securing data on the cloud

Do users have the surety that their valuable and private information on the cloud is safe? The answer is, unfortunately, no. There is no guarantee regarding the safety of your information, but there are some good protective measures that can ensure cloud privacy for you.

The great shift that Gartner predicted in 2012 seems to be taking place with users shifting rapidly from offline PC to the cloud by 2014. The number of cloud users is increasing at a high speed and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down!

In today’s time, we neither send photos by email nor like carrying USB flash drives with us. It is much more convenient and faster to exchange information with people on the cloud. Moreover, data is secured permanently on the cloud so there is no risk of deleting emails and losing flash drives.

Simply said, people are putting more and more trust in the cloud. People even put their bank, ID scans and other confidential documents on the cloud! Hence, the cloud is an ideal place for hackers to start data theft. You have to secure your data before it is too late and we have some tips on how to do so.

For the time being you cannot completely and confidently secure your data 100%. The data privacy legislation is currently not able to keep up with the speed of technology progressing. Even if you try to search, you will barely find any rules of legislations in any countries that deal with data privacy on the cloud.

There are also no universal rules or laws, which can be applicable to data privacy on the cloud. All that we have today are declarations and proposals that do not have any legal implications.

World-wide cloud security issues

Information privacy is a dilemma for all lawmakers throughout the world. There are many issues with the legislative process. Firstly, there is a problem of trans-border data flow. Many countries have been able to regulate data privacy on the servers in their country but when it comes to trans-border data privacy, they usually overlook it.

USA has the best and most popular data servers. However, with people coming from all over the world, their data is also trans-border. It is ambiguous which country should actually be regulating data privacy as it moves from one server to the other.

The second problem is the ambiguity about not knowing who and under what situation can have legal access to someone’s data stored on the cloud. We may be sitting assured that our data is confidential, protected and our own property. However, the Internet operates with its own rules and you may be obliged to give up your data if the state authorities demand it. Moreover, even if the law is with you, you may not have the time and energy to fight your case in the court. Hence, with the uncertainty around data privacy and its legality, one should be responsible for his own data and take control immediately.

Some data privacy protection tips for cloud privacy are:

1. Wherever possible, stay clear of storing any private or confidential information on the cloud

Some articles online abruptly say to not keep information on the cloud. So does that mean that we should not keep a house in case it burns down? We have phrased it better for you and are guiding you that try to not store any sensitive data on the cloud like crucial passwords and numbers.

2. Be well versed with the user agreement and know how the cloud service storage works

If there is any uncertainty regarding how your chosen cloud storage works then read the service agreement before signing up for it. It may be boring to read, but it is essential to be well versed with all the terms and agreements of the cloud service that you are agreeing to.

3. Take your passwords seriously

We may hear this all the time, but we do not believe it. Did you know that 90% of all passwords could be hacked within a couple of seconds? This is due to the fact that we make easy-to-create-and-remember passwords, which can be cracked very easily. Also, using the same password for double or even triple accounts makes us more vulnerable to data theft.

Here’s a few ideas on how to create an efficient and difficult to hack password:

  • Choose a long, random word such as coordination.
  • After the random word, add the account, which you are going to use it for. For instance, coordinationSkype, coordinationGmail.
  • To further strengthen the password, add numbers to the front or end. You can use your wedding date, birth date or anything easy to remember but not so easy that it can be stolen.

4. Encryption

The best solution for protecting your data on the cloud is encryption. A lot of you may be unaware how encryption works. It is a very simple and an ingenious way. The file you want to move to the cloud will first pass through a certain software. This software will create a password for your file and no one can ever see your content on the cloud without knowing the password.

The easiest way is to zip them and encrypt them with a password. You can also use the B1 Free Archiver, which is a free compression software. Whenever you create an archive, be sure to tick the “Protect with a password” option and create a password keeping our password forming tips in mind. When you want to share that information with someone on the cloud, you have to give your password to them so that they can access it. Also, be informed that the B1 Free Archiver zips files in B1 format only. This gives you added and more reliable data protection.

5. Opt for an encrypted cloud service

Some cloud services are coming up in the market that not only provide storage and backup of your data, but also encryption and decryption of your files. Hence, they provide a dual service to you that increase the chances of no one, not even service providers or service administrators, accessing your files. Some providers offering this double service are Spideroak and Tresorit.

Spideroak offers 2GB space, which can be used for a free-featured backup, share, sync, access and storage. To get more space, you have to upgrade to a Plus Plan, which is $10 per month.

Tresorit is a paid solution, but they have a great 14-day trial to start with.

Learn more about 9 best online storage solutions featuring encryption.

Whenever opting for the best way to protect your data, consider how valuable the information is to you and how much you are willing to pay to protect it. Start off with defining the level of privacy you need and the level of protection accordingly. For those who are not active internet users, they may even find a two-step verification that involves an SMS code on their phone as burdensome. However, most people appreciate such options.

Not everyone is open to the fact of paying for the safe storage of data. However, if it is corporate data, paying for the safe and secure data storage may be the only reasonable and safe option. Just try to achieve a balance between the required level of protection and the money, effort and time being invested on it.