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Just how secure is the Data you keep in the Clouds?

by Felix Omondi
cloud storage

Every day, individuals and businesses are churning out more data than they can economically be able to store themselves. Even if they can store them, there is the issue of easy data access and handling. For such reasons, cloud storage is increasingly becoming popular.

You see individuals, businesses, and schools among other organizations turning to cloud storage solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, and Amazon Drive among others. There is no doubt that with the amount of data being stored in the clouds, how easy it becomes to access them across devices from various locations, the levels of data management, and more recently the ability of real-time co-working. Cloud storage is the cheaper and efficient data storage solution. There is no doubt about that.

However, just how secure is your data? Is it just you who can access your data? How about the cloud storage service provider, how secure are they from hacking? What is their level of ethics; can they be snooping into your data without your knowledge? Is there a possibility they will hand over your data to government agencies, without due protocols?

These are very critical questions you need to ask yourself. These questions should also inform your decision on which cloud storage service provider you should use.

Although these companies try to reassure us that our data are stored in encrypted format by default. Then again, how many times have we heard of cases where hackers crack an encryption? The keys to these encryptions are stored in servers, and hackers can hack into some of these servers and obtain unrestricted access to your data.

There is always the option of the decryption key being stored by the service providers themselves, or it is given to the users to keep. However, the trend has been that the providers keep the keys, and each time you log into your cloud storage account, the providers decrypt the data for your use. Once you log out, it becomes encrypted again.

Protect yourself by using a Trusted and Verified Service

At the end of the day, it is you who stands to lose your privacy and security should your data stored in the cloud becomes accessible to unauthorized parties. That said, to better protect yourself, choose a cloud storage provider who is trusted in the market.

In addition to being trusted, the provider should also use an open-source and verifiable application for uploading and downloading your data. The application should also have foolproof authentication process, to ensure only authentic users are granted access.

You can also take your security a notch higher by keeping your data in encrypted folders that are password protected. Then you can then upload that file to your cloud storage provider’s servers. That way, you enjoy double the level of security.

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