How to protect your cloud storage from hacking?

The concept of cloud storage has become more common these days especially when offered commercially since it’s more cost effective for a large corporation to store data on an off-site data center. It is cheaper and they don’t have to worry about finding space for storing data on server which can be the size of a warehouse. However, at individual level, it is preferred less over local storage devices like flash drive, hard drive and disk drive.

What is cloud storage?

To talk about the security level of cloud storage, we’ll first have to talk about what cloud storage is. Cloud storage is an off-site data warehouse where data is transferred and stored. It can be accessed anywhere in the world provided an Internet access is available. You can store virtually anything in a cloud storage model. I say virtually, because you are transferring it over the Internet on a web-based interface or Application Programming Interface (API) so it makes it seem like it is stored virtually.

Audio, video, documents, and any other forms of data that you can think of can be stored on a cloud storage location. You also have the option of choosing to share files with others. Saving messages or draft on your email is actually a type of cloud storage. However, to store data on it, you’ll have to pay according to the storage capacity and other factors as imposed by cloud storage companies.

Hacking and Security Issues

Hackers don’t need to visit your house or office and use your computer to access data. They do it over the Internet through various means like email, attachments in downloads, and so on. Since cloud storage is the process of transferring, storing, and sharing data on a remote data center over the Internet, people question its integrity and security.

To figure out the level of security cloud storage provides; we first need to ask ourselves how we actually get hacked. A hacker simply cannot access my system without a medium of connecting my computer to theirs and the medium usually is the Internet. But if all the right measures are taken, then the risk of being hacked becomes close to none. Securing your system, having a good and updated anti-virus, using strong passwords that are not common like your name, date of birth, not opening attachments and emails of unknown senders, and so much more will keep your data safe. The same applies for cloud storage.

Just because you transfer your data over the Internet to a third party server doesn’t mean the chances of your data getting hacked is relatively high. Making sure that the cloud storage data center is secure will assure you that your data won’t get stolen. Find out about the measures cloud storage companies are taking to protect data. Ask what level of encryption and firewalls they are using and how safe is the process of data transfer from and to the data center before you start storing data onto their servers.

Hacking normally happens not because of the shortcomings of systems but rather because of human operators. Not taking proper measures like downloading free software or anything that is free, using an outdated antivirus and a weak or common password are generally the reasons you get hacked. So, it is through the user that a hacker can gain access to the system.

To ensure that your data is protected, make sure you’ve done all of the following:

• Use a strong password.
A strong password contains a combination of symbols, numbers, special characters like _, $ and so on. It should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters. Make sure you change your password periodically too – weekly, monthly or quarterly.

• Update your Anti-Virus
An outdated antivirus can pretty much be used to clean your garage. There are new viruses, Trojans, Worms, Botnets etc. so make sure your antivirus is updated.

• Do not accept malicious email.
Do not open emails and file attachments and spam from unknown senders.

• Avoid connecting an unsecure WiFi.

• Avoid freeware.
Do not download freeware unless you are absolutely sure of it. Make sure that the website is trustworthy before downloading anything. Hackers attach worms, viruses onto files that look and work normally.

• Do not share your password.
You have a password so that no one else can access your system. If you are going around telling people your password, then it’s better not to have one instead.

• Set your cloud storage data sharing permission
Make sure you know whether you have opted to keep your stored data private or if you are sharing them with others.

• Find out about the company whose cloud storage service you’ll be paying for
Store your data only on data centers of companies which uses an effective encryption when transferring data to and from your system and the data center itself. Know all about the security measures taken by the company to ensure your data is secure as well.

Guest Post submitted by Michelle