Information, Technology, Security, and other stuff.
So Dropbox have unleashed Dropbox Pro, offering a 1TB plan for AUD$10.99/month. I was a paying customer with Dropbox a couple of times in the past, but I always dropped it because it simply didn't offer enough storage space for what I was paying, and I wasn't keen on the idea of paying more than $10/month for a level of cloud storage that I needed. Storage should be cheap.
Now because of this 1TB plan I figured I might try to simplify my backup strategy even more, and try to get some Syncronisation/Automation happening with it, so I forked over some cash and have come up with the following.
##Re-evaluating my Backup Strategy
I've been lugging around external drives as my main hub of data for a while now (here's a post about it), but one of the big issues I've always had is the fact I suck at keeping the information in sync consistently. Even putting a calendar entry in to remind me doesn't work. If my routine is disrupted, then it's quickly forgotten.
So now I've decided to replace my 1TB External drives with a 1TB Dropbox account.
When I upgraded my Dropbox account and started to load it with data, I realised that I hadn't considered that the Dropbox folder is in my home folder by default. I quickly filled up the SSD that my OS runs on. Woops.
So to get the space I needed I chose to move the Dropbox folder onto a 1TB external drive for my main computer (as I don't have 1TB of free space on any internal drives), which I'll leave plugged into the computer at all times. I've encrypted the drive as well so it's no concern if somebody takes it.
If the drive is disconnected, then Dropbox will kill itself until you put the drive back.
This diagram below pretty much sums up my new strategy. Each machine I use will have Dropbox installed on it, and they'll all push their changes up to the cloud, solving my sync problem. The little green house icons are CrashPlan, which I use as a secondary backup service for data that can't go into Dropbox (like my home folders, or gigantic files not often accessed). I may ditch CrashPlan though if I can't find any value in it in the future.
I can use Selective Sync with Dropbox to sync only the necessary data to my machines that don't have as much space, like my Mac or my Work PC.
##Maintaining Security Now I think you'd be insane to put everything into Dropbox. The employees of the company can access the information within if they wish, or they can hand it over to authorities if requested. And the service is a US-based company, so even being in Australia my data is still under US jurisdiction (even if the data is sitting on an Australian server).
Until they adopt some form of Zero-Knowledge capability, they cannot be trusted completely. It's not a tinfoil hat kind of fear I have, it's just a fear of the imperfections of humans. A simple oversight is all it takes to expose your data, and I don't want my financial information or emails being leaked like that.
So to get my Private information into my Dropbox to still reap the benefits of the cloud, I installed Boxcryptor, which is a sweet little tool that encrypts files in your Dropbox before they're sent up to Dropbox. It's like adding a Zero-Knowledge layer on top of the service.
Boxcryptor basically acts like EFS on Windows (the installer actually recommends to disable EFS so there's no confusion), and to access your data you need to go through a virtual drive that it mounts to your computer. I've tried to run it on my Mac to see what the experience is like on there, but it won't currently run on the Yosemite beta.
If you sign out of the application, then the virtual drive is simply disconnected.
Here's the configuration changes I made to boxcryptor to help strengthen it:
I have evaluated most of the cloud storage providers, and the one thing that I have come to care most about of them is stability. I want a service provider that I know will be there in 5 years time.
I guess I like Dropbox for being a standalone player in the market. They essentially pioneered the consumer cloud storage industry and they've still maintained their platform independence. As I mentioned before, they can't be trusted with anything really important as they're not zero-knowledge, but they can be trusted to keep the service running and to always be neutral to platform support.
I think if they were taken over by Microsoft or Apple or another one of companies that like vendor lock-in for their customers, then I'd probably start looking for an alternative again.