Sharing folders stored in a vault

I have a vault out on a cloud site and have a few folders inside it I wish to share with family members. If they do not have CRY installed (and likely won’t - they aren’t technical folks) is there any way to accomplish this?

No. To decrypt content of a vault you have to use Cryptomator.

Michael - Correct me if wrong, but files stored in a vault are technically not local - they only exist in encrypted form in the cloud and are only temporarily available locally once a vault is decrypted. The encrypted files aren’t really on your machine at all, right?

For the desktop apps this is not right. The encrypted files are local. Cryptomator desktop does not do the sync to cloud. This is done by the cloud provider app like google sync or the OneDrive client. So the encrypted files have to be local to be available for these clients.
But you can set up a „online only“ scenario by using cyberduck, which does access the vault online.

What is the advantage to using Cyberduck vs the way Cryptomator works “out of the box” so to speak? I don;t use GooDrive or Onedrive I use if that matters.

So, if I’m relying on what I do now, and there’s a fire, my encrypted vault is gone too. I can’t recover my files by simple setting up a new desktop with the CR app and pointing to my folder? It’s not local+cloud, just local? As it stands today, I have an external drive that backs up my vault. If I store only in the cloud then no backup, right?

To avoid that you should configure the client to include the encrypted vault files with your online storage. That is what Cryptomator was build for.

You are in charge for the sync to your online storage. Not Cryptomator. If you sync your encrypted files with and your house burns down, just buy a ne pc, install Cryptomator, install the client or download your encrypted vault files in any other way from, add your downloaded/synced vault to Cryptomator app, and you are done.

Well, if you have your vault files only online and no where else, then yes, you don’t have a backup. You should consider a split backup strategy line 1-2-3 backup (just google it). The „online“ part of this backup can be a Cryptomator vault.

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piggy backing here hoping to ask Michael a follow up.

for a team that works all across the US, that uses google drive as primary storage:

would the solution for encrypting a google drive folder and the rest of the team being able to access that folder with the key to view/download its contents be cyberduck + cryptomator ?

You use either cyberduck or cryptomator.
Cyberduck if you want to directly connect to your vault online, or cryptomator if you want to use Google’s sync app to connect to your storage. No need to use both.

I think we’re both asking how to share a vault stored in the cloud with others if it is encrypted with Cryptomator, as in everyone has access to it’s contents, but access is limited to just those people

Sorry, I dont get it where the misunderstanding might be.
The complete “sharing” process has nothing to do with cryptomator. This is all about “who has access to my cloud storage and can see its content, and therefore can see the encrypted cryptomator vault files”.
Everyone who has access to your online storage and thus has access to the encrypted vault, is able to mount that vault into a local cryptomator app, as long as he has also the vault password.
So if you want to share a vault with others, your have to do the following:

  1. grant access to your cloud storage provider
  2. tell the people your vault password
  3. install cryptomator (or use cyberduck) and open the vault

Ok, so this would also mean that if my laptop was stolen (and not recovered) I could get a new computer, install Cryptomator, log into my cloud storage provider, point it to my vault (the masterkey.cryptomator file), and I would once again see and have access to all the encrypted files, same as before? Or would I download the vault first? Not sure how I’d recover the vault under this scenario.

Said another way, I’m trying to understand if having a vault in the cloud also doubles as a backup for my encrypted stuff, much in the same way Onedrive or Dropbox do (except using better encryption).

Well, yes. But to „point“ to your masterfile (means to add your existing vault to a fresh cryptomator installation), you have to make it available to cryptomator. And this is (usually) done with the storage providers app (OneDrive, googledrive, etc). But basically you are absolutely right.
Nevertheless I recommend not to have your only backup of files in a cryptomator vault. Think about a 1–2–3 backup strategy instead, or any other strategie with more than one copy on different locations.