. After that, upload the document to Google Drive and that’s it.

5] VeraCrypt

Another free option on the list is no other than VeraCrypt. The program is not only free, but also open-source, and it works with almost any cloud service provider, which includes Google Drive.

With this tool, the user can create an encrypted container, then upload the container to a cloud service of choice. We should also note that VeraCrypt is not user-friendly, but once you fully understand how things work, then things should move smoothly after that.

Note that to continue having access to the container in Google Drive, you must have VeraCrypt installed on your computer at all times.

Last Updated on October 10, 2020

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Most users are probably using one of the famous cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox to store their files & data and sync it between devices. But did you know that you could also encrypt your cloud stroage folders for more security?

Encrypting your files and folders is a good idea because:

  • It would prevent the cloud storage company itself from accessing your files and hence you will no longer have to worry securing your files against that point.
  • In case your PC was stolen, it would also prevent thieves from accessing your important files since they are encrypted and secured with a strong password.

Most – if not all – cloud storage providers do not come with built-in encryption support for the files, which means users will have to depend on 3rd-party software to do the task.

Luckily, there is a nice open source program called Cryptomator to encrypt cloud storage easily on most common providers. And today we’ll take you in a review inside it.

Table of Contents

Cryptomator Features

  • Free and open source, 100%.
  • Support for Dropbox, OneDrive & Google Drive, beside local storage.
  • Works on Windows, macOS and Linux for desktop PCs.
  • Works on iOS & android for smartphones.
  • Strong 256-bit AES encryption for all the files stored in it.
  • Retrieved an independent security audit.
  • Ability to lock/unlock secure vaults at anytime.
  • Easy to use and beautiful user interface and workflow.
  • Supports many languages and RTL interfaces.

The program is just damn good.

Installing Cryptomator

You can head to the downloads page of Cryptomator and download the installer that fits your current operating system. Ubuntu users can easily add the following PPA to install it:

You may alternatively download the program as a portable .AppImage file that works on all Linux distributions.

You can also grab it for android and iOS.

Encrypt Cloud Storage With Cryptomator

The principle that Cryptomator uses to encrypt cloud storage is via creating what’s known as secure “vaults” inside it; Which is a secure encrypted directory that you can put all your important files inside in order to secure them.

This vault is protected by a password and hence only you can access it, just like any normal vault in real life.

You should set up your cloud storage provider on your OS before using Cryptomator, because at the end, Cryptomator does nothing more than creating a secure folder inside the path of your remote cloud storage. So for example if you were planning to use it with Dropbox, then you should install the Dropbox client before proceeding.

After installing Cryptomator you can launch it and click on “Add Vault” to start working:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Choose “Create a new vault”:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Enter the vault name:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

Select the cloud storage service you are using on your OS, or alternatively, you may select the path of the synced storage file on your OS manually:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

You now have to enter a new password to secure your vault; Make sure that it is strong, never-used before and non-repeatable so that no one can guess it. You may also choose to create a “backup key” so that you can restore the password if you forgot it. You can for example print this backup key and store the page in your home:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

You’ll be able to copy your backup key in the next step:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

And that’s it. Notice how Cryptomator created a secure vault for you inside your cloud storage:

How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

If you want to access/put files inside the vault then you’ll always have to unlock it first using your password, but don’t forget to lock it back once you finish your work.

Conclusion

Cryptomator is one of the great open source programs that can drastically enhance the lives of people in no time. Users are easily able to secure their files ultimately thanks to the strong encryption features it offers them, and hence, no longer have to bother with privacy issues and concerns with the major cloud storage providers.

If you know any other similar software like Cryptomator or if you have comments about it, then we would love to discuss in the comments section below.

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How to encrypt your cloud-based drive with boxcryptor

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Secomba Boxcryptor

You may be too concerned about privacy and security to leave naked files lying around on a remote server. That’s completely fair, but don’t let it keep you from using the cloud. BoxCryptor is a free Windows desktop app that creates an encrypted folder that can be placed inside your cloud storage folder.

Once you create the folder and assign a password, simply drag and drop the files you want protected into that folder. BoxCryptor instantly encrypts and protects them using the AES-256 standard. To unlock the folder and view your files, simply run BoxCryptor, navigate to the encrypted folder and enter your password. For more details, see “How to encrypt your cloud storage for free.”

BoxCryptor works with Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, SugarSync, or any other cloud storage provider.

If someone attempts to open the files without the password, an error message will show. However, only the file contents are hidden: The file name and file format are still in plain sight. So for super-duper extra security, change the file name to something innocuous.

It’s worth pointing out that once you set the password for the encrypted folder, it can never be retrieved or reset. If you forget the password, the files inside the folder are lost forever. When choosing a password, choose something complex but unforgettable.

Developer Secomba offers editions for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows RT as well. The free license is limited to one drive (and unlimited devices), but the $45 Unlimited Personal and $100 Unlimited Business licenses let you use as many computers and devices as you like. Secomba’s comparison chart shows the differences between the different licenses.

The cloud enables you to log in anywhere with Internet access to retrieve your files — without the fear of potentially losing physical, removable media devices. Several cloud solutions are free, but they don’t always offer leading security options — including data encryption.

What Is Cloud Data Encryption?

Data encryption in the cloud is the process of transforming or encoding data before it’s moved to cloud storage. Typically cloud service providers offer encryption services — ranging from an encrypted connection to limited encryption of sensitive data — and provide encryption keys to decrypt the data as needed.

For instance, Office 365 Message Encryption is a built-in service that encrypts all messages — both inside and outside of the platform. Encryption services like these prevent unauthorized free access to your system or file data without the decryption key, making it an effective data security method.

Keeping information secure in the cloud should be your top priority. Just taking a few preventative measures around data encryption can tighten security for your most sensitive information. Follow these encryption tips to lock down your information in the cloud.

Encrypt Data Before You Upload It

If your cloud service does not automatically encrypt data before it’s uploaded, make sure to encrypt these files beforehand. You can find a third-party encryption tool that will apply passwords and encryption to files after you are finished editing so they are encrypted before upload.

Secure Access With Cloud Cryptography

Cloud cryptography is another way to secure your cloud computing architecture. Cloud computing service providers like Azure employ cryptography to offer a layer of information security at a system level and enables secure access to whoever needs shared cloud services. This layer of encryption is based on the Quantum Direct Key system, which is an advanced system of symmetric encryption keys. Users receive a public and private key pair with a specific ID. Cryptographic cloud computing can also minimize network congestion.

Protect Data at Rest & In Transit With a Cloud Access Security Broker

A cloud access security broker (CASB) is another way you can encrypt data and control your own keys. A CASB offers a single point of visibility and access control into any cloud app in a large enterprise. The control comes through contextual access control, encryption for data at rest and leakage protection of data. A CASB mediates the connections between cloud apps and the general public through several API connectors and proxies.

Maximize Data Security in the Cloud

Beyond encrypting cloud data at the file level, use these cloud data security tips for more protection:

Back Up Your Cloud Data Locally

Although cloud services providers offer redundancy and instant backups, you should always backup your most important data locally — whether on a secured server or laptop. If your cloud-saved data gets lost or corrupted, you can rely on locally backed-up versions. You can also choose to back up your data on a separate cloud. For instance, you might use Dropbox exclusively but backup important files on Google Drive.

Use Encryption Through Your Cloud Services Provider

Many cloud providers offer encryption services to safeguard your data when using their cloud storage. Local encryption will offer an extra layer of security because decryption is necessary before accessing the files or data. Encrypting data at rest is great, but also encrypting data in transport is even better. Find out what type of encryption your cloud services provider can offer.

Map Your Security Needs for Your Cloud Deployment

You should identify the data you need encrypted, and map out a plan with your cloud service provider to prioritize sensitive data. If your sales team is using the cloud for video presentations and graphics accessible for public use, only the account information should be encrypted. Other teams using the cloud to share documentation and source code would require end-to-end encryption at the file level.

Understand the Details of Service Before Working With a CSP

The user agreement usually outlines the details of your plan. Ask about any details left out of the user agreement to clarify how, when and where your data is stored, especially if using a public cloud. Make sure to search for anything that could violate your company’s privacy policy.

Maintain Organization-Wide Awareness Around Data Security

In some situations, data security depends on your online activity. If you access cloud data on a public computer or over an insecure connection, your data may be vulnerable. Do not allow any computer to cache passwords and logins. Make sure to log out from every site or account once you’re done accessing data. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots whenever possible. These connections leave your information vulnerable to hackers.

Implementing a data encryption and cloud security plan isn’t easy. At Agile IT, our cloud experts are here to help. Learn more about our managed cloud services or talk to a team member today.

2 Comments

How does this encryption or decryption works for the users accessing the cloud services through mobile devices? Where are the keys going to be stored…

Hi Amit,
Thanks for reaching out. Which cloud services are you referring to? Are you using Information Protection or something else? Access to most Office 365 services is typically through HTTPS with Microsoft holding the private key. If you could provide a few more details, I could better answer your question.
Thank you!

Read this article in other language

Data is always being generated. Every time you click on a link, open up a new tab, create an account, and just use the Internet, you’re leaving a paper trail of data. This paper trail means that there is a lot of data to be collected, both by corporations and by cybercriminals.

These paper trails are the reasons encryption software exists—encryption is vital to your safety online. But how do you encrypt your devices, and what can be encrypted?

1. Keep Your Local Storage Encrypted

Most people stick to keeping their data on physical drives located in their devices. For example, a PC technician may choose to keep multiple hard drives in their computer and store all their data in those instead of using a cloud-based storage solution (which we will get to in a bit).

While physical storage solutions have their advantages, they are not 100% immune to data leaks and theft. A strong piece of malware—let’s say a piece of spyware—could log the data located in those drives and send said data over to the author of the software.

An unguarded hard drive leads to data leaks and targeted crimes by cybercriminals. That said, there are various ways to encrypt hard drives and other physical storage solutions. Macs come with encryption software, as well as certain versions of Windows, and there are mobile encryption solutions for mobile devices as well.

2. Encrypt Your Internet Network

The Internet contains many dangers, from cyber criminals lurking and waiting for victims to suspicious websites that are designed to steal as much data from visitors as possible. And everything you do on the Internet? Well, most of it may not be secured, and your activity may be visible to everyone else on the network.

While home networks, along with networks found in schools and businesses, are often encrypted, many aren’t. And public networks lack sacrifice encryption for convenience, leading to public networks possessing an infamous reputation for their lack of security.

Using an unencrypted network puts you at risk of identity theft and data breaches/leaks. For this reason, it’s important that you always use an encrypted network. And if you don’t have access to an encrypted network, you can download VPN to encrypt your online activity.

3. Enable Encryption for Emails

Our emails contain plenty of private information. Private information that, if leaked, could cause serious harm, including identity theft, fraud, and blackmail.

The unfortunate thing is that emails are extremely vulnerable. All it takes for your emails to be stolen and logged as being on the wrong network at the wrong time, becoming victim to a website breach outside your control, and other factors that you may not even be aware of.

Because of this, it’s vital you keep your emails encrypted. Services such as ProtonMail encrypt all emails sent out and keep your data secure. That way, your emails won’t fall into the hands of cybercriminals.

4. Encrypt Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows users to offload their data off their device and in a remote server. Cloud storage comes with a few advantages, including more space on your local storage and the safety of your data in case something happens to your hard drives or solid-state drives.

That said, cloud storage lacks the security of local storage. See, with local storage, someone will need to have the physical drive in their possession or use malware. With cloud storage, however, your data is always there on the server, and all it takes is an intelligent cybercriminal to leak it all, such as the infamous 2014 iCloud incident.

Don’t worry, though—most cloud storage providers nowadays encrypt the data server-side. And if you don’t trust a company’s ability to safeguard encrypted data, there is always a variety of encryption providers ready to encrypt your cloud data.

5. Enable Encryption for SMS Messages

How often do you send text messages? Better question, how often are you sending confidential information through text?

Many people don’t give a second thought to what they’re texting and when. After all, text messages are supposed to be secure, especially if you’re using a service like iMessage! Unfortunately, your text messages are just as vulnerable to being leaked as any other piece of information. And the worst part? SMS services don’t come with encryption at all.

Having your messages stolen and leaked means having a bunch of private information coming out, and some cybercriminals may even try to blackmail you.

Fortunately, plenty of encrypted messaging services exist that are both free and intuitive. Messaging apps such as Signal allow users to send and receive messages without having to worry about someone stealing their data.

Conclusion

In short, everything you do can be encrypted, from your online activity to the emails you send. Take some time to read over this article and encrypt everything you think is important enough to be encrypted (Hint: everything is important enough).

Features and storage space only go so far. For storing the most sensitive data, you need the best cloud storage for encryption, and in this guide, we count down our top five picks.

In an age where not even large corporations and governments are immune from data breaches, security is an ever-growing concern, even for the average user. If you’re a cloud storage user, your sensitive data could be at risk from cyberattacks, so choosing the best encrypted cloud storage is extremely important.

The first thing to look for when choosing a secure storage cloud is encryption. It’s what keeps your private files safe and stops bad actors from gaining access to your data. There are several cloud storage services that offer safe, zero-knowledge encryption, and we’ve created a list of the best encrypted cloud storage to help you make your choice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sync.com offers secure cloud storage and a generous amount of storage space, all for a low monthly price.
  • Egnyte doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption, but you can get past that with its Boxcryptor integration.
  • SpiderOak offers excellent security, but it’s more of an online backup platform than anything else.

We’ve taken many things into consideration when compiling this list to make sure that not only are these services secure but also offer users all the features they need at a reasonable price. Only the cream of the crop were chosen when it comes to security and privacy, so you won’t find names with sketchy privacy — like Google Drive and Dropbox — on this list.

Sync.com is the clear winner, offering zero-knowledge encryption out of the box and some of the lowest prices for its cloud storage. pCloud has the best media playback on this list, but its zero-knowledge solution is a paid add-on, which costs it the top spot. There’s a lot more to find out about the cloud providers we’ve chosen, so take a closer look at our list below.

    Which Is the Most Secure Cloud Storage?

We rate Sync.com as the most secure cloud storage provider. It offers a zero-knowledge security model with end-to-end encryption, and compared to similar services, it’s cheaper.

Nearly all cloud storage services provide some level of encryption. That said, services like Sync.com, pCloud and Egnyte provide end-to-end encryption.

If you’re dealing with sensitive data, it might be a good idea to encrypt it before uploading. You can encrypt your data with a tool like Boxcryptor before sending it to your favorite cloud storage service.

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What Makes the Best Encrypted Cloud Storage?

Simply put, the best encrypted cloud storage services offer the best encryption. That shows up in a zero-knowledge security model, where you and only you have access to your data. On top of host-proof hosting (meaning it’s impossible for the host to access your data), we made our picks based on the encryption algorithm used and the privacy practices of each service.

It’s hard to make any ranking in a vacuum, though. Security and privacy took priority, but we also considered pricing, ease of use, support and features. The five services below offer excellent encryption but are just solid storage platforms all around.

  1. Sync.com — Strong encryption and a great free plan
  2. pCloud — Awesome music player and cheap plans
  3. MEGA — Very large free plan
  4. Egnyte Connect — Excellent integrations and strong business plans
  5. Icedrive — Security that never gets in the way of usability

Sync.com leads our list on the back of its low price and top-notch security. It comes with an easy-to-use web interface, excellent security features and plenty of online storage, all for a low price.

We have some other options depending on what you want to do, though. pCloud Crypto is great for securing highly sensitive data, while Egnyte expertly balances security features with productivity ones. Regardless of the service you pick, the five options below will keep your files in the cloud safe.

1. Sync.com

More details about Sync.com:

  • Pricing: 5GB free, $8 per month for 2TB on the annual plan
  • Provider website:www.sync.com
  • Free plan is zero-knowledge
  • Very good pricing
  • Strict server security
  • No monthly payments
  • Slow speed
  • Ease of use could be better

Topping our list is Sync.com, a reliable cloud service that offers end-to-end encryption for all of its plans, both paid and free. Its encryption is zero-knowledge, just like all the other entries on this list, which means that only you have access to the encryption keys for your files. So, even if someone manages to access your files, they will still be safely encrypted.

Sync.com’s outstanding feature is its zero-knowledge security. Everything you upload to it is scrambled using 256-bit AES encryption, both while at rest and in transit.

It also adds another layer of security by using the TLS protocol to keep your files safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Two-factor authentication further beefs up your security, so you can rest easy knowing your files are safe.

To add to its top-of-the-line encryption, Sync.com offers great sharing features and flexible file-syncing options. It also offers previews for Microsoft Office and PDF documents. However, its strict security doesn’t allow for integration with third-party apps, and there aren’t many options for collaboration.

Complete Data Privacy With Sync.com

Sync.com has some of the best privacy for a cloud storage provider. Its servers are in Canada, which means your files aren’t subject to invasive U.S. laws. This also means that it falls under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which requires that you give consent for your personal information being shared.

Its security and privacy fulfill strict HIPAA requirements, meaning that it is secure enough to store sensitive medical data. This sets it apart from the competition, and it’s especially apparent when comparing Sync.com to services with suspicious privacy, such as Dropbox.

Sync.com offers excellent prices across all of its paid plans. Its cheapest plan offers 200GB of storage space for just $5 per month, and there are plans that offer up to 4TB of storage for individuals and up to 10TB for businesses.

Plus, its free plan comes with 5GB of storage and is just as secure. The only caveat is that all of its plans are yearly subscriptions, and there is no option to pay a monthly fee.