Encryption keeps your data “healthy”, even online.
It is easy and convenient to sync your data with the cloud. The latest data is always available on any synchronized device. The cloud storage is huge, and usually free models offer more than enough space.
Depending on where your provider’s headquarters and its servers are located, data protection and security regulations vary in their strictness. In the United States, data protection is viewed from an entirely different perspective than in Germany or in Europe as a whole. In disputed cases, U.S. law gives authorities the option of viewing all data and information saved to a cloud. In Germany and Europe overall, providers meet the highest technical and statutory requirements by adhering to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Therefore, before you store files in the cloud, it is a good idea to gather information about the provider.
What you need to consider when using the cloud
- Only use cloud storage to supplement your local hard drives and storage devices. If you rely on the cloud and the site has technical problems or disappears from the market overnight, your files will be lost.
- There are documents that are best not stored online (or if so, only in encrypted form). These include files related to your health, tax forms, and account statements. If the provider’s systems are hacked by cybercriminals, you’re handing sensitive data over to them for free.
How encryption works in the cloud
Generally, it is advisable to encrypt documents that you put in cloud storage. There are special programs that do this for you. This changes nothing about the operating system. You access the data directly from Explorer or Finder as usual. Also, there is no need to enter a password for each individual document. This is known as “transparent encryption”. Any changes that you make are synchronized as usual – the only difference being that the files are encrypted when they are saved to the server.
The apps all work according to a uniform principle
- After installing them, you will first create a connection with the cloud storage.
- The software creates encrypted data containers that grow as the necessary storage space expands. Developers made sure that only the files with changes have to be synchronized when changes are made, rather than the entire encrypted container.
- To access the containers, you must use a password (as strong as possible).
- The container automatically links to the file manager of the operating system as if it were an external drive. You simply copy and move the files. The software encrypts them and files the encrypted data in the cloud in real time.
- You can access your encrypted data even on mobile devices, because developers also offer apps that handle encryption and decryption.
Some of the known and trusted apps for encryption in the cloud are
For experienced users – use your own cloud!Are you tech-savvy? Do you have a network drive at home, or are you paying for hosting from a provider for your website? If so, you can also operate your own personal cloud. You will know exactly where your data is and can be sure that the only people who can access it are those whom you have authorized. To do this, you need Nextcloud software, also available in a NAS system version. Experienced users will not find it hard to set up, but you do need some knowledge about handling a web server or a networked drive to finish setting up the system. Nextcloud has its own app, which makes it possible to sync the files on a smartphone with it.