Cloud storage is becoming a standard option for more and more people wishing to store their data conveniently and securely, but are we taking that security for granted? If you make the decision to store your files using a cloud service, you need to bear in mind that all this means is that they are being stored on servers controlled by your service provider. Some cloud service providers may also be using another organization’s cloud services, so you should check the security and availability of a cloud service before deciding whether it is right for you. This article will take a look at just some of the way you can protect your cloud storage data from possible threats.
1. Think about who can access your files
Cloud storage services usually allow for three types of privacy settings, allowing you control over who views your files. These settings are:
Private – The files are only accessible to you (although the cloud storage provider may still have access to them, depending on the service).
Public – The files are visible to everyone, no restrictions.
Shared – People can only view your files when they are invited to do so.
These three settings can be applied to specific files within a folder, or the entire contents of a folder.
2. Think carefully about your passwords
Just like other online services, access is controlled with a set username and password. Try to use a strong and unique password for every online service you use, especially if you’re using the cloud to store important information and files. It is a common mistake to use the same username and password across a number of different sites, which leaves you vulnerable to hackers. After all, if one website is hacked, attackers could use the same credentials to access your other online accounts.
3. Check the terms
A decent cloud storage provider will outline clear terms and information about how their services are used, how your personal information is secured, and what they will do with it, if anything. If this information is missing, or the terms seem vague and suspicious, it’s a good idea to shop around and find a service that you are happy with before you sign up.
4. What kind of encryption is offered by the cloud storage provider?
Some storage providers safely store data in an encrypted form. When you log in with your credentials, they can decrypt your files, allowing you access. This is good for when you want to invite other people to log in and look at your files.
You can also use your web browser to encrypt information so that it cannot be read or modified when it is being sent between the cloud storage provider and your computer.
5. Can you encrypt the files yourself?
The safest way to use a cloud service to store your files is to encrypt them yourself. By holding the key yourself, no-one else will be able to decrypt your information, but it will make sharing your files a lot tougher. There are various software options available to help you manage your file encryption.