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People love cloud applications—and we should! They make our personal and professional lives more productive, efficient, and fun.
But as we continue to leverage the cloud for tasks ranging from business critical to utterly useless, we’re finding ourselves over-subscribing to cloud services and—worst of all—looking at security as simply an afterthought.
Let’s face it:
Most of us are guilty of checking out just about any cloud service that comes along. A click here, a download there—connecting is easy and we can store our pictures for free, share our documents with everyone, and never be out of touch.
Our “Mobile First, Cloud First” world makes it so easy to put all our stuff in the ever-expanding cloud without us having to think twice about it.
Unfortunately, there can be some consequences to our cloud service indecision.
Which cloud can we trust? What happens if a cloud gets hacked and my data is lost or stolen? How do we even find our stuff when it’s scattered all over the virtual landscape?
In the cloud, we give away little bits of ourselves every day.
We’re letting cloud services hold the keys to our kingdoms and, because of this, they’re increasingly among the most exploited by cybercriminals.
Use Google Drive? You might not know that it was recently an attack target for hackers deploying the CryotoWall ransomware virus.
Use Slack at work? You should know that hackers got into Slack’s central user database, unseen, for up to 4 days.
This is not a warning to unplug, though. Too much cloud can be a good thing.
Just remember to put security first and be discriminating when choosing cloud services. I’m as guilty as the next person of loving the cloud and everything it provides, but I’m also pragmatic about its potential pitfalls.
As Chief Evangelist for a cloud backup provider, I know that things can go wrong—and that a little prevention is far better than having to fix a big problem.
Here are 5 easy steps you can take to help make sure your cloud connections are safe, well-organized, and easy to use:
It’s important to keep track of where your data lives and how to get it when you need it.
A simple spreadsheet that contains the name of the cloud services you’re using and a description of the data stored there is a great way to keep track.
Not a fan of spreadsheets?
No problem. Use a Word document or just grab a notebook and make a list.
Remember that storage does not equal cloud backup.
For example, cloud backup services offer automated backup of new or changed digital files.
With local or cloud storage, you have to remember to do it manually.
Storage is great for keeping static files in one centralized location, sharing files with friends and co-workers, and synchronizing files across devices.
Cloud backup, meanwhile, is great for automatically creating a comprehensive backup of your computer files. Cloud backup also continuously monitors your system for changes to files, so it can back those up, too.
To keep the absolute highest level of security, it’s a good idea to have both storage and cloud backup, in fact.
Read those Terms of Service and End User Licensing Agreements. Find out exactly what “free” means and how your information could be used.
And remember: “Free” usually means that your information is being monetized in some way.
Do you know where your data is going when you connect to a new cloud? Is your data encrypted? Can you get it all back easily? Is this something you really need?
Think about these things for just a minute or two and you could be saving yourself lots of future misery.
You own your data, so you need to be responsible for it.
Before handing it over it over to a cloud provider, don’t forget the real value and meaning in that data. You get to make the final call on what happens to it.
The cloud is changing our world in many ways… And the fun is really just getting started.
Let’s all keep our cloud services as secure as possible and do our best to keep our valuable data out of the wrong hands.