BYOD is all the rage. Users are bringing their tablets, smartphones, and laptops to use at work. This new approach has a few issues to surmount, and one of the biggest is security. Yes, it is crucial for the company to ensure that their data is secure, but it's equally crucial for the user to be able to secure their personal data away from prying eyes of the company and fellow employees.
Personal data includes cloud drives like Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Dropbox. If you connect your tablet to those services, your cloud data is ready for prying eyes -- unless you make use of a handy tool like BoxCryptor for Android or iOS.
BoxCryptor is free encryption software that's optimized for these cloud services and features the following:
- Access to all encrypted files, photos, and music in your Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft SkyDrive
- Encryption and decryption takes place directly on device (password is never transmitted)
- Secure storage uses AES-256 standard
- App unlock PIN for additional security
- Limited EncFS compatibility
- Filename Encryption (in desktop client only)
Let's walk through the process of installing and connecting BoxCryptor with Google Drive on an Android tablet.
As you might expect, BoxCryptor is easy to install. Just follow these simple steps:
- Open the Google Play Store (or the App Store for iOS devices)
- Search for "boxcryptor" and tap on the entry for the app
- Tap Download
- Tap Accept & install
When the installation is complete, you should find an icon in the app drawer and/or on the home screen. Tap that icon to begin the process of connecting BoxCryptor.
Connecting to your accountWhen you first launch BoxCryptor, you'll be presented with a screen that asks you which service you want to connect to (Figure A). Figure A
BoxCryptor on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.Since we're connecting to Google Drive, tap the listing for this service. When you do this, a new window will appear, asking you to allow or deny access. Tap Allow Access, and BoxCryptor will begin the handshake process of connecting with your Google Drive account. At this point, you should see a listing of your folders (Figure B). You can now navigate into those folders safely. Figure B
Here's what your folder listing will look like within BoxCryptor.
This, of course, isn't terribly safe, as anyone can open BoxCryptor and see your files and folders. To prevent this from happening, set up PIN access to the BoxCryptor application by following these steps:
- Open BoxCryptor
- Tap the menu button (three vertical dots) in the upper right corner
- Tap Preferences
- Tap App Unlock (Figure C)
- Enter a PIN
- Re-enter the PIN (for confirmation)
You can also define the cache size for BoxCryptor in the Preferences settings.
That's it! Now, anytime BoxCryptor is launched, it will require that PIN before the app will open.
The one caveat to BoxCryptor is that you can only link the app to one service at a time. If you use multiple services on your tablet, you'll have to unlink one to link another.
You can create new, encrypted folders within BoxCryptor as well. You'll notice the Advance tab with Filename Encryption. This feature is actually not available for the mobile application (only the desktop version). To create the new folder, follow these steps:
- Open BoxCryptor
- Make your connection, and then tap the folder icon in the upper left corner
- In the New Encrypted Folder window (Figure D), give the folder a name and a password
- Uncheck the Save password checkbox (for added security)
- Tap the checkmark in the upper right corner
The password is not optional -- it must be created in order for the new folder to be encrypted.
In order to view the contents of the newly created folder, you'll have to enter the password. You won't have to enter the password, however, if you're viewing your account online (for example, viewing Google Drive from within a desktop web browser).
One strange behavior of BoxCryptor is that there isn't a Back button. Once you're inside a sub-folder, in order to get back to the parent folder, you have to do to the following:
- Tap the menu button
- Tap Preferences
- Tap Change source folder
Once you've done that, you'll be in the parent folder.
BoxCryptor is a great way to help secure your Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, or DropBox content on your tablet. This can help make the transition to BYOD much more secure. Give it a try and see if it doesn't help make your IT department breathe a sigh of relief as BYOD takes over your organization.
Also readTechRepublic and ZDNet delve deeper into this topic in a special report page: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.