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Start-up nCrypted Cloud gives Dropbox its most-needed feature: Security

Millions trust their precious pictures, documents, and other data to the delightfully simple and relatively reliable Dropbox, but security has not been the company’s priority. Now, a Boston start-up wants to fill that void, keeping data safe from prying eyes by hardening the security through an intuitive encryption interface.

nCrypted Cloud, which just released its consumer-version iPhone app in addition to its existing web, Windows, and Mac versions, is brilliant in its simplicity: The program generally looks and acts exactly like your existing Dropbox account (see above).

The difference is that, with a right click, you can “lock” (encrypt) any of those files, with varying degrees of access control. So at your protected home desktop, you could make it so that the encrypted files open automatically when selected, while on your laptop you can force users to input a password every time they want to take a peak at a file — giving you a little more piece of mind when sneaking away for a second to grab a Starbucks refill.

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I’m generally a security nut: At my own start-up, I enforce strong passwords regularly rotated, I use GMail’s two-factor authentication, and a typical password for a throwaway account might look something like -ð¥ß}ÖTÉ7svr!§®H.

But I’m weak when it comes to the convenience of great web services (I use GMail, after all), and I haven’t been able to help dropping files I know I shouldn’t in Dropbox, just to know that:

— I can access it anywhere.

— It’s backed up where I need it and in the cloud.

— I can easily grab an old version if I do something stupid.

And it integrates well for current Dropbox users: After installing, you can make the nCrypted Cloud view show up as the default way to access you Dropbox folder. Try and open those files without nCrypted Cloud running, though, and you’re bumped out to a ZIP file that includes a text file explaining why you can’t open the file normally.

Want to share just one file? nCrypted Cloud makes that easy, too, with one-time-use links you can use to share some (limited) access.

With nCrypted Cloud, I can feel a little bit better about my guilty pleasures, keeping the convenience of Dropbox while not having to trust them with my most sensitive data. That’s a trend I hope catches on in the cloud services space.

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