In the age of mobility, the cloud can be an incredibly useful, convenient, and powerful tool. With a connection to the internet, you can now virtually access your entire digital life anywhere and you can share it. But with such great accessibility comes the need for great security and vigilance. You’ve put yourself “out there,” but do you know where “out there” is? With the cloud it could literally be anywhere and so that means you’re going to want to know you’re protected.
There are several measures you can take to protect yourself and everything you’re storing on the cloud.
One of the most basic forms of internet protection is the password. For whatever cloud service you’re using, the use of a strong password is critical. It goes without saying, the strong, the better. You might be asking, what defines a strong password? That’s a good question, especially when so many password cracking tools exist and make defining “strong” difficult. Some good advice it to not use a password you’ve used on somewhere else, such as your email client. Create an all new password. Go into a word processor and gently smash your fist into your keyboard. There’s a decent password. Or put together a ridiculous string of words with no connection to one another.
Once you’ve come up with a password, remember to change it regularly. Make changing it a habit. Once a month. Every 90 days. Just keep it fresh. If you don’t need to access the cloud regularly, but keep stuff out there, be sure to monitor it. Even when you don’t need to, log in and look at your files. Take a few minutes, maybe weekly, to organize files, delete old documents, or change the password. Jeep yourself updated on the status of the account and make sure you still have control.
This ties in with using a unique password for your cloud service. Avoid using login credentials you’ve used elsewhere. When you use the same login name (and password), it opens up the threat of multiple accounts becoming compromised. Reduce your connections to other sites you have login information as much as possible. It can be a little confusing to have so much information to remember, but it’s an extra layer of protection to keep your internet identity safe. If you have to write your passwords and user names on a piece of paper and keep it in your desk, then go for it.
Since the cloud is designed to be accessible everywhere and be sharable, be aware of you who might be sharing your files and other content with. Are they trustworthy? Could they compromise the account? If you can’t answer those questions to your satisfaction, it might be time to lock down the account. Only share the account with people you know won’t compromise the account and keep the contents secure.
Know what you have stored in the cloud. What are you sharing? Something as seemingly innocent as a phone number on a document can make a potential intruder’s job much easier in acquiring further information about you. Be vigilant about everything you’ve stored on the internet and what you may have revealed about yourself.
Service Reliability and Security
Do you know what security protocols your cloud service has in place? If you don’t, you might want to check that out. What are they doing to not only protect your identity, but everything you’re storing on their service. And how reliable is that service? Will the information be there in the morning or will it be accidentally vaporized while you’re asleep? How much trust have you put into the internet and the cloud?
I would recommend encrypting your content whenever possible. While I don’t think your personal data will be analyzed, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.