The rise of cloud-based services such as Dropbox and iCloud helps people keep lots of information in one single place. But as recent scandals involving celebrities showed us, hackers find ways to get into our personal information, from uploading private photos to sharing social security numbers. This doesn't mean you can't use these services or that they aren't safe. Protecting your accounts is both crucial and easy to do. Here are five ways to make sure your data doesn't get lost in the cloud.
Create Difficult Passwords
Image via Flickr by Automobile Italia
The worst thing to do when creating a new account is to use an easy password such as "12345" or "password," yet many people still do this. They feel it's too difficult to come up with and remember several unique passwords that are hard to hack. Use a password manager such as LastPass, which creates passwords with random letters and characters. You only have to create a master password, and your information is secure.
Add Two-Factor Authentication to Your Cloud
Companies such as Amazon and Google have added an extra step to log in to accounts. For example, the authentication adds questions that only you would know the answer to. These accounts also tell you if there is suspicious activity going on in your account. Set up alerts for your smartphone and email so that if hackers get into your information you can quickly put a stop to it.
Use Encryption to Protect Data
Your unique password is the first step in preventing hackers from accessing your files, but if they manage to get through, encrypting your data is the next step to stop them. Many strong encryption schemes exist, including enterprise-owned keys, which are produced specifically for each client to encrypt their data before uploading it to the cloud. Some products have enhanced security features to detect threats occurring in your account and can use that information to prevent attacks from happening.
Back Up Information to a Local Server
This sounds time-consuming, but it never hurts to have added backup. A virus or even a server crash has the potential to wipe out sensitive and personal information. Using a local server keeps your documents handy without the need to upload to the internet. If you only have a few documents you want to protect, buy an external hard drive for your computer.
Check All Your Connected Accounts
If you use a service like Dropbox, you can also connect your email accounts to get access to it. This helps if multiple people are working on a presentation and need to access files, but once the presentation is over, make sure those email addresses aren't still connected. If someone leaves the company and information isn't deleted, a hacker could have easy access to download sensitive company information.
Cloud-based data storage companies are constantly updating their servers to keep information safe from hackers. But you must also take proactive steps like these so no one can get to your personal information or even wipe your family vacation photos.