Iím writing to the list on a somewhat personal note. But I think any responses to my question might also shed insights on future workflows in my workaday world.
I have a personal use case wherein I would like to store some encrypted directories of data (at rest) on external hard drives. The idea being to keep a full copy of some of my own personal data at an offsite location in a secure format.
I didnít have the intermediate storage resources to image the full backups that the target directories reside on - and there was too much other file system overhead that was extraneous in any event. So, my initial approach has been to make use of GPGTools and a pair of RSA keys to encrypt tarballs of each of the desired directories. Iíve successfully serialized, encrypted and passphrase decrypted the directories. Iím using BagIt to validate on both sides and all is well there. Everything appears to be working just fine for me. Larger directories do take some time naturally Ė RSA is a less efficient algorithm as I understand it. That aside, I feel reasonably confident that I can manage and migrate my keys going forward. Iím also maintaining a duplicate nonĖencrypted backup of all of this data at home as well in any event.
My question is whether there are any limitations to use of RSA and the approach I am taking to encrypting the contents in this serialized form? Would anybody go about this in a different manner? Perhaps with different tools? Iím out in front of the loss scenario in this case, so I have the time/luxury to make some changes to how I am going about this if I get some good advice.
And then to the degree that the librarians, archivists, or records managers on this list want to weigh-in, are there any emerging best practices or compelling use cases you have encountered for encrypting archives of your institutional data. If so, how did you weigh or mitigate the benefits (privacy/security) against the risks (e.g, mis-placing keys). Iím very interested in what the Records in the Cloud Project is producing: http://www.recordsinthecloud.org/.
Metadata & Digital Curation Librarian
Grand Valley State University Libraries
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