Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm going... into the clouuuuuuuuuud...

Last week my desktop stopped working. Most likely the power supply is starting to go. Although my data was not damaged I couldn't get to it for a few days. Yes, I have a portable hard drive I use for backups but my most recent emails and most recently created files weren't available. I also couldn't write checks using my accounting program.

That sucked.

So I started working on ways to get my important and current data on the cloud (storing it on the internet). My upstream speed isn't fast enough to do total backups on line unless I want to leave my system on all night (I don't) and I don't need everything, just some important files that are constantly being updated. My first attempt? Dropbox. This is a nifty little app. You get 2GB free. Install it on two computers, save or drop any file in a special folder and BAM it gets synched. It also saves older versions in case you delete something at home. You can even have a public folder that anyone can see without a password. Cool.

So far, so good, but I like to keep minimal sensitive data on my laptop. I don't store passwords or important work files on it in case it gets stolen. Dropbox, however, is quite happy to copy important files right to my laptop including stuff I dont want everyone in the world to see.

There are two options;
1) don't install the app on my laptop and access my info through their website using a username and password.

2) Encryption. I can use TrueCrypt to encrypt any sensitive files so that even if they are on my laptop, they are protected.

The first option is easiest. Drawbacks? What if dropbox hands over my data to the gubment? (I'm looking at you phone companies, this has happened before) I also loose the helpful feature of simple synchronization. If I download an important file and alter it, I have to then upload it and then delete it locally. Annoying. With synch, if I am writing a story on one system, the latest version will automatically me available on the other, which is neat.

With encryption, I have to go through a setup process with TrueCrypt which basically creates a single size file. Down side? That whole file has to get synched each time I change it, even a small change. Upside? Available even if I don't have a net connection.

I am going to go for the second option for now. Test it and see how it works. Again, I can't store everything online, but in the event something goes very wrong, I will be able to get up and running on another system quickly. And of course, there's an iphone app that lets me access the non encrypted stuff as well. Sweet. I'm off... into the clouuuuuuuuud

Have any of you flirted with this idea? Anyone else getting rid of software installed on their computer and instead use web apps? Post in comments.

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