I am currently in the process of installing a backup server for our small office (with just 2 employees). I am overwhelmed by the solution so in this post I am looking for the simplest and free solution.

What I have:

  • Old computer with ubuntu 12.10 on it
  • Windows 8 laptop ( main business device )
  • Windows 7 laptop (backup business device, also for travel)
  • Macbook pro (secondary business device )

What I hope to achieve

  • An updated file across all devices
  • On the linux machine I have two harddrives and I want the files to be mirrored (note this is NOT neccessary.. I really don't need this as a feature if its not feasible)

Essentially I would like to use dropbox/skydrive or other cloud storage service. However the files I am working with are very confidential and so must be encrypted with the highest of security IF uploading to the cloud. On the local machines, they don't need to be encrypted.

Here's a little flowchart of what I would like:

File on laptop1 is created and edited. The file is saved and upon saving the file, it is updated with all the devices across the network. Ie, if I move over to my second device, the macbook pro, I should have an updated copy. If a cloud service is being used for syncing purposes then the file MUST be encrypted. However I do not want to decrypt the file manually every time I want to use it (and the software I am using for my business probably wont be able to either as its proprietary).

Please let me know the easiest solution. For me, it would be installing dropbox on all devices (since dropbox is cross platform) however I am having trouble finding a way to encrypt the files as they sit in the cloud.

  • Please note that I do make manual backups of the files once a week or so
  • Please note that I am aware that if I lose the encryption key, I will lose access to my files
  • Please note that I know the encrypted files are useless as they sit on the cloud.
  • Please note that my files contain personal data such as name/birthdate and SSN/SIN

I've gone ahead with Unison software system which is multiplatform and does everything I ask for: -2 Way syncing, although one is acting as the server -over LAN (using sockets or SSH) -backup (mirror) in the linux server - I set mine to hold the last 10 copies -distributing over the entire network.


SpiderOak proposes a client-side encryption sync solution that prevents them from being able to access to your data. However, be sure not to connect to your files on the web: it asks for the key to be able to decrypt your files and so gain access to them.

SpiderOak has also another strong advantage: it works on Linux, Mac and Windows. As far as I know, other solutions like JungleDisk or Wuala do not work on Linux.

  • Do you have any connection with SpiderOak? We have rules against excessive self promotion. – ChrisF Mar 7 '13 at 9:11
  • @ChrisF I have no connection with SpiderOak, except I used it in the past. I finally ended up with another sync provider offering client-side encryption because of the US location of the SpiderOak servers (I'm in EU). – Thibaud Mar 9 '13 at 20:53

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