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Encrypting Online Backups with TrueCrypt

Encrypting your files is something that is recommended if you hold sensitive information, like customer details for example. It helps prevent your data falling in to the wrong hands. This can be anything from a physical robbery to data being intercepted via email. There are many different encryption algorithms, but they all exist so that the data cannot be accessed without the key.

TrueCrypt is a free and open source piece of software that encrypts on the fly. Using the program you can create a virtual encrypted disk and mount it as a real one, encrypt an entire partition or storage device or just a partition or drive where Windows is installed for pre-boot authentication. More details can be found at their official website, but it is consistently voted one of the best encryption tools around.

Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly popular method to store data. It is hugely convenient as it allows you to access your files wherever you are, on multiple devices, as long as you have an internet connection. However, storing things online comes with a security risk. If someone managed to gain access to your cloud storage account then they could view all of your data with ease. This is why it is important that sensitive information that is stored in the cloud needs to be encrypted. This is where TrueCrypt can come in.

To encrypt your online backups, first download and install Dropbox (you can use another cloud storage method if you prefer, providing it supports encryption) and TrueCrypt. Create a new volume in TrueCrypt using the wizard. It creates a container file, but the program will display it as a second disk. Save the container file in your Dropbox folder. When you configure the Volume Format, click the Dynamic checkbox and change the File system to NTFS. This allows you to create an encrypted volume that will start small and increase as more data is added to it. Input an upper limit to the volume size and it will make synchronisation with Dropbox quicker.

The great thing about this process is that Dropbox doesn’t sync all of the data again each time. It will only update the parts of the container that have changed and it will continue to keep everything encrypted. This will save you on bandwidth and stop the computer slowing down while it synchs unnecessary content.

Be sure to always keep track of the key that locks the encryption. If you lose it then getting access to your data can prove essentially impossible – that is the point, after all. However, don’t let that worry put you off. If you are storing sensitive data in the cloud then it is vital that you are encrypting it. If your data fell into the wrong hands then it could cause major issues. Since both TrueCrypt and Dropbox are free you have no excuses not to follow the advice given here. These are a few simple steps to undertake that could save a major headache in the future.


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