Is Cloud Storage Safe?
Are my files safe in the cloud?
What should I consider when thinking about storing my files in the cloud?
There are few things that need to be considered when thinking about cloud storage.
1. Free generally means that there are no guarantees.
2. If you are running a sync tool and your local data suffers from damage, this could mean that the damaged data gets replicated to the cloud thereby eventuating in the loss of data.
3. You are responsible for your security to some degree. Bear this in mind when choosing a password. Make it complex and do not use the same password for multiple services.
4. Consider backups. The cloud may be more resilient than local storage but there is always that chance…
5. The privacy laws in Australia state that you must let people know if their data is being stored offshore. So make sure that you know where the data centre is that houses the storage you are using.
Free cloud storage
Free data storage providers give no guarantees about your data. If your data is lost in this situation you may have no comeback. Many good storage providers have a free service. Do not use these services in a business environment unless the data stored there is unimportant.
Synchronising cloud storage
Many cloud storage services have the option of installing a sync tool that will automatically synchronise data stored on your local PC with the cloud service. While this is convenient it can be the cause of great pain. We have seen situations where a computer has been infected by a Crypto variant, which encrypts all the data on the local PC. This encrypted data is then synchronised with the cloud, overwriting all the data stored in the cloud rendering this data useless.
Cloud storage security
Your security is not only the problem of the cloud services provider. You must make sure that you choose a password that is not easy to guess, contains upper case and lower case and special characters. Do not use the same password for multiple services. Recently hackers were able to hack the Linkedin site and compromised many passwords. Since users were using the same credentials for other social media sites, these hackers were able to log onto user accounts on other sites.
Cloud storage backups.
It is a good idea backup the data stored on a cloud service. Having a copy of data on another cloud storage site could save you heartache or frustration if the one goes down.
Cloud storage and privacy laws.
As mentioned before Australia has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world. Make sure that you know where the data centres are located for a specific provider.
Bad example of cloud storage.
An example of bad choices regarding cloud storage would be a business who keeps customer account details on a PC which syncs to a free cloud storage service like Dropbox. They have no backup of the local PC because Dropbox acts as the backup.
These are the things that can go wrong in this scenario,
- The PC gets infected by Crypto-locker because the user opens and email from “Australia post” informing them that a parcel could not be delivered. This results in the loss of all data because the encrypted data is replicated to the cloud.
- They are breaking the law because they have people private information saved on a service which only uses data centres in the USA
- There is no way to recover from the encrypted data (except by paying the ransom) because they have no backup.