Back up your Android data.

I was browsing through the Google Play store in search of a utility that’s able to back up the data on my phone as I prepared to purchase a new phone as part of my move to a different mobile carrier. I was hoping to find something that would back up all my apps so I wouldn’t have to re-install them all on the new phone.

SyncDroid is one backup program I found, and although it doesn’t back up my apps, it does back up all my other data, including contacts, saved text messages and photos to my PC for easy transfer to the new phone.

The neat thing about SyncDroid is that it comes as both an Android app and a Windows program you can install on your PC. The two programs work together to transfer your phone data over your wireless network to a local folder on your PC.

But the neatness doesn’t stop there. The Android version of SyncDroid is also capable of backing up your data directly to your Dropbox, which is another reason why I find Dropbox so handy. Either way, you’ll never lose your phone data again.

A question regarding the cloud.

Now that cloud backup services have become the norm of Internet life, I can’t help wonder if there are people who use more than one such service for their backup needs. I myself use three, yes, three cloud backup services for my backups. Each one serves my needs in their own unique way.

1. OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) – As part of the training for Microsoft tech support job I once had, I had to sign up for an account on SkyDrive for uploading the study materials. It was the very first cloud backup service I used and still use it for my backups.

2. Box – I use this to store the work-related files for my current job as tech support for AT&T. Its integrated file viewer is a real plus.

3. Dropbox – Although I use it for backing up my files, I mainly use it for storing photos I take with my phone’s camera. After taking my pictures, I run the app and it uploads the pictures to my Dropbox account where I can later download them to my desktop computer. Way more fun than transferring the pictures via USB.

I wonder if there are any other cloud fanatics out there who use more than one online backup service.

Data encryption for the cloud.

Lately I’ve been using SkyDrive and DropBox to keep backups of my files. Before trusting them with my data I reviewed their security policies and was assured that they use strong encryption and security measures in place to protect the data. I thought that was sufficient enough to begin using them as my backup.

Recently it’s dawned on me there’s still that risk of some hacker finding some way to break in even the most secure of servers and helping himself to the treasure trove of data stored within. To counter that risk I decided to see if there’s a way to make my data even more secure in the cloud.

BoxCryptor is one solution I found and it works really well. It seamlessly integrates with DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Drive or your preferred cloud-based file storage service.

When installed, BoxCryptor creates its own folder in your storage service’s local folderĀ  and then sets up a drive letter of your choosing to map to that folder. Anything you copy to the Boxcryptor folder will be encrypted on the fly and synchronized to the cloud-based file storage service of your choice.

I use BoxCryptor on both SkyDrive and DropBox and can easily switch it from one account to the other. I like the extra layer of data security it provides.

I’ve given thought to protecting my data even further by using TrueCrypt to create encrypted file containers for my data and uploading them through BoxCryptor. While that adds even more security, the minor downside to this is typing in my password to open these file containers but it just might work to keep my data even more secure in the cloud.

I know, it’s starting to sound like I’m up to something no good by hiding my data like this. The only thing I’m really up to is giving those hackers such nasty headaches they’ll need aspirin-flavored milkshakes.

UPDATE: Just after posting this I did decide to use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted file container for my files. The file container is 46MB in size and is taking a long time to upload to the cloud. Alas, that could be another downside to this whole thing.