The days of toting data in flash drives have come and gone. Many people now resort to personal cloud accounts in order to back up, store, and access their data anywhere and anytime through their internet-enabled mobile devices. In fact, the analyst firm Gartner, Inc. predicted in 2012 that there would be an eventual migration from offline work in personal computers to the cloud by 2014. However, this convenience comes at an expense:security.
You should understand that security issues surrounding cloud servers present a quandary for many law makers across the globe. Regulation of data flow across borders is inherently problematic. For instance, when it comes to privacy issues concerning cloud data, which laws should prevail: those in the country where the data storage server is located or those from where the cloud user, or the one who uploaded the data, is based? And this is only one of the many points of interest to consider if you are storing sensitive information in your personal cloud account.
Here are three tips to help safeguard your data in the cloud.
Read and understand the cloud service provider’s user agreement before you sign away the safekeeping of your data. The user agreement may be a long document and may contain dense verbiage, but it is the best way to know exactly what you are signing away when you opt for a cloud storage account.
If the data you are storing is highly sensitive, you might want to find a more appropriate virtual solution. Or better yet, do not subject sensitive data to the cloud environment at all.
More than 90 percent of passwords created by users can be cracked within seconds, according to the findings ofCanadian Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2013, a study undertaken by consulting firm Deloitte.
Take extra effort to create a secure and unique password for each of the online services that you use. Have a password-naming convention handy to help you in regularly changing and remembering your current password for a specific online service.
To effectively protect your data in the cloud, you have two encryption options: to password-protect a file before uploading it to your cloud storage account and to go with a cloud service that offers local encryption.
To zip and encrypt your data, you can use a free compression tool like B1 Free Archiver. For a more advanced encryption software, try TrueCrypt. Sharing encrypted data, however, entails giving away your password to another user.
Examples of cloud service providers that offer cloud storage, as well as local encryption, include Spideroak.com and Wuala.com. You can research other providers that fit your needs and your budget.