Security in The Cloud
Over the lifespan of the internet data security has become one of the most important subject when talking about personal and classified information. We tend to trust our service providers to keep out data safe and sound while not putting enough effort ourselves to ensure that there are no backdoors to our files. It actually doesn’t take much to ensure your data is safe and you’ve done everything from your end to keep it that way.
#1 Backup data locally
If there is one piece of advice the tech-savvy have been espousing for years and years, it is this – back up your data. A power surge, faulty hard drive platter, robbery or other unexpected system failure could happen, and will happen when you least expect it, and if your data is not backed up you will beat yourself up over it for weeks.
Here is the smartest way to back up your data: do not rely on one service. Store files you access frequently in the Cloud. Keep a local backup on a secondary hard drive or USB. With your data securely backed up and your passwords uncrackable, there is only one thing left to be concerned about – your browsing habits.
#2 Avoid storing sensitive information in the Cloud
Many recommendations across the Internet sound like this:
“Do not keep your information on the Cloud.”
Fair enough, but it is the same as if you ask someone:
“How not to get my house burned down?”
…and the answer would be:
“Do not have a house.”
The logic is solid, but a better way to translate such advice is – avoid storing sensitive information on the Cloud. So if you have a choice you should opt for keeping your crucial information away from the virtual world or use appropriate solutions.
#3 Use Cloud services that encrypt your data
There are some Cloud services that provide local encryption and decryption of your files in addition to storage and backup. It means that the service takes care of both encrypting your files on your own computer and storing them safely in the Cloud. Therefore, there is a bigger chance that this time no one – including service providers or server administrators – will have access to your files (the so-called “zero-knowledge” privacy).
#4 Encrypt data yourself
If you choose not to use a Cloud service that will help you encrypt the data, you can use a third-party tool to perform the encryption. All you got to do is download a Cloud protection app which will allow you to apply passwords and generate secret key sequences to your files before you actually upload them to the Cloud.
Even if you are already opting for an encrypted Cloud service, it would not hurt to go through a preliminary round of encryption for your files to get a little extra assurance.
#5 Carefully inspect Terms of Service to find out how your Cloud service storage works
If you are not sure what Cloud storage to choose or if you have any questions as for how that or another Cloud service works you can read the user agreement of the service you are planning to sign up for.
There is no doubt it is hard and boring but you really need to face those text volumes. The document which traditionally suffers from insufficient attention may contain essential information you are looking for.
#6 Look for two-step authentication
When choosing the best way of protecting your information keep in mind how valuable that information is to you and to what extent it is reasonable to protect it. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to define the level of privacy you need and thus a level of protection for it.
If you do not actively use the Internet to work, even a two-step verification involving SMS with a code sent to your mobile phone may seem cumbersome, though most people who use email for sending business data appreciate this option.
#7 Be wary of your online behavior
Sometimes, the security of your Cloud data depends on what you do online, especially on public computers or connections. When using a public computer, do you opt to not save your password, and ensure that you logged out of your account after you are done? Saving your password and leaving it logged in exposes you to the risk of strangers accessing your data.
Do you tend to connect open and unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in public places to log in to your Cloud account? Such connections are typically unencrypted, which means that whatever you do while connected can be “sniffed” by a hacker on the same network. This may include sensitive information about you such as passwords, logins, conversations, or other private data.
#8 Protect your system with anti-virus & anti-spy software
You may be using a secure Cloud service provider which you absolutely trust, but sometimes the weakest link happens to be the computer system you are logging in from. Without proper protection for your system, you expose yourself to bugs and viruses that provide penetration points for hackers to access your account.
Take for instance the presence of a keylogger Trojan virus which attempts to track all your keystrokes. By embedding this malicious software to seemingly legitimate files, hackers will be able to get hold of your user ID and password if your system is not protected enough to detect it. After that, it is a piece of cake for the hacker to do whatever he wants with your account.
As you can see, keeping your data safe is not at all that difficult. Just understanding how important it is, being smart about it and investing a little bit of time can really be helpful in the long run for yourself and can save you from many stressful situations.