The Cloud is everywhere. Its now the staple storage for many Apple (iCloud), Android and Google (Drive) and Microsoft (SkyDrive) let alone many third companies are offering either free cloud storage or, for a price, extra storage for your personal or business data. The cloud is great, but you need to be aware of possible security issues for you and your data stored in the cloud.
Think of the cloud as an ‘off-line’ hard disk for your data. That part is easy enough to understand. However, unless you go with the big players mentioned above, do you really know where your data has ended up? Is your bank details, photo’s etc simply sitting, unencrypted, on someones hard disk in a far away land – just waiting to be accessed. Scared, well you should be..
My main tip would of course stay with one of the main players such as Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Microsoft SkyDrive. They have strict security polices, store your data on multiple drives (so should one go down, the others will still hold your data) and have fast and reliable accesses which is transparent within your parent operating system.
But you may require more, especially if you have sensitive or business data that needs maximum uptime. Below are a few main tips to help, not just for the storage of your data, but also how it gets from your computer, in the cloud, then straight on the cloud storage devices. If its un-encrypted during this ‘travel’ then it is prone to be hacked into – this is the main worry for cloud services.
Before you trust your data to a third party..THINK carefully about the steps below:
- For business users, make sure the data being transferred from your system to the cloud or remote storage company is encrypted (to prevent snoopers, man-in-the-middle attacks) capturing and reading your transmitted data. Look for secure HTTP (HTTPS) as a minimum
- When your data is stored, asked if it is encrypted. This is vital. It needs to be at least 128-bit AES (military grade) encryption, however more companies are using 256-bit AES encryption which is extremely strong
- Any encryption keys for your encrypted data must be stored with you, and not the cloud or remote storage company, otherwise security maybe compromised
- Ask if the cloud company offers redundancy for your data, such as duplicate (RAID) hard disks, automatic fall-over protection, UPS so there is at least a 99% uptime
My advice will be stick with the known players in the cloud storage market. Use the 4 steps above and you can rest at night with piece of mind that your treasured data is safe…otherwise, well, we don’t want to go down that route do we?
Need to know more about the cloud? Here is my 3 of the best choice for secure, ‘free trial‘ secure cloud storage..
And if you don’t know what cloud storage really is, of just need to know more, check out this great YouTube video..
Thanks to Broadbandbuyer.co.uk for letting me host the video