The evolution of digital storage systems. Image courtesy of www.logicworks.net

The evolution of digital storage systems. Image courtesy of www.logicworks.net

The number of people using  the cloud increases every year and is not slowing down. In 2012, leading IT research and advisory company Gartner predicted that personal cloud computing will replace the personal computer as the centre of user’s digital processes by 2014. It also means that there will be a complete shift of offline PC processes to mostly on-cloud by this year…. And we can see it’s happening. At present, although we still use some hardware like flash drives, and USB in carrying docs or sending photos by email, the cloud has become a place where everyone that is given access can exchange data or information of any type. It has also become a place where data is stored and managed permanently. Many people have put their trust in the cloud; sensitive information & documents, confidential documents and personal information are all stored in the cloud.

How can you be sure that all the information that you store in the cloud are secure or safe? Even though cloud services promise that their services are secure and cannot be hacked, in the back of your mind you know it still is vulnerable to attacks or unauthorised access. Many countries around the world deal with many legal issues that covers data security and privacy in the cloud.

Cloud Security Is A Global Concern

The security and privacy of the internet presents issues for many law makers around the world. Many legislative matters stumble on several issues; first is the transborder data flow where some countries are successful in regulating security data issues within the servers in a specific country. Although success was made, transborder data flow regulation is avoided. Another issue is who can gain legal access or permission to data stored in the cloud. Many

The top 20common passwords used around the world. The list was made after slideshow site RockTou.com was hacked. image courtesy of www.secureconnect.com

The top 20common passwords used around the world. The list was made after slideshow site RockTou.com was hacked. image courtesy of www.secureconnect.com

cloud users believe that information is confidential and protected from anyone else just because it belongs to them and it is their personal property. But most people forget that the space they used as storage is not their own and  function with their own rules. Users may have to give up data if required by law or if the information is stolen and accessed without any authorisation. Whichever it is, you won’t be happy!

5 Ways To Secure Your Information In The Cloud

With some of the issues mentioned above, it is always good if you take some steps that will ensure the security  of your data in the cloud. Below are 5 useful and easy protection tips that can help in securing your data.

  1. Be clever with passwords. Your personal computer, your Smartphone,  your tablet and all the other accounts that you have featured password as the first line of defense against unauthorised use or access. This goes the same with your cloud service. Passwords are designed like locks to keep any prying eyes off of your information. A strong lock will keep thieves out. Remembering complex passwords  are a pain and some people resort to creating very simple password that cannot be easily erased in one’s memory. If it is easy to remember, then chances are it is easy to guess. A security firm  found that thousands of users relied on the same basic and easy phrases like 123456, 12345, 123456789 Password, iloveyou and birthdays are some of the most common passwords used. Using these phrases is like giving your money to anyone without any reason. It’s simple, but foolish. If you’re using the mentioned passwords, change it. It’s true that complex passwords are a hassle to remember, but the more complicated your password is, the more secure your data will be. Try creating a password using a phrase that no one knows and adding numbers to it. If it seems that you may easily forget the password, place it somewhere to record and save them. If it is possible, don’t re-use or share  passwords for different accounts or sites. Or you can just change the letters, symbols or capitalization if you plan to use the same phrase and number combination across your accounts. Lastly,  don’t inform anyone of your password.
  2. Password Dilema. Image courtesy of 9gag.com

    Password Dilema. Image courtesy of 9gag.com

    Avoid storing confidential or sensitive information in the cloud. If you’re trying to store some clandestine documents, information or photos of your mistress, then you need to think if cloud storage is a good choice. If it is possible, avoid saving and storing any sensitive information in the cloud or use any other appropriate measures to secure it. Although a complex password can help in securing your mistress photos in the cloud.

  3. Always back up your data. This is one piece of advice every expert and non-expert has been making for many years. Always back up your data. An earthquake, a power surge, a fire, hard drive malfunction, any system failure or any act of god can happen when you least expect it.  And if you have not made any backups, you will surely go bonkers about it. Using hard drives with large storage spaces are good, but the cloud is a better choice. Today there are many cloud storage services in use. Dropbox, Google Drive, cloud, SugarSync, Mozy and Amazon’s cloud drive are free services with easy to use UI. These storage services create a folder on your computer’s hard drive that is linked to the internet. All you have to do is drag or copy paste the file into the folder and then it will automatically sync to the service. Make your backups redundant, meaning make backups of your backups and spread them to different cloud storage services and to a local, secondary hard drive.
  4.  Use encryption. Encryption is by far the best way to secure and protect your data. This is how encryption works – if you have a file that you want to move or store in the cloud, you need to use a specific encryption software where you create a password for the said file. Then you move the password protected file to the cloud and no one will be able to see the content of the file because it is encrypted. One of the most popular encryption software is TrueCrypt.
  5. Choose and encrypted cloud service. There are a number of cloud services that host local encryption
    Image courtsey of www.glasbergen.com

    Image courtesy of www.glasbergen.com

    And decryption of the files in addition, their backup and storage services. This means that the service provider takes care of the encrypting of the files and storing them securely on the cloud, thus there is a bigger chance that no one can have access to your information.

You have to keep in mind how valuable all your information is and to what extent it is reasonable to protect and secure it whenever you choose of the best way of protecting your information. You have to define the level of privacy that you need and the adequate protection that will fit it. We know that not everyone is ready to pay for data storage specifically for personal use, but for corporate data, paying for a very secure and protected data storage is reasonable.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.