Boxcryptor Safe and Secure Cloud Storage
These days everything is in the cloud. Your photos, files, device locations and your fitness data. But is it safe? Cloud companies such as Google, OneDrive and Dropbox all talk a good talk when it comes to keeping your data safe and secure, but do they walk the walk?
Well clearly if they did, we wouldn’t have products like Boxcryptor would we?
Boxcryptor works in a similar way to Google and OneDrive and Dropbox et al, with one key difference. They focus on security. Specifically, your security and the security of your online data. After all, when you store files online in the cloud, we all seem to blindly trust the cloud providers that our data will be safe. It’s time to take back control and using Boxcryptor would be a good start in achieving this.
In a Hurry?
How Boxcryptor works is rather clever. Sure, you can just upload your files to the cloud and hope they are kept safe and secure by Mummy Dropbox and Daddy Google, but if you are really clever then this is where you’ll use Boxcryptor to encrypt all the files you want to send to the cloud first. Not only does Boxcryptor encrypt your files but it does this using end-to-end encryption.
For the techies reading this, they already know that means AES-256 and RSA-4096 encryption standards, but for the rest of us, it just means your online cloud data just became super secure from prying eyes or cloud providers themselves.
This is an encryption method that basically means that once your files are encrypted using Boxcryptor that nobody except you has the keys to use to decrypt the data once it has been encrypted.
More the power to you and not the cloud provider hosting your data, thanks Boxcryptor!
And using Boxcryptor is quite easy. Once installed you simply sign in to your favourite cloud service, Boxcryptor supports up to twenty popular cloud services, so it has you covered, and then you choose the files to encrypt and Boxcryptor does the rest before uploading it safely and more securely to your chosen cloud service.
It’s quite simple, and inexpensive too. It works completely free, which is a rarity in these days of subscription only services, but paid subscriptions start from $48 per year and give you added benefits such as use on unlimited devices (free version is just 2), unlimited cloud providers (free version is just 20) and additional encryption benefits such as filename encryption and email support. There are also packages available for both personal and enterprise use.
For most people, the free version will meet their needs quite nicely. Whilst many people may use more than one cloud provider, they usually have a favourite or one that contains data that is more important than the other and the free version of Boxcryptor can handle this easily. Upgrading to the next tier (Personal – the $48 per year mentioned earlier) is easy enough to do and does give you added benefits as well. So, it’s worth it.
Boxcryptor has both desktop client apps and smartphone apps. So, you can securely encrypt your data wherever you are and on whatever device you are using. Not only that but it also supports encrypting all file types and this is all done on-the-fly. That means that once your files have been encrypted you can decrypt them individually too. No more wasting time having to decrypt all your files just to get to one of them.
The enterprise version of Boxcryptor allows for you and your team to work together and grant each other access to encrypted files through a permissions system. Adding a user on your team access to encrypted files works the same way as you would do granting someone access to a file on OneDrive or Google Drive. So that means it’s easy to use.
As an added benefit of Boxcryptor, once you have signed up you also get an added layer of security that allows you to share links to files encrypted with Boxcryptor with non-Boxcryptor users. This service is known as Whisply and allows you to add passwords to the links that you generate, as well as give links a time limit for use as well. Another value-added layer of security.
If we had to give a disadvantage to Boxcryptor right now, this far into the review, you could argue that having to download the Boxcryptor app on to whichever device you are using could be it. Many people may consider that a disadvantage if their device is managed by their company and they have blocked access to downloading unauthorized apps for example. But this is just nit-picking really. Although it would be great if Boxcryptor also just worked fine in your browser, to save the need for requiring an app – sadly it doesn’t.
So, it’s well priced, with great security features, and easy to use and install, but how does it work? Well, after you download it (84MB), and install Boxcryptor on to your computer a new drive appears under This PC (version tested: Windows 10), called ‘Boxcryptor’, with the drive assignment X: After installing, you have to create a Personal or Business Boxcryptor account. When you do this, you are warned that Boxcryptor cannot help you recover your password if you forget it, so store it in a password manager to keep it safe. If you do forget your account password, you can reset it and create a new one, but you lose access to all the files you have already encrypted.
After signing in it automatically detects any cloud services installed, so it detected OneDrive and SharePoint for us just fine, as well as external drives that were connected to the computer. You must select one of these by right-clicking the Boxcryptor taskbar icon > Settings > Locations and making sure the file service you want to use is checked. It then appears in the Boxcryptor folder. Encrypting files is easy enough, simply right-click > Boxcryptor > Encrypt and it will do the rest. You can also encrypt your files automatically by dragging them to the Boxcryptor folder that gets created at first use that we mentioned earlier.
It’s recommended to not store your encrypted files at the root level of the Boxcryptor drive. Instead, create a subfolder and then put your files and folder in there instead. It makes things much easier to work with overall.
Managing permissions for the encrypted files is simply a case of right-clicking the file > Boxcryptor > Permissions and following the steps. You can also right-click the Boxcryptor taskbar icon and go to Settings to manage your cloud locations, account, whether it starts with Windows, or to add additional security by protecting the app with a PIN or password. You can also turn on additional features like filename encryption from this menu, but that will prompt you to upgrade your account and start paying.
To be honest it isn’t as easy to use as it could be, compared to something like OneDrive. And so, the Help menu, available from the taskbar icon is very useful. Boxcryptor has also moved the group management feature from its desktop app to its main website, which begs the question why does the desktop app still have the option for it? Just tiny things like that. Getting help could also do with being improved. There is no live chat and support is available just Monday – Friday via email for those who paid extra for it. There is at least a help site which has articles answering the most common questions at least, so that’s something, but definite room for improvement.
Overall Boxcryptor is a great little tool for helping to keep your online files more secure. It’s lightweight, and whilst not easy to use at first, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. It’s also affordable if you want to upgrade to get filename encryption (highly recommended) and all they need to do is improve the UI of the desktop app a little bit and focus more on giving support in a more accessible way and this would be a definite winner. As it stands, it’s close, but not quite the top cloud encryption app just yet. That isn’t taking anything away from Boxcryptor, for most people, it will get the job done just fine.