Securing Online Backup

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I have seen too many drives fail, or systems infected, to take backups lightly. I have used various physical media forms in the past but over the past few years I have seen the benefits of using online backup. I have been using SugarSync, purchasing the $4.99/mo for 30gb package (no longer available, $7.49 is now the minimum for 60gb). And it has worked great but now I see that Google Drive is offering 100gb for $4.99/mo (update: Google has dropped the price to just $1.99/mo for 100gb)

I’m a huge Google fanboy and use a lot of their services, I already have the 15gb of storage one gets with a free account which is used by Gmail, Google+ and Docs. I have a few things in my account but not much. Now I’m thinking I should move my $4.99/mo from SugarSync to Google Drive and store all my backups there.

In general I’m a very trusting guy but something about storing my most personal documents on Google is making me pause. It’s not pictures, game saves and my music that I worry about, it’s my bank statements, medical records, tax documents etc.

At work we use a program that encrypts files before they go up to the cloud servers. So what I wanted to share here is that I discovered some free software that you can use at home to do the same thing. It’s called CryptSync, there are some others out there but this is the one I like the best. It works to make the job of encrypting your sensitive files seamless when used alongside something like Google Drive. Basically, you create a folder pair between the unencrypted folder in your documents and a secure one in your Google Drive folder. Just the secure copy of the files are then uploaded to the cloud.

I use Paperport to scan and organize all my sensitive business like files so I’m just securing my Paperport folder. The rest of my folders I’m happy to leave open, I really don’t think an outsider is going to get into my account and Google is probably not interested in my vacation photos. I just feel better that financial and medical records are secure.

If you decide to try this out note that you get to create your own encryption key so don’t lose it. And use something long and random, including letters, numbers and special characters. You won’t need to key it again after it is set unless you need to reinstall for some reason. I use Lastpass to store my keys and it also has a great password generator which is ideal for doing this.

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