Cloud storage—a type of data storage that saves data to an off-site server—has changed the way people and businesses store data. No longer do people need a large hard drive; if all they’re working with are documents and photos, they can simply store them in the cloud and save some disk space.
However, cloud storage comes with a few caveats, the greatest one being the lack of tight security. The truth is, it’s up to the user to ensure their files are safely and securely stored in the cloud.
Why Proper Security is Essential to Cloud Storage
Bouts of Malware
Cloud storage services have one job: upload a file from the user’s device to the cloud. That’s it. Most cloud storage services have no way of verifying the integrity of a file, meaning that if a file is infected with malware and it gets uploaded, that file is gone, and it could potentially spread to other stored files.
One other weakness of cloud storage is how easy it is for a hacker to gain access to a user’s trove of cloud storage. Unlike a hard drive, which requires a hacker to either gain remote access to the computer or have the physical hard drive, all they would need to do to gain access to a user’s cloud storage is hack their account.
As a result, an unsecured account could lead to identity theft and major data breaches.
Cyber-Attacks & Loss of Data
Rarely do cloud storage providers offer backup solutions. Many users view cloud storage as a backup solution in and of itself, but the truth is that if a group of cybercriminals targeted the servers responsible for cloud storage, the entire service could experience an outage. Worst case scenario? Users lose all of their stored data due to irreparable damage.
How to Secure Your Cloud Storage
Use A VPN When Saving Data to the Cloud
The first thing you should do is begin encrypting your connection when using a cloud storage service with a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is designed to encrypt your device’s data on any network. If you protect your network with a VPN, cybercriminals will be unable to intercept your data.
In other words, a simple layer of encryption will prevent hackers and cybercriminals from worming their way into your cloud storage.
Use Strong Passwords & Enable Two-Factor Authentication
After figuring out a good encryption solution, your next step should be on your account and making it as secure as possible. Again, all it takes is one weak password for a hacker to gain access to troves of your data.
If you don’t already have a strong password, set up one now—you can use a random password generator to ensure the passwords you’re using are strong.
You should also set up two-factor authentication, the second form of account verification that prevents cybercriminals from hacking your account(s). To learn more on two-factor authentication, look here.
Watch Out for Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are a type of scam that involves the so-called scammer using lies and manipulation to get you to hand over personal information. The type of information they’re looking to get out of you varies, but if you use cloud storage often, it’s only a matter of time before a scammer tries to gain access through a phishing scam. You must learn what phishing scams look like—in other words, know the warning signs.
Cloud storage has become a near-essential tool in people’s daily lives. But it’s not a secure storage solution, not without user intervention. Here are just a few of the ways cloud storage users can secure their data.