These days, we can count on everything being stored in the could. With the number of people using personal and professional cloud platforms for storage increasing every year, it’s no surprise that the cloud has become the top choice for internet storage.
Departing from local hosts comes with its own set of challenges. While data is permanently stored through cloud technology, this also opens it up to attacks. Personal data and business data is at risk now more than ever, and it’s up to you to make sure your information is secure. You need to be proactive about keeping your data and sensitive information safe when using cloud storage. Here are 5 tips to tackle this problem of cloud privacy today.
1. Don’t Store Private Information
If possible, avoid storing private information in the cloud. While it is generally safe, the worst thing that could happen is your information is lost to the World Wide Web. This becomes an even bigger concern if you’re storing business information over the web. Every day we hear of new data breaches with big-name companies around the world. Privacy is a real concern, and it should be your top priority.
While it’s impossible to keep all sensitive information from cloud storage, look for ways to encrypt this data for an added layer of protection. When you save information on your PC or MAC locally, it lives on your hard drive. This is only accessible from your computer, and unless your computer is compromised, it remains secure. When you upload things to the cloud, your information is available in a set of connected servers. Be careful what you upload to these servers since nothing is 100% secure online.
2. Change Your Passwords
We all have that go-to password that we use for a number of things online. This is a bad move, and hackers are savvy enough to figure out when you’re using an easy to guess password across several platforms. Here’s a scary statistic to wake you up the realities of online passwords: the majority of passwords can be discovered in a few seconds.
Never use the same password across several platforms. Always change your password every few months, just to be safe. Avoid using words or numbers that have significance in your life that will be easy to guess. How many people do you think include their birthday in their password or their pets name?
Instead, use an unexpected and unrelated word as the base of your password. For instance, use the word butterfly. You can add the platform to the end of this random word, as needed, to keep it different. For Facebook, your password would become butterflyFacebook. Not only is this easy to remember, but it’s hard to crack.
3. Encrypt Your Data
The top way to protect your data is to encrypt it. The most basic way to encrypt your files online is to add a password. Many free cloud platforms like Onedrive or Google Drive already have this feature, and it’s easy to enable on your own. Another option is to zip your file and then add a password.
Some cloud services provide their own heavy-duty form of encryption. Papertrail keeps your cloud logs safe with high-level encryption and granular access controls so you can be sure your information is protected. Depending on the nature of your cloud information, encrypting might be the best option.
4. Learn About Your Cloud Service
How many people take the time to review the terms and conditions or the user agreement? Probably not many. The best thing to do before committing to a new cloud service is to review your agreement and terms. It’s boring and sometimes complicated, but this is the best way to find out just how they protect your information.
Look for online resources breaking down the storage options and how to utilize them. These will be your first line of defense to understand just how your information is shared over the cloud. Your information is valuable, so it’s worth going the extra mile.
5. Install Anti-Virus Software
While you need to protect your cloud information, you also need to protect your own local computer. Sometimes the problem with your cloud storage stems, not from the web, but from your local system. If hackers or malware has access to your system, your cloud storage could easily be compromised.
Install proper protection onto your local machine to ensure your online and local activity is safe. Research the best anti-virus software for your model and security needs, and make sure it’s installed properly before accessing your online data.
Your cloud data is generally safe, but it’s always worth investing in extra security. Cloud storage is known for its many advantages, but don’t be caught off guard by ignoring a security risk. Even small steps like changing your password regularly can prevent your information from being the target of an attack. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your privacy.
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