DigitalQuick offers business administrators concerned about the amount of sensitive data being stored on public cloud services an easy way to protect those files before they leave the company network. The service, which is currently in open beta, is designed for users who need to protect sensitive files and folders stored and shared on Dropbox.
DigitalQuick uses AES-256 encryption, and the encryption tool is very simple to use. However, the actual encryption keys are kept with DigitalQuick, so security-conscious users who want to retain control of the keys are out of luck. Still, not having to manage their own keys makes the process less initimidating for those people interested in doing more to protect their data, but not sure how to get started.
DigitalQuick is currently in open beta and is free for users. The company said DigitalQuick will become a paid offering in mid-to-late 2013.
Setup is very simple; all the user has to do is download and install the DigitalQuick software on their computer. DigitalQuick offers an Android version on Google Play. After the software is installed, I could sign up for an account or log in with my existing account. Since I could download and run the software on multiple devices, the installer asked for a location name for each device. This way, the service knows which device is attempting to access which file.
Any file or folder I created within that DigitalQuick folder was automatically encrypted. That’s how easy it is to use DigitalQuick.
I connected my DigitalQuick account with my Dropbox account via the Account Settings interface. This means whenever I use Dropbox’s desktop client to upload files to the cloud service, DigitalQuick first encrypts the file. After linking my accounts, I had to define the “secure” location within Dropbox.
I created a new folder in Dropbox and right-clicked on that new folder to enable DigitalQuick.I could select either advanced document protection or basic file encryption, select additional permissions, and I was done.
The installation process created a DigitalQuick folder on my computer with a few sample files to demonstrate how the process works. Everything in this folder syncs automatically with Dropbox and all other devices associated with that Dropbox.
Mac OS X support is not currently available. Since this is still in beta, DigitalQuick currently only supports Dropbox. The company will be looking at other public cloud services at a later date.
Using the Service
So long as DigitalQuick is installed on the user’s computer or mobile device, any file uploaded to Dropbox from that system is automatically encrypted before the data is actually transferred. Users can also designate a specific directory on the local drive as a “secure” location and have DigitalQuick encrypt all files stored in that folder. DigitalQuick also supports setting different levels of permissions on the encrypted files and folders.
When I wanted to edit the data stored in my secure location, I had to first decrypt the data using the “Decrypt” menu option. It decrypted the file to a different location. If I wanted to make changes, I had to reencrypt the file after I was done by dropping the file back into the secure location. It won’t overwrite the previous copy, though, so I had to remove the previous encrypted version in order to get the updated file saved.
Whenever I right-click on the “secure” folder, whether on my local drive or on Dropbox (using the desktop client), the resulting sub-menus lets me “change permissions” on the folder or file, view a “file history” page on the Web portal that shows a detailed log of who accessed that file, “decrypt files” to decrypt the protected data, and “disable” DigitalQuick. I can turn off DigitalQuick protection from that folder, after which any new files stored in that directory aren’t protected automatically.
The permissions are pretty basic. As the owner, I have full access to the data, which means I can open, edit, print and decrypt all the data. I can restrict users to have limited abilities to open, edit, decrypt, and print the file. I could instantly change permissions, grant new folder ownership or disable DigitalQuick encryption, as needed.
A Quick Way to Safe Data
There is a lot of data being uploaded to Dropbox and shared. If you are worried about people somehow gaining access to your account and seeing data they shouldn’t be allowed to see, DigitalQuick is for you. Businesses who know their employees are uploading work data to Dropbox can at least feel a little safer knowing that with DigitalQuick, the files are encrypted so unauthorized people can’t just gain access to the data. Since it’s in beta, I don’t want to be too harsh on the service, but it’s a little disappointing there is no Mac support, and I’d prefer to manage the encryption keys myself. Still, if you are a Windows user and use Dropbox extensively, consider using DigitalQuick to make your files a bit safer online.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc