Dropbox is essentially a great service; cloud storage and cross platform sync sum up what makes it so useful. If you aren’t a fan of Dropbox, you might like one of the other and equally popular cloud storage services like SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box etc. Safebox is a free Mac app that compliments Dropbox and other cloud storage services by making sure important files are encrypted before being uploaded to the cloud. It is most conveniently used with Dropbox, as it adds a separate folder in Dropbox, visible on your local drive. All important files are first added to the Safebox folder, which, in turn, syncs with the cloud service, encrypting the files and uploading them. It is worth mentioning that the app only encrypts your data, and does not decrypt them.
When you first launch the app, you will be asked to enter a password, which will serve as the encryption key, and will be saved locally. The second step asks you to choose which service you want to encrypt and upload files to, and to select a location for the Safebox folder on your Mac drive.
Perform the above steps, and you’re done! To encrypt files, add them to the newly created Safebox folder, and the app will encrypt the files before uploading them to the cloud service itself. To pause or force the app to sync, click the app’s icon in the menu bar and chose the relevant option. From the app’s preferences, you can set the app to start at login and automatically check for updates.
Safebox’s concept is truly amazing. It acts as an intermediary between your system and the cloud, like a security point that your files go through. Before you get to downloading, though, there are a few things you should know; the app is in Beta and subject to invite only access. You will need to sign up and wait to hear from the company, although they respond fairly fast. There doesn’t seem to be a way of changing the password or modifying which service the app is uploading, too.
A few areas the developers might want to look in to, are allowing users to change the password, a decryption option, and changing, adding or removing services. If either of these features already exist, they aren’t apparent. Since the app is in its early stages, we can hope for a lot of improvement, and perhaps some sort of interface enhancements as well. It took a while to figure out that files had to be added to the Safebox folder to be decrypted. Removing a file from that folder removes them from Dropbox (or whichever service you chose) as well. You can also expect an equivalent Windows app in the coming month or two.