How make your Cloud Data public but still keep it private

Being able to share data publicly via a website is very attractive for lots of different reasons, especially when you want to give the widest possible reach to your data, from an internet search perspective.

However, there are times that you wish the data to be visible, but also be able to control who has access to it. We had a good example of this recently from an educational establishment who uses SMEStorage with their own FTP Server to make available course content publicly to remote learning students. They wanted the course data and titles of files to be available and entered into search engines to attract future  students, but they also wanted to be able to control access to the data so that only students who were enrolled on the course could download the content.

One of the features of the SMEStorage cloud Gateway is that it enables you to work with your cloud data but overlays certain features and functions that you may not get from your provider. One of these is encryption. If you upload your data to your storage cloud via SMEStorage then you can choose to add an encryption key which then encrypts the data with an AES encryption cipher (key) that you choose and which only you know. This is the key private key you then need to share with anyone who wants access to the files.

Lets look at the steps of this in practice:

1. Upload your data to your cloud via SMEStorage and choose to encrypt it. The key is not stored on the platform and is known only by you.

2. When the file is stored you will notice that in the Web File Manager it has a key next to it that notifies you it is encrypted.

3. If you now set this file to be public in the File Manager then it is stored in your public files page which is of the format http://www.smestorage.com/username/files.

4. If a user then clicks on the file that you made public but which you also encrypted then they will be asked to enter the encryption key before they can download the file.

This works above all file storage clouds that SMEStorage supports, such as Google Docs, SkyDrive, DropBox, Amazon S3 etc. It is a great way to be able to limit access to files but still make them available.

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