Is it safe to use cloud storage?

Last updated on May 13th, 2023

It used to be the case that I, like many others, would snap up any offer of free cloud storage, as digital photography and general data hoarding created a seemingly endless need for data storage.

Fast-forward to today, and data breaches are something you don’t have to work in technology to recognise are a very frequent occurrence. So is that it for cloud storage then? I very much doubt it.

As with most services in life, not all cloud storage services are equal. The major players are certainly taking security a lot more seriously, and if you apply some basic rules, I believe cloud storage is still worth using.

The risks

Cloud storage services carry some common risks:

  1. Data breaches: Cloud storage providers are naturally a target for data breaches, which can result in unauthorised access to your data.
  2. Hacking: Hackers can target cloud storage accounts, particularly those with weak passwords or poor security practices.
  3. Accidental deletion or corruption: Your data may be accidentally deleted or corrupted due to errors or issues with the cloud storage service.
  4. Dependence on internet connectivity: Cloud storage requires a stable internet connection, and if your internet connection is interrupted or slow, you may experience difficulty accessing your data.
  5. Service termination: The cloud storage provider may go out of business, or terminate service to you, resulting in your losing access to your data.

Best practice for safety

No amount of protection can guarantee the security of your data. It’s therefore best to avoid using cloud storage providers for your most sensitive data (e.g. bank records, identity papers etc.), and to ensure good security controls on any cloud storage accounts you do use, to minimise the risk to them.

Sensible security measures include:

  1. Use strong and unique passwords for your cloud storage accounts.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
  3. Encrypt your data before uploading it to the cloud storage provider.
  4. Choose a reputable and trustworthy cloud storage provider that has a proven track record of security.
  5. Regularly back up your data to ensure that you have multiple copies in case of accidental deletion or corruption.

Overall, cloud storage can be a safe and convenient way to store your data, but it is important to take appropriate security measures to ensure the safety of your data.

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