As we produce more digital data and files, the need for cloud storage is becoming a necessity. With plenty of data created every second and information shared, cloud storage becomes an easy way to store them. They have features that can meet individual or business expectations.
Cloud storage stores everything from photos, videos, files, and more. It syncs with the use of an internet connection. Furthermore, users can integrate the cloud storage service on any device – desktop and mobile devices.
Online storage spaces are known for being safe, but there are times when they can fall into the hands of hackers. Even if the provider has guaranteed the safety of their product, you need to do your part.
Ways You Can Secure Your Cloud Storage
Use a Strong Password
Passwords are the first line of defense. Using a weak password can only allow cybercriminals to break the barrier without challenge.
There are numerous software or tools hackers use to decipher a password. The simpler the password is the less time required to determine it. Meanwhile, complicated passwords take months or even years to be hacked.
Strong passwords mean using words that are not found in a dictionary. It shouldn’t include any personal information. Also, make sure to avoid sharing passwords with other accounts. Each account should have different passwords.
Elements of a Strong Password:
- Upper and lower cases
- Should be longer (minimum of 10)
Strong passwords should look like this, HgayTf56$fk)mdfa*UdE.
It looks complicated, right? Don’t worry. You don’t have to remember passwords that look like that for all of your accounts. That’s impossible.
The use of a password manager is the solution to remembering all the passwords. A password manager is a software application that serves as a vault for storing passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.
All password managers can automatically fill out your login credentials when you need them. Therefore, you don’t need to memorize them all. The only thing you need to remember is the main password.
Sample of password managers:
Activate Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
The 2FA is an added layer of protection when you log in to your account. After you input your password, the cloud storage will ask for a code.
The code is the only way for you to access your account. You’ll receive the code via SMS, email, or call.
Some cloud services even allow biometric authentication. It means, instead of receiving a code, you can access your account further with your fingerprint.
Activating 2FA makes it impossible for hackers to access your storage. It complicates the process of hacking unless the hacker steals your device.
One of the biggest mistakes anyone could ever make when storing data on the cloud is not backing them up. You need to back up your data no matter how secure your cloud storage says they are.
There are multiple ways to backup your data. You can either create a copy on another cloud storage or use an external drive. Either way, your data is safe in case of network interruption, natural disasters, and data corruption.
Never Store Sensitive Information
The Cloud is a great place to store data. In fact, you can use it as backup storage too. However, it is never advisable to keep sensitive information in it.
Always doubt that authentic privacy online can ever be achieved, even if said by the cloud provider.
Storing your details on the cloud can put you as an individual or your clients as a business at risk. As identity theft is increasing in number, your data on the cloud can be stolen.
You can store them on a physical storage drive or encrypt them when you upload them. But better yet, keep your info away from the cloud.
Choose a Cloud Service That Encrypts Data
Cloud services that offer local data encryption are often on the expensive side. But it’s always worth the investment.
Encryption will allow your data to stay safe on the cloud. No one, not even the service provider or admin, can access your files. Your login details are the only way for you to decrypt the cloud content.
Also, make sure that the service you choose provides encryption when you upload and download files.
Since most hackers like to spy using a free Wi-Fi connection, it’s best to encrypt not only the content but as it passes through tunnels of networks too. With military-grade encryption like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 265-bits), you can ensure a secured transfer.
But keep in mind that the process of syncing your files will take time if data has an additional encryption layer.
Audit Files, Devices, and Apps
Cloud storage allows the owner to share links to anyone they want, to access a folder or file. They can give another person permission to view, edit, or comment. It is an efficient feature, particularly for collaboration.
However, sharing your cloud data with others can be a risk. When someone gains access to the link you’ve shared, they can have access to your stored files.
Be sure to do an audit. Check on who needs to access your files, remove access to those who no longer use them, and limit access to some.
Aside from checking on people who can access your cloud data, you need to see which devices and apps are connected to your cloud storage.
Sometimes you might use a public computer or lose your device. When your cloud account is connected to the mentioned devices, anyone can access your file. Therefore, check the list of connected devices on your cloud storage. Revoke those you don’t recognize or use anymore.
The same goes for accounts or apps connected to your cloud. Check on the list of accounts that are connected to your cloud storage. Remove access to those that no longer need your cloud data.
Check on Your Online Practices
Sometimes your activities can be the reason why your cloud data gets hacked. Maybe you used a public computer and forgot to log out. Probably, you accidentally saved your password on the computer. Or, you used an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection.
These behaviors can expose your cloud data to anyone who gains access to the computer you use or hackers spying on free networks. Take extra precautions when using a public computer or network. But, as much as possible, don’t use them.
Turn On Alerts and Check Account Regularly
Check your account regularly, not only to remove files, apps, and devices connected but to check on them too. Regular file check ups will help you see if any suspicious activities are going on in your cloud storage.
Also, you can turn on alerts. Some cloud storages allow users to turn on alerts or notifications whenever someone signs in using another device. Notifications are sent when files or folders are added, deleted, or shared.
Enable the Recovery Option
Keep all your login details secured, including your recovery options. Make sure that the email for your password reset is one that you frequently use. Also, use security questions that are not easy to answer from people you know.
Read the Terms of Policy
We often subscribe to cloud storage due to its popularity or the features they offer. But cloud services are more than what you see on the surface.
The best way to learn more about the cloud storage you use is by reading their Terms of Policy. It is often in this document you’ll know what they do with your data.
Get to know the following information:
- How long do accounts stay active if not used for a long time?
- Do they immediately destroy data or keep them for a certain period when the account is deactivated?
- What happens to your data when the subscription expires?
- Do they collect data, and what are they?
- Do they share your data with a third party?
You can also search online for reviews about a cloud provider before subscribing to them.
Use a Powerful Antivirus Software Program
Your service provider’s security can have limits, and when discovered, it can be exploited. A better way to strengthen the security of your cloud storage is by using antivirus software.
Antivirus software is designed not only to scan for threats and placing suspicious files on quarantine. But, it is used to block suspicious activities on your device and online. It can even protect your accounts and devices from spyware.
Choosing the best antivirus software depends on your needs. For personal use, you can select software like Bitdefender Total Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, or McAfee LiveSafe. Meanwhile, business security software needs a more comprehensive approach. You can try Kaspersky Small Office for small business owners.
Add Password on Device and App
Aside from having a login account for your cloud storage, adding a password or PIN on your device and app can add extra security.
It keeps anyone away from your device as they cannot access it when a PIN is required. Even if it is stolen, they can find it difficult to open your device easily. Hence, it gives you time to locate your device or wipe your data remotely.
Add PIN or biometric lock to your apps too.
Sign Out from Account
It becomes a habit to leave our accounts signed in because we are used to them on our devices. But, it is important to sign out on devices you often share. Remember, it is better to take a step on accessing your file than letting it be exposed to danger.
Using cloud storage can bring plenty of benefits for you or your businesses, such as,
- Accessible at all times
- Enhances productivity
- Allows multiple users
But everything we share and keep online needs to be protected. So, no matter how secure a cloud provider says they are, take precautionary steps to secure your accounts. Follow the tips we have provided to keep your cloud data safe online.