Travel Technology: keep your photos and files safe in the cloud.
This is the second post by my tech guru, Doug of ihelpinnovate. You can follow him on twitter @dougkrug. Doug puts together technology in a simple and streamlined fashion for efficiency and security. He also communicates patiently, in human terms, rather than with technical jargon.
In his first post for us, he explained how to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that you can securely use public wifi. With a VPN you can even go into your bank account and use credit cards with confidence. He also covered the use of an unlocked phone. Both services proved essential for my trip to China.
This time he explains the cloud as a place to store documents so that they are accessible when traveling. Here’s his wisdom…
Spring is in full swing and the journey is calling. Time to think about what you’ll pack for the road ahead. You have your bag loaded with the essentials, but what have you forgotten? What’s going to suddenly announce it’s absence along the way?
“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge.”
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The pattern for many travelers, as far at their technology is concerned, is neglecting to plan for access to files and for the potential problems with their camera, tablet and computer on the road.
Access your files from anywhere by keeping them in “The Cloud”
Holding your possessions is what a suitcase or backpack is for. But where will you store your photos and other important files? On your laptop or tablet? What if they’re stolen or the data becomes inaccessible because of a malfunction?
The answer is simple – you store them in “The Cloud”.
“Cloud Storage” is a service you often get for free, up to a certain capacity, and then you buy more space as needed. Through the service you save your files on a group of many powerful computers (servers) connected to the internet – 24/7. It’s very similar to how your gmail, hotmail or yahoo email is stored.
Files are stored in the cloud one of three ways -
- Automatically copied to the cloud by your computer, smartphone or tablet
- Manually placed in a special cloud storage folder on your computer, or
- Through a special app on your smartphone or tablet designed to move files onto cloud storage so that you can access them when needed
When you are connected to the internet, files stored in these special locations are copied to a cloud storage server. If you’re not connected to the internet at the time, changes will automatically synchronize with the cloud storage server the next time you have an internet connection.
Examples of cloud storage providers are -
DropBox – A popular service that stores up to 2 GB for free (roughly 150 photos) and has a nice photo sharing feature that lets you easily create albums and share photos.
Google Drive – 5 GB of storage are included free with your google account. If you have a free gmail account, you have Google Drive. A competitor to DropBox, it ups the ante by making publicly shared documents searchable. Google can also synchronize Android apps, music, photos, calendars, address books and browser history.
iCloud – For Apple users only, 5 GB of automatic cloud storage are included free to keep your apps, music, photos, documents, calendar, address book, browser history and iBooks. You can even find your lost iPhone, iPad or MacBook with it. While it all sounds great, Janice has opted to stick with DropBox for document backup because iCloud failed to work consistently, whereas services like DropBox and Google Drive do the job reliably every time.
Keep your files private without giving up convenience
Cloud storage is a great way to keep important data backed up in case of disaster, giving you peace of mind, no matter where you are in the world.
One problem; Not all cloud servers protect your privacy.
Sure, there’s encryption, similar to what your bank uses as data is making its way to the servers on the other end, but once it’s there, it’s vulnerable to anyone who might possibly gain access to it. This might be fine for your average snap shot but if you want to store sensitive information, privacy is a must!
Enter Boxcryptor -
• An application you purchase for your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android device
• You copy files to the cloud, and it strongly encrypts them as they’re being stored, so your files can’t be read or viewed by anyone but you.
• Files are decrypted in realtime as you open them, so they can be read or viewed on your computer or portable device.
• You hold the keys – not the cloud service provider. No one but you can open your files.
Boxcryptor is the only simple file protection solution available for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad. If you want to be sure your files stored in the cloud are kept private, you need Boxcryptor.
Boxcryptor comes in two flavors -
• FREE if you store your files in just one place, or
• A one time fee of $45 If you store your files in more than one place, such as Google Drive, DropBox, Microsoft SkyDrive and others
Now your files are safe and stored privately in the cloud. So even if every computer, smartphone or tablet you own breaks, is lost or stolen, you can still access your important data from any computer in the world, thanks to cloud storage and Boxcryptor.
Keeping important documents within reach
If the “something” that goes missing is your documents, it’s a good idea to have copies of them in the cloud. But unless you use Boxcryptor, your privacy is not secure. What should you do to make your trip worry free?
Take snap shots of the front and back of your -
• Driver’s License
• Health Card
• Proof of Traveler’s Insurance
• Credit Cards
Store the snap shots in your cloud service using Boxcryptor. If anything should happen to original documents, you have a copy of the information that is safe from prying eyes.
Next time, I’ll tell you about “VoIP” and how you can place and receive extremely low cost phone calls from anywhere in the world
Have fun – Doug
Image courtesy of Sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net