There are always risks when putting up files, documents and information online. Anybody who knows what they are doing can access anything, never mind that sometimes it might not even be legal. There would always be hackers trying to prove their worth and improve their skills by trying to invade the most secure sites. The use of a cloud storage company has been making waves when it comes to backing up your files. This is the new and improved way of having your documents safe from corruption or possible loss, but is it really worth it? If there are risks involve then why bother uploading your records online? There are risks but there are also some ways to protect you from possible cyber-attacks or hacker intrusions. Here are five steps to ensure that you have a safe and secure cloud storage.
Two Factor Authentication and Password
Want to protect your online identity? Use a different email address for every account that you have. That means, making a new email when signing up for a cloud storage service provider. Another tip is to use a strong and different password for every account. It might be hard to keep track of all your passwords. A password manager is the key to keeping track and remembering every password. It might seem like this is a bad idea since all your passwords are in one place. But this is better than not being able to get into your accounts at all. There are many password manager applications available online. You just have to get the most reliable one. A more traditional or old school approach is to write down your passwords, so you won’t forget. Don’t use your middle name, your previous school, birthday or your favorite color as your password as these words are easy to guess. Choose a password with a combination of numbers, words, upper and lower case letters. This will make for a stronger and harder to decipher password.
Another way to secure your cloud storage is to employ the two factor authentication. Two factor authentication is a way to protect your account by using something that only you, as the owner, have. This may be a cellphone number or a security question. One more time, don’t use security questions that are easily answerable by other people. Avoid questions like what is your middle name, where were you born, where was your first school or questions of the like. Choose questions that only you know the answer to.
Auditing Your Connected Devices
When using the best cloud storage companies, they would offer you the chance to connect your devices. This is so you can use the cloud whenever and wherever you go. The use of connected devices will allow you to access your files on the cloud with whatever device you have, even phones and tablets. This is a brilliant idea but also pose a security risk. To lessen the risk of getting your information stolen through the use of other devices, you should regularly check the devices connected to your account. Depending on the service provider you are using, the connected devices can be seen in the setting. Check if the devices that are in there are still in your possession. Remove any suspicious devices that you can see there. Also, you should remove anything that you are not using anymore.
If possible, check one by one the IP address that is used for every connected device. This is to make sure that you are the sole owner of the devices that are connected. You don’t want anyone else having access to your private documents and files. The cloud storage company will have a list of your connected devices, their unit names, dates when they were linked and their IP addresses. Make sure that everything on this list was made by you. You can seriously increase your online security if you are just diligent in keeping everything relevant.
Read up on the Privacy and Encryption
About file encryption, you have to find out what is the company’s stance on it. Will the encryption fall on your shoulders or will the cloud backup provider be in charge of this. If you want to know more about your service provider, check on the reviews of it by searching the internet. You can save a lot of time by reading reviews so you know what you are getting into before you buy into anything.
Secure Your Sensitive Data
If you want your sensitive data to not get into the hands of bad guys, you should not upload onto the internet at all. If this is inevitable and you really need to back it up using a cloud file storage service, make sure that it is encrypted. You should classify your files into categories of importance and use stronger encryption for more important files. There are cloud file storage service providers that access files that are uploaded onto their servers, so you should also be sure that your files are legal. There are companies that won’t allow pirated movies and music, so if you don’t want your account suspended and facing violations, make sure that your files follow the policies.
Lifehacker enumerated five best tools to use for encryption. You can use these tools or simply use the one on your Windows computer. Here are the basic steps to encrypt a file using the properties tab of your documents.
- Right click on the file you want to encrypt, then go to properties at the end of the list.
- On the general tab, click on the advanced button you can see on the bottom of the list.
- Under the compress or encrypt attribute, check the encrypt contents to secure data. The file will be encrypted with the password of your Windows computer.
Unfortunately, this type of encryption will only work on your computer. If you plan to email this file or upload it to the cloud, you have to make use of another encryption tool. Howtogeek offers tutorials on how to encrypt files in different ways with use of different tools.
There are so many cloud storage available for free on the internet. You don’t have to only use one and actually using many can protect you from possible file loss or theft. You can read reviews of cloud storage companies to know which service providers offer free and secure services. Putting your important data and information into different platforms will ensure that even if you lose one cloud, you still have others backing up your files. Be sure to follow the steps on here when signing up for a new company. Use different emails and strong passwords. For every sign up, use two factor authentication. This might seem like a lot of work, but if you really want to keep your files secure, you would use the utmost caution. Do not stick to one service provider and use a lot. Look for top 10 cloud service providers and if possible, make use of all of them. This is the way to diversify and to keep your files secure. If you found the best cloud storage companies, then make use of them but don’t scrap the others.
No matter how secure your cloud storage is, it does not guarantee that you won’t lose your files. Either to hackers or the cloud storage service provider itself. The possibility of cyber-attack is a real possibility. So it is not really advisable to use cloud storage as back up. You can use it, but still employ a hard disk to have another back up.
Want to know the best cloud storage available out there? Head on to CrowdReviews and read some or all of the reviews available on the site.
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