There is a jabbing distaste for cloud storage services in the infosec community which is summed up by the quip: “the cloud is just someone else's computer”. By using cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. you’re entrusting the privacy and security of your data to another company. Historically, cloud services providers have had a bit of trouble keeping hackers out of their client’s data. Not to mention, they will give up your data to the feds and you’ll never know.
Cloud services are extremely useful, but when it comes to personal storage of your private notes, documents and photos; having direct control over that storage is a much better for your data’s safety. Syncthing makes syncing your important files and programs together easy, without having to use cloud storage.
Syncthing is the FOSS that gives all the convenience of cloud storage services while keeping all your data synced on your own computers, putting you in control of your own data. I’ll share with you how I use Syncthing so you may apply it to your own life, to sync the programs you use!
Any programs or files that you would normally need a cloud service to sync together between devices(like a password manager, note taker, work documents) you can easily transition to using Syncthing instead. This is done by having the program sync or backup to a local file. Then sync that file to other computers with Syncthing Folders. I’ll show you exactly how to do this:
Here’s exactly how I use Syncthing:
You control Syncthing though a clean web GUI.
The “Folders” side on the left denotes all the folders that are being synced, which I split up by what program they are used for.
Except for Default Folder, which holds general work documents that need to be synced across all computers.
Joplin, KeePassXC and Calibre are all programs that I use on a daily basis and need Syncthing to keep the files consistent across all computers.
I’m syncing some books from one computer to another. It tells me the folder it’s syncing to, how many items still need to be synced, which computers are also being synced with this folder and the last file that was synced, among other things.
As for the rest of the folders, everything is “Up to Date”, so all the files are the same across devices.
The right hand side shows information about all the devices that are synced together. On top gives information about the device you’re viewing from the web GUI. In this case, I’m on the Desktop computer.
How to sync a folder between two computers?
Lets say you want to sync a todo list between Desktop and Libre. First you click “Add Folder”:
Then you rename the folder “todo”, note the folder path, then click “Save”.
Then click on the ‘todo’ Folder, click “edit”, and click which device you want to share the folder with. Choose the Libre computer.
Add a blank todo.txt list to the todo folder to be synced to the Libre computer.
Over on the Libre computer, a popup notifies you that Desktop wants to share the todo folder. Click on “Add”, then “Save” to start syncing.
It took less than 5 seconds to sync this very small file. Navigate to the todo folder and view your file to verify it all works!
You can repeat this same process with any files or programs you want to sync between computers. Ditch your cloud storage service and take your data into your own hands!