How to protect files on Mac and in a cloud

Olga Weis

There is really no need to talk about why it is important it is to keep your data secure and safe. What we need to talk about is how to protect your data on computer and, taking into account the issue of security in cloud computing, how to protect your data in the cloud. There is a number of ways to encrypt files on mac and external storages.

Let us have a closer look at them:

  1. Encrypt System Data
    Encrypt System Data Your startup drive can be encrypted with the help of FileVault accessible via System Preferences > Security & Privacy pane. The only way to bypass FileVault is to get the password to your user account – make sure it is strong. If you lose your account password, you can either use your iCloud account details or create a recovery key. To keep your data safe when you are logged in, set up sleep and screensaver passwords. To prevent booting your machine off another startup drive or recovery partition, set up Firmware password. Restart your Mac and, once the screen turns black, hold Cmd + R, in the Utilities window displayed click ‘Firmware Password Utility’.
  2. Encrypt External Drives
    Encrypt External Drives Now, once your startup disk is secured, it is time to encrypt partitions, internal drives, external drives or partitions on an external drive. Connect a drive to your Mac and right-click on its icon on the desktop and choose ‘Encrypt’. Drives and Partitions can be encrypted through Disk Utility, however this will erase their data – leave it for new or empty disks. It is also possible to create encrypted disk images similar to folders with their own encryption.
  3. Encrypt Documents & Files
    Encrypt Documents & Files To protect individual documents and files, use Preview. For iWork documents ‘Set Password’ option is available directly in File menu. For documents in other formats, you first will have to convert them into PDF using ‘Export as PDF’ option, choose ‘Show Details’ button when doing it – this is where you can enable encryption and set a password.
    If your document is already in PDF format, in File menu choose ‘Save As’, in the window displayed tick ‘Encrypt’ checkbox and set a password. Another way to password-protect a file is to use Print Options, choose ‘Save as PDF’ in the drop-down list.
  4. Encrypt Backups
    Encrypt Backups It is also required to password-protect files Mac owners copy to an external drive. You can easily do it via Time Machine application – go to Preferences, select Backup Disk, enable encryption and set up a password for it. In the same way you can password-protect folder Mac users moved to a server or Time Capsule.
  5. Encrypt Cloud Files
    Encrypt Cloud Files Most – if not all of us – prefer to store data on a cloud. Not only it becomes easily accessible from anywhere, it also serves as a reserve copy in case something happens to the data stored locally. However cloud computing security is a much discussed issue these days, how can one ensure cloud protection? Using cloud storage encryption, of course. There is special software that can help you with it – CloudMounter. The application mounts cloud storage services and web servers on Mac so you can access and manage them in an easier way. The application is compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon S3 and Open Stack Swift, and it supports connecting to remote servers via FTP/ SFTP/ FTPS and WebDAV protocols.
    It is possible to set up CloudMounter as the only access point to your online data. Even if someone gets hold of your login credentials and logs in to your account from a web-browser or another application, they will not be able to read your encrypted cloud storage.

Take your time, go through the above once again and see how you can apply these methods to protect your data.

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CloudMounter

Requirements: OS X 10.10+ , 13.1Mb free space
Version 3.1.504 (7th Jan, 2018) Release notes