Tuesday Tip: Travel with your data … securely

When syncing DEVONthink on macOS, you have the option of using a local sync location, called a local sync store. Technically it’s a folder on a volume that keeps databases in syncable form. Since it’s writing directly to a local disk, it’s by far the fastest and most transparent sync option.

You can even create a sync store on an external drive and shuttle it between machines. This also keeps your data in your hands and not on anyone else’s servers. But what if you have private data you’re syncing and worry if someone had your portable media? Two options can be easily used to ease your mind:

  1. DEVONthink’s sync gives you the option of specifying an encryption key, using AES-256 encryption. This means the sync data will be stored in an encrypted state, so trying to get usable information from the sync data would be already very difficult.
  2. Using FileVault 2 you can not only encrypt your local drive but also any portable external drive. In the Finder, right-click a mounted external volume and choose the option to Encrypt. Bear in mind that encrypting the volume (or removing encryption) will require formatting it. So pay attention to the warnings. After the volume is encrypted, every time you plug it in you will be prompted to enter a password before you can use it.

These two options, especially used together, create a very solid and secure way to travel with your data.

Note: As iOS devices don’t support connecting external drives, local sync stores can’t be used with DEVONthink To Go.