The use of cloud storage has become increasingly popular. This is not surprising since apart from preserving your files, cloud storage also provides tools which are useful in collaborative work. Apart from this, cloud storage is more accessible   a physical drive. It is not susceptible to getting damaged like a hard drive, either. Lastly, you wouldn’t worry about forgetting or losing your files just like you would in a hard drive since you can access your files through the cloud in the devices where you are logged in.

As with other things digital, the primary concern over the use of cloud storage is security.

How are my files secured in the cloud?

Baseline security procedures such as authentication, access control, and encryption are provided by most cloud storage providers. Attackers can still access these files. At the same time, governments can legally request cloud storage providers to let them view whatever users store in the cloud.

Knowing that you’re files aren’t 100 per cent safe or private, you yourself as a cloud user should take precautionary steps to ensure the security of your files.

What can I do to make sure my files are safe?

Files uploaded in the cloud are encoded with an encryption key. Most cloud storage providers handle the key themselves. They do this to make it easier to unlock the data for the users. At the same time, this allows them to index the data uploaded which is used to build the searching and real-time editing capabilities of these services.

For heightened security, you should consider services which let you keep the keys yourself. There are services online that gives the role of keeping the encryption keys to the users, by requiring them to upload and download their files through specific applications which have encryption capabilities. Since these service providers don’t have access to the keys, there is neither a search function not a real-time editing feature for the user to use. The cost of that heightened security is less convenience.

Even this method isn’t perfect. There is still a period before encryption for uploading and after decryption before downloading which attackers can take advantage of to access your files.

One way to further ensure the security is to encrypt your files with a third-party encryption software before even uploading them to the cloud. There is free and cheap software out there which will enable you to do this, so there isn’t really much of an excuse not to take that extra step.

Your files, your responsibility

Since these are files that you treasure, the responsibility to keep them safe in the cloud is yours. Fortunately, you are capable of doing so. It is a matter of wisely choosing the cloud storage service you will use and the tools that will augment the baseline security the service provides you.

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