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How do I protect my personal data in the cloud?

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How do I protect my personal data in the cloud?

Back in the old days, every bit of essential data had to be backed up on a secondary hard drive, a USB drive, and most likely burnt to a DVD before you could be assured that the data is securely backed up. 

These days, services like Dropbox and Google Drive use cloud computing solutions that make it so that you don’t have to bring your portable storage device with you everywhere you go. Instead, you can easily access any of those cloud-based services wherever there is an Internet connection. 

Of course, using cloud-based storage to keep your personal data stored comes with its set of risks, the most critical being who can access those pieces of information and just how safe they are out there on the cloud servers. Here are a couple of practical tips to keep your cloud data as secure as it gets.

 

Don’t neglect the old school backup techniques. 

No matter how tempting and convenient the cloud storage solutions are, don’t disregard the classical options just yet. Online data can get corrupt or lost, or you could find yourself in a place with a low or nonexistent Internet connection. That is why it is still crucial to have a physical backup of your data, thumb drive, or a portable hard disk drive. 

If you still prefer to have your data backed up online, there are ways to upload the same content on several platforms simultaneously. That way, even if one of them fails, you’ll have a secured alternative.

How do I protect my personal data in the cloud

 

Remember that nothing on the internet is genuinely safe forever.

Every once in a while, a massive data breach happens. These events remind us that for as long as the information is being stored online, there will be malicious individuals and groups finding ways to extract that info, either just to prove that they can do it or to use and abuse it. 

Because of that, you should never store any of the personally identifiable information (PII) such as your credit card numbers, national identification number, home address, etc. in the cloud. The same goes for documents containing passwords for your various online accounts and any other sensitive information. 

If you really must store such information in the cloud, your best bet would be to encrypt the data before uploading it.

 

Choose an option with local encryption.

Speaking of encryption, one of the easiest ways to safeguard your privacy when using cloud storage services is to look for one that offers local encryption for your data.

This is an option that is also known as Zero-knowledge proof, meaning that no one but you can access your data, not even the service providers and administrators themselves.

This gives an extra layer of protection between your data and any unwanted intruders since decryption will be required before you can be granted access to the data. 

 

Famous services are famous for a reason.

Keep in mind that running and maintaining a data center that stores all of your info in the cloud demand plenty of power, both in terms of electricity and raw computing power. These servers have to be physically protected and able to protect your data. It takes a large amount of space and skill to keep these data centers running smoothly, so choose your storage option wisely. 

There is a reason why some names are almost synonymous with online safety, while others fail to leave their mark on this competitive market. Do your research and see who has already earned the public’s trust and makes data centre safety a priority. Chances are, you won’t go wrong if you choose the majority option. 

 

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Use a strong password. 

Look, this one is a hassle, and we all know that. There is nothing more boring than having to come up with a strong password on the spot, but it is well worth it. 

Adding just one special character or a number to your password makes it several times harder for malicious individuals to crack it. This should also go without saying, do not use the same master password for all of your important accounts. 

As an additional safety tip, use two-factor authentication whenever possible. A verification code sent to the mobile phone gives added security on top of just your password to access your cloud data.

 

Do your part to protect your info.

Whenever you are using a public computer, remember not to save any passwords and log out once your session is done. Saving your password and leaving it logged in exposes you to the risk of strangers accessing your data.

Your cloud data security depends on what you do online, especially on public computers or connections. Never use open and unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in public places to log in to your cloud account. 

These connections are typically unencrypted, which means that a hacker can detect whatever you do while connected can be detected on the same network. This can even include your login credentials for your cloud account.

How do I protect my personal data in the cloud?

 

Antivirus and antispyware apps are important. 

Sometimes, the data leaks do not happen because of your cloud service provider, but you are using to log in because of the device. 

Use antivirus and antispyware software to protect yourself from various forms of malicious attacks on your computer. Like its name says, antivirus protects you from viruses such as Trojans that can work as keyloggers and track all your keystrokes in an attempt to collect all your passwords and other sensitive data. Spyware is another form of malicious software that is a type of malware — malicious software designed to gain access to or damage your computer without your knowledge.

 

Get reputable software that can protect your computer from these intruders, and remember to run regular scans. By embedding this malicious software to seemingly legitimate files, hackers will be able to get hold of your user ID and password if your system isn’t well protected enough to detect it, and the damage that can be done to your privacy and safety could be immeasurable.

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Read more Technology related stories in The Weekly Trends magazine.

Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.

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