Securing Your Files in the Cloud

cloud securityYou must have already heard about Kim Dotcom’s new cloud storage site, Mega. It gives you a whopping 50 GB of space that you can use to store copies of your documents, photos, videos and other files online for free. Aside from Mega, there is a score of other cloud storage services providers are now available and most of them give free initial storage space to their users. The growing number of cloud storage providers and the advantages of having backups of your important files in the cloud give you no reason not to avail of the benefits of free cloud storage.

Keeping Your Files Safe

Before you get too excited about using the cloud to back up your precious files, it helps to have some know-how on securing the files that you upload and store in remote servers on the internet. This is to protect you and your valuable files should there be instances when your cloud server gets compromised or hacked. Yes, even cloud servers can get hacked. Take the case of the 2012 hacking incident that happened to Dropbox, one of the leading providers of cloud storage space. Here are some of the best practices that you should observe to secure your files in the cloud.

Avoid storing anything sensitive on the cloud

Most cloud storage service providers keep their users’ files in a highly secured and encrypted network. Some cloud storage providers even use highly sophisticated encryption technologies that ensure only authorized people get access to particular data and files. This doesn’t mean it is safe to upload sensitive files to your cloud storage account though. Cloud storage spaces serve as your storehouse for important files so you have backups or alternative copies in case your own files get damaged or lost. Cloud storage spaces are not intended as your digital safe for keeping sensitive information such as your banking accounts, PINs and passwords.  Thus, you should avoid storing sensitive data on the cloud that you wouldn’t want others to see or have access to. Examples of these sensitive data are your financial information, usernames and passwords and top secret documents. Anything that you’re afraid of sending over email shouldn’t be sent and stored in the cloud. Try to memorize your passwords and account information instead or write them down and keep them somewhere safe rather than send them for “safekeeping” online.

Protect your files with a password

You can add a layer of protection to the files that you keep in your cloud storage account in case your cloud service provider gets compromised. You can prevent anyone from easily prying into your files by using password protection to secure your files. Most file compression tools allow you to create a password protected zip file. You can also use Cloudfogger, TrueCrypt and BoxCryptor to encrypt your files for safety.

Monitor your account’s activity log

Has someone been able to access your cloud storage account? Try to check your account’s activity log from time to time and see if someone’s been getting their hands on your files. Monitoring your log will give you an idea if someone has been removing or adding files to your online storage without your permission. Contact your cloud server provider right away if your record shows suspicious activities taking place in your account.

Change your password regularly

It also helps if you change your password regularly in case somebody gets hold of your password. Try to choose a password that’s difficult to guess. You should also avoid recycling passwords. This means not using the same password that you already use in your virtual PBX or other online accounts.