Cloud storage has become an increasingly popular way to back up files and share data across devices. However, there are some security risks associated with storing data in the cloud that users should be aware of. This article provides tips on how to use cloud storage safely and avoid common pitfalls when relying on cloud-based services.
How to Use Cloud Storage Safely
Below I will teach you few ways which will be helpful for you to use Cloud Storage Safely.
Choose a Reputable Provider
When selecting a cloud storage provider, go with a well-known, established company with a track record of providing secure services. Avoid lesser-known providers that may not have robust security measures in place. Leading options like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud are good choices that undergo frequent security audits.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security beyond just a password to log in to an account. With 2FA enabled, accessing your cloud storage will require providing two forms of identification from a combination of options like a temporary code sent via text, a generated code from an authenticator app, biometric ID like fingerprint/face scan, or a security key.
Though an extra step, 2FA makes it much harder for unauthorized users to access your account and data. Most major cloud services offer 2FA as an optional security setting.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Always avoid weak passwords that are easy to guess, like birthdays, pet names or simple number/word combinations. Cybercriminals routinely attempt to crack cloud storage accounts with common passwords. Creating a strong password means using a random mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that would be difficult to guess.
Make the password for your cloud account unique – don’t reuse passwords from other sites or accounts, as a breach of one could expose the rest. Consider using a password manager to generate and store strong, unique passwords.
Set Up App-Specific Passwords
If accessing cloud accounts from mobile apps, create unique app passwords instead of the main account password. App passwords can be revoked without having to change the main password. In the event an app password is compromised, other apps using the main password are not exposed. App passwords provide an added layer of protection for mobile cloud access.
Be Wary of Public Computers/Wi-Fi
Only access cloud accounts and services from private, trusted devices and networks. Never enter login credentials or sensitive data on public computers or over public Wi-Fi. Doing so exposes your username, password and stored cloud data to potential snooping.
Even on private networks, use a virtual private network (VPN) for added security when accessing cloud services. A VPN encrypts internet traffic, masking your online activity and location.
Enable Remote Device Wipe
Losing access to a linked mobile device could also mean losing control of synced cloud data. To prevent this, enable remote wipe capabilities from your cloud dashboard. This allows wiping data from synced devices if ever lost or stolen, keeping cloud contents safe even if device access is compromised. Be sure to wipe lost mobile devices promptly after remote wipe is activated.
While cloud providers encrypt data in storage and transit by default, consider adding an extra layer of encryption at the file level before uploading to cloud storage. This renders files unreadable by the provider or any unauthorized party that may access the account. Encrypting files before upload provides an added safeguard for sensitive data. Use downloaded encryption tools or built-in operating system encryption capability.
Limit Shared Access
While sharing files through cloud storage can be convenient, use caution when granting shared access to others. Never share more cloud access than necessary. To maintain control, share specific files with collaborators rather than entire storage folders.
Also restrict external sharing access settings for accounts to prevent accidental over exposure of data. Routinely check shared links and file permissions to ensure access is not inadvertently open to others.
Back Up The Cloud
While cloud storage provides an off-site backup of files from local devices, also consider backing up your cloud contents offline. Should anything happen to cloud accounts or providers, having an alternate copy of cloud data avoids potential permanent loss. Periodically download important cloud files to external drives and backup devices. Also maintain local copies of files before uploading to the cloud for redundancy.
Stay vigilant in monitoring account activity by enabling email alerts for actions like login attempts, password/security changes and file sharing. Routinely check account logs for any unauthorized or suspicious access incidents. Promptly change credentials if any potential compromise of cloud accounts is detected. Being vigilant about monitoring actions can help limit damage from a breach.
Remove Files Completely
Simply deleting files from cloud storage may not fully erase them from accounts. Deleted files can remain in system caches or backups even after removal. For sensitive files, use available account settings to fully purge items from all cloud storage systems upon deletion. This includes emptied trash and recycling bins which should also be routinely emptied. Fully removing files helps prevent remnant data from remaining accessible.
Disconnect Inactive Sessions
Over time, active sessions from devices, browsers and apps can accumulate in cloud accounts. These provide backdoor access to cloud contents long after use. Routinely check account settings for a list of currently connected sessions and log out any that are no longer needed or familiar. Also consider automatically disconnecting inactive sessions through settings to require fresh logins after prolonged lack of activity.
Disable WhatsApp Backup
Be careful what apps you allow to back up app data to linked cloud accounts, like messaging platforms. For privacy, disable WhatsApp chat backups to cloud storage in app settings. This prevents exposed chat logs and media if cloud accounts are ever compromised. Only back up essential app data to the cloud and exclude apps containing more sensitive conversations or info.
Cloud storage enables convenient anywhere access to data across devices while providing centralized backups of important files. But improper use and configuration of cloud services can put privacy and security at risk. Following best practices like enabling 2FA, creating strong passwords, limiting share access and monitoring account activity can help safeguard your data. With proper precautions, cloud storage can be used safely without sacrificing security.