The cloud is everywhere. We are starting to store more ‘on the grid’. Is it safe? Is it secure? And what about those 4 letter passwords you use for your credit card payements online. Here I cover whats good (and bad) about the cloud, new techniques, news and advances in data encryption that can help you stay safe.
12th January 2013
Is your cloud safe or is your data just floating away?
The cloud is the in thing. Big companies like Google (Drive) and Apple (iCloud) offer cheap and reliable storage for users, they have massive data centres around the globe that host gigantic amounts of data. However popping up here and there are other companies, most of which are excellent and offer encryption streaming for your data.
However a few scare stories have been reported that ‘so-called cloud service providers’ are simply no more than an individual with a few terabytes of storage, all of which is being hosted in some old shack with no form of redundancy whatsoever. What makes matters worse is that companies and individuals are trusting their data (bank account details, photo’s etc) to these dodgy characters and there is no reason for them (maybe) to snoop on your data.
Dont’ get more wrong, their are a lot of good companies offering decent and secure cloud services, especially for business for who might want to back up there daily data to a ‘off site’ company. But THINK before you trust your data to a ‘off site’ company, do your research, here a few tips to help you decide:-
- 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
Good data security needs to be practised and practised well, both by you and the cloud or remote storage company. Do your research into these companies before you trust your data. It might be one of the wisest business decisions you’ll make.