Are Your Files Safe in the Cloud?

Thanks to cloud storage, you can upload your files and free up storage space. This saves you money since you don’t have to buy an external hard drive or upgrade your computer’s storage capacity. But are your files safe in the cloud?

odriveEncryption and Keys

Surprisingly, you shouldn’t be too worried about your files staying on Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. The truth is that cloud-stored data is almost always protected through encryption. This makes it difficult for hackers to understand the data even if they get their way in. Unless they have the encryption key, strangers can’t just view and comprehend the stored files.

Some cloud storage systems keep their keys for themselves while others provide them to the users. SpiderOak, for example, lets their users keep the encryption keys. It won’t be easy searching for a specific file since the data isn’t indexed, but you have control over the keys. The problem is when you misplace the keys or get them stolen.

The best option is for only the system to have access to the keys. The system needs keys to handle and index user data, which is why it’s easy for users to search for a particular file. Moreover, the service will automatically use the key to give the user access to their files when they log in. Unless there are significant security flaws within the cloud storage system, the keys and your data are safe.

Multiple Copies and VPN

One of the great things about cloud storage services is that they replicate data. Your data has at least two other copies stored in different areas. Even if one hard drive is damaged and all the data there are lost, you still have two sources of the same data. All three hardware locations can experience failure — and you’d still be able to recover the data after a couple of days.

If someone sees your login details, the encryption features of a cloud storage service won’t be of any help. Thus, it’s essential to keep your online activities away from third-party groups. A VPN is an affordable yet effective way of improving digital security. You might ask, “If I have a VPN do I need a proxy?” With a VPN, you have complete internet security unlike a proxy, which does not hide your IP address or encrypt your data.

Overall, cloud storage is a nifty and relatively safe way to keep your files. As long as you don’t share your password and keep your internet activity secure, you shouldn’t worry too much. But just to be safe, don’t upload files you deem too sensitive.