Using Storage Made Easy With BoxCryptor On iOS to securely encrypt files on device

BoxCryptor provides a virtual hard disk that encrypts files within a storage account using using 256-bit AES encryption. BoxCryptor encrypts individual files, not an entire volume or container.

BoxCryptor encrypts and decrypts files locally, and it doesn’t transmit passwords to third parties. As a result files remain unreadable to outsiders even if hackers manage to steal passwords as they need to also break the file encryption.

How is this different to SME provided encryption? SME provides streamed encryption which occurs over the https protocol. Users choose a private key to encrypt files on upload to their underlying cloud and SME does not store this key on the SME platform.

Like BoxCryptor Storage Made Easy also uses AES-256 encryption. We use the Rijndael cipher, with Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) where the block size is 16 bytes..

Storage Made Easy also provides a file decryption tool that is available for Mac, Windows and Linux for local decryption of files downloaded direct from a Storage provider rather than via SME tool or client.

BoxCryptor recently updated their iOS App and although the App supports several storage clouds, as SME supports 35+ storage clouds and provides access into them using WebDav, BoxCryptor can be used in conjunction with SME to create and access encrypted folders with files  on any cloud SME supports.

The pictorial walkthrough below shows how to achieve this.

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BoxCryptor also supports Mac and Windows and can be used with SME Webdav or the Cloud Drive Apps. There is also a BoxCryptor Android App which can also similarly used with SME WebDav.

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Manage and Sync with all your Cloud Services using Storage Made Easy’s iOS App

We’ve updated the Storage Made Easy iPad / iPhone App. As with all Storage Made Easy mobile clients, the App unifies public cloud services such as Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon S3 as well as private cloud services such as OpenStack, FTP(s), WebDav, Zimbra etc.

The App also features our innovative CloudDav feature. CloudDav enables WebDav across any Cloud that is mapped to the App. This then enables users to edit documents using any of their storage services with Doc editing Apps such as iWork, even if the native Cloud does not actually support WebDav.

This update includes a number of refinements and changing such as slight tweak to support the iPhone 5 screen resolution, and the release also extends the Business WorkSpaces feature. This feature lets users create Business WorkSpaces directly from the App and enables members of the group to share files securely with each other.

Cross Cloud Search is also a feature of the App. This means, for example, that if you need to search for files related to a a certain project keyword you can simply type the search terms and all the cloud data sources that you have mapped to the App will be searched and the aggregated results returned.

For the SME business SaaS and on-premise Appliance customers the integration of the SaaS and hybrid Appliance with on-premise Active Directory servers enables single sign-on as users can authenticate with their Active Directory username and passwords.

Some review comments taken from the App store reviews can be seen below:

“This app is a must have if you want to easily manage and have functionality between up to 3 cloud apps. SME is e a very advanced app. So far I’ve been able to download zip files from my email, un-zip (or in SME terminology unarchive) and send to any of my cloud accounts. I can transfer files between clouds from the app either by cloud copy or cloud cut, the later of which will move the file. There’s definitely a learning curve for the advanced features, but the ones I described are easy learn. SME has bar non the best tech support I’ve ever dealt with. On three occasions I needed help to learn the functions, and within 30 minutes tech support had my problem resolved. P.S. not being tech savvy the 3 problems were on my end. By far this is one of the best apps I’ve purchased. The functionality it provides the Pages App alone makes SME worth every penny.”

“Needed a WebDav solution for iWork apps in order to move files to and from the iPad. Dropbox does not support WebDav, iWork does not support Dropbox. iSMEStorage fills the void, providing WebDav services to Dropbox and many other cloud storage providers. Getting WebDav enabled via SME’s CloudDav was not as easy as it could have been, but SME Support was fantastic, getting me up and running on the weekend. All I can say is well done! Now I can move files on & off the iPad seamlessly. Very nice! Well worth the one time charge for the app.”

“First App I’ve used that lets me sync a few different folders on different clouds in one go, and editing files from clouds that iWork does not support is pretty cool however they manage to do it !”

“This is a great supplement for creating your own personal cloud service. Great!”

iSMEStorage from Storage Made Easy is available in the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone users.

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Rich Client enabling HP Object Cloud Storage

SMEStorage Cloud File Server now supports HP Object Storage which is in public beta. You can sign up for HP Object Storage from HP Cloud Services here.

To add HP Object Storage to your account after sign up please take the following steps:

Navigate to your DashBoard and choose to add a new Cloud Provider and choose the HP Cloud:

Next follow the wizard to enter the correct information:

When you are authenticated, if there are existing buckets then you can choose to index them to make them available via the SME Cloud File Server and/or you can create a new bucket name:

Next your can choose to sync or index your data. All this does is find out information about your data such as filename, date, size etc.

Once done your data is available to work with through the web rich client as well as other mobile and desktop tools:

In a future blog article we will look at how you can use HP Cloud Storage to implement a full fledged multi-tenant Cloud File Server in which you can assign user permissions and governance controls to data.

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Encrypting Cloud Files on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and iPad / iPhone

One of the issues that becomes apparent with more users choosing to work from mobile phones and tablets is the issue of security. Sometimes these devices can end up in the wrong hands and when that happens it is reasonable to take precautions about how can open and gain access to files you have stored in the Cloud.

The secondary security concern can be with Cloud the Providers themselves. Users often want to protect certain  files on the actual Cloud where they reside, and to that end they can want to use encryption independent of the Cloud Provider.

This particular use case can be solved by using the Cloud encryption service that SMEStorage provides. This features is provided to free, personal, and Cloud File Server users.

Encryption works when users upload files from SMEStorage web or desktop access Client, to any of the 35 Cloud Storage and Saas Providers that SMEStorage supports. Users connect over SSL and assign files a key phrase to file that are uploaded. This key phrase is not stored anywhere on the SME service, and files are encrypted as they stream through the SME service to the remote Cloud Provider.

When web, windows / Mac / Linux, or iOS, Android, WP7 or BlackBerry mobile clients are used to try and access an encrypted file then a password prompt will be presented and the file will be unable to be accessed until this key phrase is entered. If the files is share using a file share link then anyone who then tries to open the file will also be required to enter the key phrase before accessing the file.


SMEStorage uses AES-256 encryption using the Rijndael cipher, with Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) where the block size is 16 bytes. The cipher Rijndael consists of:

– an initial Round Key addition
– Nr-1Rounds
– a final round.

The chaining variable goes into the “input” and the message block goes into the “Cipher Key. The likelihood of recovering a file that has been encrypted using our encryption is fairly remote. The most efficient key-recovery attack for Rijndael is exhaustive key search. The expected effort of exhaustive key search depends on the length of the Cipher Key and for a 16-byte key, 2 to the power of 127 applications of Rijndael.

Any AES-256 decryption tool that supports the Rijndael cipher with 16 byte blocksizes can be used to un-encrypt files. For example the popular freeware file manager Total Commander has a free plugin to handle such decryption.

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Integrating iAnnotate with Google Drive, Amazon S3, OpenStack, and other Cloud Storage solutions

The latest version of iAnnotate PDF, the iPad App that enables editing of PDF Documents, adds support for WebDav which means that you can use the SME ClouDav Protocol Adaptor, free with the iOS SME iOS App, to connect iAnnotate to many Clouds that it does not natively support. SMES supports integration with more Storage and SaaS Clouds than any other service.

The steps to enable access to the Clouds mapped to your SME Account are simple:

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CloudDav is enabled with all Business Cloud File Server Accounts and also available in the on-premise enterprise version of the Storage Made Easy EFSS solution.

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Cloud federation and governance will dominate in 2012

It’s seasonally topical to write a blog post that will draw a close to the old year with some predictions for the New Year, so read on for a post that fits with that trend…

2011 has been an eventful year for SMEStorage. On the business side we have always been a privately owned self funded company. We have never been VC backed and we’re profitable and have needed to be to be self sufficient. To enable us to expand the founders took a decision to raise some money to enable the company to continue to grow and expand the company. To this end Vehera, the owning entity of SMEStorage sold a small amount of equity enabling Vehera to raise a million dollars to fund the companies push for 2012. This will give the ability to add some more staff to enable us to grow the opportunity we see for our technology with ISP’s and the Enterprise.

On the Technology front we continued building out our support for Cloud’s resulting in SMEStorage now supporting over 35 Storage and SaaS Clouds. We also released a native Windows Phone Client,and also the first versions of Mac and Linux Cloud Tools and we enhanced our native browser plug in’s with support for Google Chrome and Safari. We also enhanced our iOS App for iPhone and iPad many times over the course of the year as well as releasing a native Android client for Phones and tablets. In addition to all of this we also improved our core offering with a myriad of new features which included adding protocol adaptors that exposed Clouds mapped to SMEStorage over WebDav, FTP or the Amazon S3 API, even if the underlying Cloud does not natively support these protocols.

So what for 2012, well, firstly we’ll continue to add more services that can be federated and managed. Shortly we’ll be announcing support for SugarSync, and the UbuntuOne Cloud. We’ll also be adding services less traditionally associated with file stores. The first of these will be BaseCamp, which will be followed by some CRM SaaS services and we have in mind another project / collaboration SaaS tool.

We’ll also be adding even more Cloud governance and e-compliance features. If your interested on our take on Cloud Sprawl and governance please see our prior blog post on this subject.

We intend to push out our revised Cloud Appliance in early 2012. This will give any customer the ability to have a hybrid Cloud governance application that deals with Cloud and local data and service federation that they fully control and own. Customers will be able to host this in their own data centre as it will be available as a VMWare, XEN or KVM appliance. As an alternative we intend to enable easy access to an Amazon EC2 based instance. We also intend to make it easy for resellers to get their ands on it and offer it as a value add to their own business.

It’s our firm belief that with the greater adoption of Cloud, and the increasing array of Cloud Services that 2012 will be the year of Cloud Federation and governance as companies struggle to manage and control the Cloud services deployed in their organisation. We believe that with our advanced service features, comprehensive access clients, and Hybrid on-premise Cloud Appliance that we are well placed to help companies who struggle with these issues.

For general predictions, we’ll make just one, and that is that the “free lunch” is coming to an end. In a volatile economy services that offer “free” may look appealing, but all businesses need to make money to survive and free eventually needs to become paid, and companies need a solid business model to survive. Hoping to capitalise at some point on a large user base of free users is not a business plan. There is room for some element of freemium, we use it ourselves, but our belief is that it has to be underpinned by a solid business plan. If you’d like to read more about this, see this post which goes into a little more depth.

All that remains to be said is to wish you all a “Happy New Year” and we hope all your hopes and dreams are realised in the forthcoming year.

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Cloud Computing Use Case: Sharing PDF’s stored on SkyDrive with an “on the road” team using Galaxy Tab and iPad’s

Given the propensity for so many different use cases that using the Cloud with Files can come up with  we thought we’d start sharing some of the day-to-day use cases we deal with here on our blog.

This one is an inbound request in which a business has a series of PDF’s stored in a folder hierarchy on SkyDrive that they need to share with a distributed team that uses a combination of Galaxy Tab and iPad’s. The files need to be synchronised for offline use and the files can be updated each evening so the remote people need to be able to resync the files locally to get the latest versions for offline use.

Firstly lets address SlyDrive. In this event all the business needs to is to start using our Cloud File Server and add the SkyDrive Cloud to their account from the Cloud DashBoard.  This starts a wizard in which the user is stepped through adding the SkyDrive Cloud.

 

 

 

Once this is done the Business Admin of the Cloud File Server needs to convert the  folder containing the PDF’s into a shared Organization Folder. This means that any users that are added to the Cloud File Server will be able to see this folder.

The Business Cloud Admin can now choose to set the types of permissions that they wish to set on the folder (read only, etc).

 

 

 

 

Once this is done The Cloud Admin can add the users:

 

 

 

 

Now this is setup lets move to the tablet side. We’ll take the iPad first:

IPAD:

Each of the users that the Cloud File Server Admin added to the Cloud File Server can access their account using the iSMEStorage iPad App. once logged in they will be able to view files on the Cloud in a unique Cloud Files view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However as per the business requirements we need to be able to sync the folder that was shared containing PDF’s down to the device. To do this the user needs to visit that particular folder in the Cloud File Manager and nominate the folder for local sync.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once this is done the user can go to ‘My Syncs’ from the menu and action a sync which will download all the PDF’s locally. In future as the documents are updated overnight he just needs to visit My Syncs again and choose to resync which will download the newest files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Tab:

As with the iPad the user needs to visit the PDF directory from the Cloud Files view and nominate the PDF folder for Sync in the SMEStorage Android App.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once this is done the user can return to My syncs, click on the directory and choose to sync. This will download the relevant PDF’s to the iPad. Again a sync can be done each day to update the latest files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As there is less restriction on Android devices users can set the App to do a scheduled sync daily. Unfortunately this is not currently possible on the iPad.

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