Online Storage aka: Cloud Services
There are many services that handle online storage. You may even have one that was pre-installed when you purchased your computer.
Some examples are : Google Drive, iCloud, Microsoft One Drive, Dropbox, Acer Cloud -the list is extensive.
All the services revolve around the same idea. This is storage in a cloud format. Meaning that your data will be stored on a server computer that is owned by the cloud services company, and you will access your information through the internet.
You can use this storage space online as a backup , extra space or use it for a place to access files away from home. Most services come with a sharing option, making it easy for you to share a specific file with someone.
Many companies are starting to use this type of service to increase productivity – allowing multiple people to access data such as accounting and invoicing at the same time. Giving the ability of the home office to have data immediately as it is entered into the system.
So now your data is “Out there” in the cloud. You have less control over what happens to it. Are the services doing everything they can to prevent hacking and keeping your data secure?
Cloud storage security starts with YOU!
We must be sure that we have done our part to make sure our data is safe.
Here are some things to do :
- Strong Passwords: Make sure your passwords are strong. A strong combination of letters, numbers, Capitals, and special characters will go a long way in keeping you safe.
- Two Factor Authentication: If available turn of two factor authentication. This will help ensure that you are the only one accessing your data. Two factor can be frustrating .. but if your data needs to be secured -this is a really important step.
- Connected Devices : Every so often check which devices are connected to your cloud. Remove any devices no longer in use. * remove devices before selling or giving the device away!
- Check your files: Clean up in there once and a while… it can get messy! Also while you are thinking about it… be sure your stored material is not violating any rules of the Cloud service!
The services do everything they can to keep your data safe and secure. But they are far from hack-proof. Last year, hackers stole pictures of celebrities from iCloud and posted them online. iCloud blamed poor password protection on the clients behalf. That is why we must do our part to keep our passwords strong!
Google Drive is a special case… you really want to keep your password safe with google – as one password to your email opens all. You have full access to your drive if your have access to your email. This is handy for sure – but be diligent to keep it private.
“Attaining a 100% secure data storage solution is akin to grabbing your shadow; you can get very close but will never actually do it. So you have to determine what is ‘close enough’ as far as cloud services are concerned. This determination may be decided for you if you are a business which is regulated and has to meet compliance requirements, and that may mean that not all your data can be stored in the cloud.”
Davey Winder 3 May 2016 Article
Who Has Access?
If you noticed in step 4 – the cloud company is monitoring the material you are storing for violations. This means that the service you are using is looking at your data.
Microsoft removed a German photographers account and data when he “violated” their policies. Microsoft monitoring, censoring SkyDrive uploads?
Should I use a cloud service?
That depends on you!
Are you in need of using online storage to access your material online where ever you go? Then this might me an option for you.
Accounting : There recently has been a trend towards cloud service based accounting. Accountants are enjoying this new option. It makes it easy to access your data without leaving the office. Who wouldn’t love that convenience? I have a couple of things for you to think about before moving forward with a service that is cloud based for your accounting.
- Access : It’s online and the service you choose has access to your accounting data. It is not just you and your accountant!
- Security: How secure do you need your accounting data to be? Is the security of online storage “Good Enough” to meet your needs.
- Internet stability: How stable is your internet connection. Many rural businesses such as farms use xplornet or other wireless line of site internet and it is unreliable sometimes. Your account program will not work when the internet is down. So you need to be certain your connection is stable and always available before proceeding.
The bottom line is that you are in control of how you want to store your data. My aim is to inform of the risks and the steps to take to be certain you are doing your best to keep safe out there!