Index external drive containing sensitive data

I store a large amount of sensitive patient data on an offline external disk that is only attached as required. I do this to mitigate risk of unauthorised access due to attack vectors that gives the attacker access to all files and folders my user account has access to.

I’d like to be able to index all the metadata relating to these files so I can perform searches and if required to read the file then I attach the external drive. I don’t want any of the content of the files indexed on my Mac’s internal drive, just the file metadata. Therefor if an attacker gained access to my Mac and the DT database they could only get access to all the file metadata but not any of the content.

I attempted to index files on an external disk but DT indexed the full contents and also thumbnails of the pdf’s etc. Can DT do what I need?

Thumbnails can be controlled in Preferences > Media > Thumbnails. As DEVONthink indexes always the contents and metadata, one possibility might be to use an encrypted database instead. Or to store the database on the external drive too.

A bit late in the discussion. Are you saying that if I index an external drive that contains a 100gb then the indexed database will also be close to 100gb in size??

A lot less disk space should be required usually but that depends on the kind of the files and their contents too.

Size in gigabytes isn’t the critical number. If you check out File > Database Properties > … for a given database, the number of words / unique words are more critical. So text content in a database is far more important.

  • If you have a database of images, it will have very few words but be large in gigabytes.
  • If you have a database of emails, it will have many words, but may be smaller in gigabytes.

The second one may perform more poorly deu to the number of words.

Thanks, guess I ended up with two threads but now I finally “get it”.

I’m setting up my new solo law practice and am inte midst of structuring the way I deal with documents by using amongst other things DT.

also take great care to eject the external disk before disconnecting. Macs are picky about that to avoid corruption. also ensure you have a robust (and tested) backup regime of that external disk. it is inevitable that it will corrupt. when is anyone’s guess but likely to be exactly when not wanted.

Haha! I just did that last night. :roll_eyes: :stuck_out_tongue:
Disconnected a peripheral, forgetting I had an external drive attached. Fortunately it wasn’t a drive of any consequence and filesystems are more robust than they used to be, but yeah, a proper ejection before disconnecting is still a good idea.

Congratulations on putting out your shingle! :heart: :slight_smile:
We’re glad to be a part of your new endeavor.

There are other litigators on these fora and threads talking about the possibility of someone setting up something for all the “lawyer talk” :wink:

Also, this may be of use to you…