Everything’s stored online nowadays. Contact information, bank details and even your files. But just how secure are those backups?
CloudSafe helps to secure online files by the use of heavy encryption. In this article, I’m going to be showing you how to set up a virtual safe where you can store your encrypted files and data.
CloudSafe is an app that allows you to create virtual safes to store your heavily encrypted files and keep these away from prying eyes. With various advanced settings for permissions, it allows you full control of exactly who has access to your precious files.
CloudSafe is priced quite moderately, using the freemium business model and only employing a small change between the free and premium accounts. Where the free plan only allows for a maximum of 3 safes per account, all premium plans eliminate this cap and allow unlimited safes to be made. Premium plans also allow for group access, where the free plan does not.
The main difference between the free and premium plans is the maximum limit on storage allocated to the account. Whilst the free plan offers a heavy 1GB of storage, the medium plan offers 5GB for $2.99/month and the large offers 50GB for $7.99/month. However, their currencies are not balanced and whilst the premium plans would be $2.99/month and $7.99/month in the US, they would be £2.99/month (approx $4.60 USD) and £7.99/month (approx $12.30 USD) in the UK, respectively. This shows a serious flaw in the pricing model, but one that is becoming ever so common with businesses who do not compensate for this change.
Get An Account
Before you can start using CloudSafe, you’re going to need an account. Once you hit the register page, you’re required to enter some basic contact details. It’s quite straightforward and once you’ve done this and entered the correct CAPTCHA string, you’re almost good to go.
However, before you can do anything, you’ll need to activate your account using the link sent to the email address you provided during registration. As far as I’m aware, this is a security precaution that ensures that users are legitimate before they can use the service. Because you probably are a real person, it shouldn’t be too much trouble and once you’ve done it, you’re ready to go.
I’ve found that the best thing to do before you do anything else is to add some contacts. Because this is only necessarily if you plan to securely share your files with other users, you can skip this step if you’re just using it to store your files for self-reference.
To add contacts, click the “Contacts” tab along the main navigation menu and then in the right sidebar pane, a bright blue “Invite Contacts” button will have appeared that will open a new form. In here, you can enter a list of all email addresses (comma-separated) and an optional personal message and those people will be sent an invitation to join CloudSafe. Once they’ve accepted your invitation, they’ll be automatically added to your contacts. Now that you’ve some contacts to share with, you can create your first safe!
Create a Safe
Creating a safe is an easy process once you understand how it works. Navigate to either the dashboard or the “Safes” page and in the right sidebar, you will find another big blue button that will take you to the first step to create your safe. On the first page of the form, choose a short name for your safe and provide a description.
You are then given the option of adding a note that will be encrypted and further visible to those accessing your safe as well as the ability to upload the first files to your safe. Note that it’s not required that you upload files as you can do this later.
Manage Safe Access
On the next page of the form, you will be given a variety of options that will denote the access you would like for the safe. You can also, however, choose to have no access chains if you only want to access the virtual safe yourself.
This option allows you to allocate access to certain contacts and they can have unmonitored access
to all files in the safe at any time. This is good if you’re only using the service to share files with a trusted group of people.
This is quite a strange setting for file access but it must work for some people. This allows the safe to only be accessible between two people who must have permission from the other person before accessing the safe.
This allows you to allocate “confirmers” who control whether the requested users can or cannot access the safe. Though the confirmer does not have access to the contents of the safe, they decide whether or not the user who requests access can access to the safe.
Now that you’ve set up your safe, you can start adding files. To do this, visit either the dashboard or the “Safes” page and you will find a list of your safes. Choose the one you would like to add files to and click the green circular button to view your safe.
From here, you can alter the encrypted message and you will find a list of all files in your safe (if any). It’s self-explanatory from here but it’s possible to add directories and files which will be encrypted and stored securely in your safe.
Though it can seem a little complicated and some are the practised can leave one quite confused, overall, the app is actually quite useful for those who want more security when they’re storing their files in the cloud. In terms of design and overall usability, the app doesn’t shine but it’s quite easy to ignore this if you’re using the app for the right purposes.
Despite the pricing issues I have mentioned, it is priced well (providing you live in the US!) for the level of service provided and would definitely be a good tool for those that would use it well.