Between 2013 and 2018, the number of cloud service users grew from 2.4 to 3.6 billion users. To put that in perspective, the total number of internet users worldwide is around 4.1 billion people. Thus, almost 75% of all internet users also take advantage of cloud computing. Whether you realize it or not, cloud computing has become an integral part of our daily lives. You may already use a dedicated platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Or perhaps you upload your pictures to iCloud. Whatever it is, internet use and cloud computing have now become intertwined. Thus, everybody needs to be aware of the various threats to their data and what steps they can take to make sure it is safe.
Why is Your Data Valuable?
What you do online is of great interest to a vast number of people. And it’s not exactly what you think that others might want access to. Sure, the governments and legal bodies want to keep track of illicit actions online. But hackers and advertisers also care about your everyday activity.
Who do you talk to? What do you talk about? What types of content do you download? What files do you upload to the cloud? We move into the data economy, and these things become valuable. So, to protect your privacy and security, you need to learn how to keep your data in the cloud safe.
1) Encrypt All Files
Cloud storage platforms are not bank vaults. You need to remember they are remote servers storing your data. They do have some extra protection, sure. But as cybercriminals keep on proving, cloud storage providers are vulnerable to a massive range of different attacks. The best way to protect your data is to encrypt before uploading it to your cloud. You can use services like Nordlocker, which allow you to encrypt any file type in just a few seconds. Only the individuals with the file password will be able to access your data. Thus, preventing data breaches and ransomware attacks.
2) Use Local Data Backup
Data centers are vulnerable not only to cybersecurity breaches but the elements of nature too. One of the most famous examples occurred several years ago. Facebook’s first cloud storage data center suffered the blows of intense wind and rain. The roof peeled right off drenching servers. And this happens more often than you realize. In some cases, it’s possible to preserve or recover the data. But it never hurts to have a local data backup to a hard drive. Especially if your internet connection sometimes goes down for no reason. Make sure you also store the drive in a secure place and encrypt all files on it.
3) Secure Your Account
Did you know hackers can crack any of the 10,000 most common passwords in a matter of seconds? For example, hackers can crack the password “dragon” in under a second. But if you changed it to “[email protected],” it would take them one day and 20 hours instead. Of course, when it comes to securing your cloud, you need to do better than that.
Use passwords that are at least ten characters long, with a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Along with more robust passwords, take advantage of extra security features such as two-step verification and biometric security technology. Make sure you also change passwords at least once every three months.
4) Use Antivirus Software
Cybercriminals use viruses and malware to infect computers in many ways. In some cases, they create “clones” that launch different types of attacks. More often, they’re interested in personal information. They use tools such as keyloggers that monitor all keystrokes on your computer. Then they can gain access to your online accounts and passwords. And from there, to your cloud files. Thus, use reliable antivirus software to ensure your computer is free from any harmful bugs.
5) Control Access to Your Devices and Data
You need to be careful with your data. Always. No matter how much you trust somebody, there’s no reason for them to have unauthorized access to your accounts, particularly cloud storage. Of course, most won’t do something harmful on purpose. But many people don’t have good “digital hygiene” habits. That may lead to downloading malware, visiting an infected site, or sharing the files they’re not supposed to. Thus, be careful when you allow other people to access what they need. And make sure you share data using password protection or expiring links.
How to Make Sure Your Cloud Data is Safe
Cloud storage can help to harness the power of the internet and high-powered server to work and access your files anywhere. But as with everything else you do online, you need to be safe:
- secure your files with a file encryption service,
- make sure you also have a local backup of any files you store in the cloud,
- secure all your accounts with strong passwords and advanced authentication,
- practice digital hygiene by using antivirus software and controlling who has access to your files in the cloud.
These tips will help you get the most out of your cloud computing experience without sacrificing your security and privacy.