This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Eltima. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
A few years ago it seemed like “the cloud” was the solution to all our technological and business problems. Now that honor has moved on to “the blockchain,” but the cloud remains, and likely will forever.
Most people use cloud storage as part of their backup or storage regime, accessing the files through apps and first-party clients. If you use multiple cloud storage accounts (maybe to get the free storage on all of them?), you’ll quickly get overwhelmed by the number of clients, apps, and accounts. CloudMounter solves this problem with old reliable macOS Finder.
Working with Cloud Drives in CloudMounter
CloudMounter mounts your cloud storage accounts as drives in macOS. Finder and all other apps can access the remote files just like normal files. CloudMounter handles the file management and sync and prevents unused files from clogging up your hard drive. Once your session is over, files are deleted, and your disk space is reclaimed.
CloudMounter supports the top consumer cloud services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Backblaze’s B2 storage. Developers get support for AWS, WebDAV, FTP/SFTP, and OpenStack for connecting to unaffiliated and roll-your-own servers. It’s a great tool for working with servers, since you get a system-addressable path for your content, whether or not it’s been cached locally.
CloudMounter is also far more reliable than the macOS Finder’s network connection utilities. Connecting to a remote disk in Finder has always been hit-or-miss. About seventy percent of the time it will work fine. The other thirty percent, you can expect drives to disappear, mount slowly, mount as read-only, or any number of others issues. CloudMounter does an end run around this by implementing their own connection logic and architecture.
Mounting Cloud Drives in macOS Finder
The system is responsive and user-friendly. In testing we were able to add multiple accounts and map multiple disks without a problem. Adding new services is as simple as entering your username and password, then okaying permissions for CloudMounter. Don’t be alarmed by the sweeping permissions requests. Without these permissions, CloudMounter wouldn’t be able to edit or change the files on your cloud drives.
Because files are accessed through system storage, you can see all the files in Finder. Better still, you can see those same files in any Finder alternative you might use, like PathFinder or Commander One. These files can also be addressed through Terminal or any other means to getting at files.
You won’t find the disks in “/Volumes,” however. They’re in “~/.CMVolumes/,” which is the default directory CloudMounter uses to address your mounted drives. If you don’t like it there, you can move the location of the .CMVolumes file in CloudMounter’s preferences. CloudMounter needs read/write access to the location, without authentication, so placement is limited. For example, root is out, which was slightly disappointing.
With CloudMounter, files are not stored on your local hard disk until you open them or download them. Any active files are downloaded to speed up opening and editing. Once the cloud volume is unmounted, CloudMounter will send a final sync update to the server before deleting the temporarily-stored files from your local disk. You’ll get access to the files within Finder without storing them on your local hard drive.
This can free up significant space by removing individual sync clients and their static local disk storage. Get the files you want now without worrying about files you don’t need. It’s a major space-saver for laptops with relatively small SSDs as their only storage medium.
Folders can be encrypted individually, protecting the contents of your cloud storage. When encrypted, the files will appear to be gibberish to anyone without the password to decrypt the file. However, when you have the cloud storage open in Finder, you only need to decrypt a folder once, saving you time and effort.
A remote eavesdropper will always see the encrypted files, but CloudMounter helps the user by showing their data in its unencrypted form on the hard drive. If you don’t like that, encrypted folders can be “locked,” which will obscure the filenames and contents to even the logged-in user. You’ll see some gibberish filenames, and if you were to examine the files with a hex editor, you would see nothing sensible.
Encrypting your cloud storage creates an extra layer of protection. While cloud data is typically encrypted by the storage provider, an extra layer of protection means that even the storage company can’t see the files you’ve uploaded. Furthermore, in the event of a security failure, your data stays safe. CloudMounter uses the AES-256 algorithm, a widely-used and highly-reliable choice.
Take, for example, Dropbox’s recent hack, which exposed gigabytes upon gigabytes of user data to hackers. A quick search of that data could easily pull up loads of financial and identity documents. If your files are encrypted by you, even stolen files will be protected from prying eyes. In addition to the extra security layer, encrypting your own files can help meet a regulatory burden or satisfy customer requests for data protection.
Fit and Finish
As with Eltima’s other Mac apps like Commander One, there’s an obvious polish to the entire app. Cloud sync is not easy, as Apple has learned, much to its dismay, but no bugs were encountered, and no unexpected syncing behavior was experienced with CloudMounter. It did what we expected it would do without trouble. The menu bar icon links to the most important features of the app, and Dropbox-style Finder icons display file status with clearly differentiated icons and colors.
While we’ve focused on the Mac version of CloudMounter in this review, there is also a Windows version of the app. It’s slightly less capable, supporting only five account types: Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and Wasabi. Other than the more limited account options, the Windows version works exactly the same way as the Mac version. And just like in the Mac app, we encountered no problems with the app while running on Windows 10.
CloudMounter is a highly useful utility for everyone, but it’s especially valuable if you work on numerous cloud-based files as part of your job. CloudMounter saves you the trouble of downloading, installing, and managing sync clients for each individual sync service. Instead, all your services are connected under one roof, simplifying app management and possibly even shortening system startup time.
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