It’s been said that we “live in the cloud” — the digital stratosphere where images, videos, and files orbit. According to recent counts, the often mentioned but elusive digital ether holds 40 trillion gigabytes of data — or 40 zettabytes, which begs the question: Is it safe out there on the digital frontier?
The answer depends on precautions taken.
What Is Cloud Data?
In the old days, businesses maintained in-house computers to catalog files, and individuals typically stored their documents on desktops, laptops, and portable hard drives. But today, the “cloud” — a network of servers that can be accessed via the internet — is the primary digital storage environment.
To put it another way, from a personal computing perspective, the difference between local and cloud computing is the difference between saving a Google doc on Google servers and saving a Word file on your laptop or desktop.
Is My Data Safe in the Cloud?
Like a house, the cloud is only as safe as the security it has in place. Apps, websites, and other platforms that offer cloud storage are responsible for ensuring that their stake is guarded and sufficiently shielded.
Seven Tips To Keep Your Cloud Data Safe
Individuals also play a role when it comes to keeping their information safe in the cloud, and implementing a few practical tips can go a long way in avoiding a data breach.
Over four billion people are plugged into the internet, and Google processes over 40,000 searches per second! In other words, a lot of data is darting around at any given second.
Now ask yourself: what type of data would a cybercriminal target? Would they spend precious time trying to crack through a digital fortress or go for the low-hanging fruit that’s easy to access and provides the same ROI? Of course, they’re gunning for easy targets! So pull yourself out of that murky pool and only use cloud app services that encrypt data!
Do your cloud access providers regularly backup data? They should. Moreover, it’s best to back up personal devices on drives that don’t automatically connect to the internet.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Yes, two-factor authentication can be more annoying than a slow driver in the left lane, but at this point, every business should make it mandatory. Not only does it keep users safe, but it serves as an enterprise shield.
Better Password Hygiene
Password protection is an essential part of cloud safety. Individuals should never use the same one for every account, and businesses should be helping users create effective and difficult-to-crack passwords. Forcing users to change their passwords every month or two is also wise.
Do Your Homework
Would you buy a house without doing a little research about the neighborhood? Would you date a stranger without Googling them? The same logic applies to cloud apps. Before clicking “Yes, I Agree,” engage in some due diligence. Research the company and read up on red flags that rear their cautionary heads.
Be Selective With Sensitive Information
Don’t relinquish personal or sensitive data unless necessary. Moreover, consider using services that cloak any critical financial or personal information.
Being online without an antivirus program is like crossing the Sahara without water: you’ll eventually succumb to the elements. But understand that not all antivirus options are created equal — some have the potential to do more harm than good. So be paranoid! Do a bit of review reading before installing programs on your devices.
Who is Responsible for Keeping Cloud Data Safe?
Cloud safety should be a top priority for every company, nonprofit, government, and individual. Never assume someone else is doing the job for you. Vet the apps and digital account services with which you sign up. Do they have a history of privacy problems? How long have they been around?
But overall, if you take the necessary precautions, your stuff should remain secure in the cloud.