There still seems to be quite a bit of suspicion out there about cloud storage, especially in relation to its security. There is a common idea that it is not only easy to hack, but also that Google (or whichever other cloud service you use) has complete access to your data along with the NSA. This article will try to address a few of the most common misconceptions about cloud storage and also, sadly, to confirm some of your worst fears. But first, we give you some quick tips on how to stay safe when using cloud storage.
Cloud storage safety tipsRead the terms and conditions of your chosen cloud storage service and make sure you are OK with what it contains.Make sure your uploads and downloads are encrypted, and if at all possible, use a service that keeps your data encrypted in the cloud and that also limits the amount of people that can access it.Pre-encryption tools like Boxcryptor and Spideroak allow you to encrypt your data before it ever reaches your cloud service. This is a great idea for taking your data's safety into your own hands.Don't upload anything that you are not comfortable having accessed by someone else, whether that is an employee of your service provider, advertisers or the government.Password protect your home Wi-Fi and don't upload content on public connections, like at a library or cafe.Don't upload anything to the cloud that is illegal or highly sensitive: naked pictures, medical records and financial information are an obvious no-no if you're at all paranoid (and you should be).Get yourself a rock solid password and don't tell it to anyone.Use multiple cloud services for an added layer of redundancy and backup everything outside of the cloud as well.Anticipate what might happen and plan for it: disabled account, stolen laptop, crashed servers, etc.Don't assume a cloud service will be reliable and you're unlikely to be disappointed if and when it turns out not to be.Of course, try to pick a service with a good security reputation before you start too.
Consider your options carefully when choosing a storage provider. /You need backups for your cloud backupOne of the less discussed issues is that of the permanence of your data. As in, if something happens to your cloud provider what happens to your data? When MegaUpload shut down a while back there was a whole lot of uploaded data that simply vanished into thin air. Most major services do not guarantee the continued availability or integrity of your uploaded content, so you need to consider what your expectations for your data are before you commit it to the cloud. You'll want to make sure you fully understand whether you can get your data back if your account is deactivated or the service shuts down too. And if there's a problem on their side and your data is corrupted, what then?
Know what happens if you lose accessYou'll also want to make sure you understand exactly how your account can be deactivated and what happens to your data if it is. Say you have a paid service and you miss a payment: are you simply locked out until you pay your fees or is your data lost? How long is your data saved until it becomes inaccessible?
Nobody likes to read the fine print, but if you're planning on putting important documents or pictures on the cloud, you want to be sure you know what happens to them in the event of something going amiss. And it goes without saying that you want to use the cloud as part of a backup strategy with multiple storage points, this is called redundancy. Do not upload to the cloud alone and expect your data to be secure. You'll also want to arm yourself with information about the laws governing the country or countries