Services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Drive, among others, are a great tool for those who want to have their data, projects, work and want to use them when they want and where they want, of course, with the ease of not charging either a USB, laptop or External Hard Drive.
Although Cloud services provide a great service, we should not leave aside the concerns regarding data security, which is why we want to share with you some practical tips to protect your data in the cloud.
The convenience of this type of service seems tempting, but the burden of your personal data to a service provider undoubtedly poses a couple of security problems. On the one hand, you can never be sure that no one else can access your data. That said, we can always protect our data against input to data that should be personal.
Data In The Cloud, Locally
When it comes to data management, always having backup is paramount. In general terms, it is good practice to create electronic copies of any of your data, so that you are able to have your information at hand in case of loss, accidental deletion or any other event that may affect the security of your data. There are a number of Cloud services for businesses, and for users who do not need large services, you can use backups between these services to secure your data.
Although it is true that these services provide us with the ease of leaving aside the storage units of information, we should not totally leave these devices aside. As a good practice you should use at least two devices to have your backups in case of an eventuality.
Storing Important Information, Your Last Choice
This point is a bit confusing, but let’s see how it goes. As we said, Cloud services are used to store our most important data, but how secure will this data be? It can be paranoia or delusions of persecution, but let’s say, you have a really important project, having this data in the Cloud can not assure you that they are safe.
My advice is to keep only those files you need to access frequently and avoid putting documents that contain passwords and ultimately sensitive data that should not be accessed by someone else.
If you need to include this information in your files, be sure to encrypt them before uploading.
Use Services That Encrypt Your Data
One of the easiest ways to protect your privacy when using cloud storage services is to look for one that offers local encryption for your data. This provides an additional level of security, as decryption will be necessary before data can be accessed.
While maintaining data encrypted in the cloud may be good enough, it would be even better if the cloud service also ensures encryption during the upload and download phases. This can be done using military grade Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (256 bits), such as the one used by the DrivePop service.
With the additional step of encrypting and decrypting the data, it is possible to realize that synchronizing your files with the cloud drive takes a while. That said, this is a necessary pain that you will have to go through if you want the documents to be accessible only for your personal use.
Encrypt Your Data Before Storing
Having a storage service that does not encrypt your data will not be an inconvenient to use such a service, as you can use a third party service to encrypt your data yourself. All you have to do is download a cloud protection application that will allow you to apply passwords and generate sequences of secret keys for your files before you actually upload them to the cloud.
Even if you are already opting for an encrypted cloud service, you would still go through a preliminary round of encrypting for the files to get a little extra guarantee.
Small Letter, Privacy Enemy
In addition to storing your data, some cloud services allow you to share your photos and files with other users. It certainly sounds pretty attractive, but sometimes these services come with a little trap. There may be some small print that you won’t see in your Terms of Service (TOS) to make it legitimate.
For example, already in 2011, Twitpic wrote in their TOS that they could share their photos on their service gives them the right to “use or distribute” the images. Later they apologized for such a right that was attributed to them, but clarified that they could continue to use them as well as the affiliates, and even so, the copyright rested with the user.
Although Twitpic is not exactly a dedicated cloud storage service, it presents a good case for you to be aware of what you can expect from your cloud provider, especially with respect to their security and privacy policies.
Two-Step Verification, To Be Safe
As a first line of defense against malicious users on the Web, it is best to secure your password so that it can withstand a hacking or cracking attempt. There are a lot of tips on the Internet about what you can do to get a good password.
Alternatively, you can make use of the two-step login verification if your cloud service offers the option. In the case of Google Drive, users have to log into their Google Account first in order to use the cloud storage service.
Two-step verification can be activated for Google Accounts, a verification code will be sent to your mobile phone, with which you will be able to verify that it is you, when it comes to accessing your data.
Beware Where You Sail
Sometimes the security to protect your data in the cloud depends on what you do on the web, especially on computers or public connections. When you use a public computer, and accidentally store your password, you’ve given someone else the power to enter and manipulate the data you’ve so cautiously stored in the cloud.
Do you tend to connect your device to open, non-guaranteed Wi-Fi access points in public places to access your accounts? Such connections are not encrypted, which means that everything you do while connected can be “tracked” by a hacker on the same network.
Secure Your PC, Make Your Data More Secure
You may be using a fairly secure Cloud service provider, but sometimes the weakest link turns out to be the Operating System of the user who is connecting. Without adequate protection for your system, you are exposed to bugs and viruses that provide entry points for hackers to access your account.
Take for example the presence of a Trojan Keylogger that tries to track all keystrokes. By incorporating this malicious software apparently as a legitimate file, hackers will be able to get their username and password if the system is not protected enough to detect it.