Is cloud storage safe, secure and private? 5 things you need to consider

For the most part, almost all cloud services are at least as secure as a local or physical hard drive. But not all clouds are as safe and secure as others. Some cloud storage (opens in a new tab) providers offer far more private services than others, or they may have specific security features that are light years ahead of their competitors.

When choosing a cloud storage service provider, it is wise to do a little research to determine if the cloud service is as secure as they are marketed for (opens in a new tab) say the teams.

Below are five things to consider when determining how safe, secure, and provisioned a cloud service is and whether you should trust them with all your data:

Storage vendor reputation and reviews? And who owns it!

It might seem a little obvious, but looking at a cloud storage provider’s reviews can help you determine which cloud is the most secure and private. Most of the time, cloud security boils down to technical aspects that can be difficult to understand unless you have a degree in computer science or engineering.

The good news is that there are plenty of smart, tech-savvy people looking at different clouds and all too happy to voice their opinions online. If tons of people are complaining about download/upload speeds or insisting on bugs, you should probably ignore this provider.

Also, is the company open-source (opens in a new tab), and communicate honestly with the public and their customers? Otherwise, you can’t be too sure what’s going on behind closed servers.

Be sure to browse the provider’s “About Us” section on their website and check who owns the majority of the business or if they use servers provided by larger tech companies. Just because a vendor is acting legitimate doesn’t mean they’re not subject to a Big Tech company that’s super lax on cybersecurity (opens in a new tab). A poor parent company is a huge red flag when selecting a safe and secure cloud storage service.

The technology used by the cloud to protect your data

How a cloud protects your data is the most crucial thing to consider when choosing the right service for you. It is essential to ask the right questions when evaluating a cloud’s technical commitment to privacy and security specifications:

  • Is the data encrypted? At rest and in transit? And how does the cloud store my password (or encryption key)
  • What type of encryption (opens in a new tab) do they use, and is it a newer or slightly outdated type of encryption?
  • Do I have to provide personal information to open an account or can I do it anonymously?
  • Is the cloud source code open source, publicly available, and independently verifiable?
  • Does the cloud store all user data in a central server location or on a peer-to-peer network?
  • How long are shared files accessible and what degree of agency is given to recipients?
  • Can the storage provider access your data or files? Can another party or person access your data or files?
  • How is the service regulated and monitored? Via an anonymous blockchain or other less secure methods?
  • Is the service compatible with the devices you use?
  • Does the service regularly release updates, patches, and bug fixes?

Some technologies are safer than others. As a general rule, the newer and more modern the technology used, the more secure the service is likely to be.

A cloud service must be transparent in explaining how it protects its data. You don’t need to be a computer expert and know anything specific, but the vendor information should be clear and complete.

Free or paid?

Free is usually always better, but that’s not always the case when it comes to cloud services. Many companies offer small plans so you can try out their cloud service, and for the most part these are as secure and secure as their paid standard service. Many of these free cloud storages (opens in a new tab) the plans don’t come with all the regular vendor features, though they’re still a viable alternative for those on a budget.

Providers that provide all of their services for free and sound too good to be true probably are. It’s not that their cloud service is poor. It’s that they’re probably making money in some way from your data. There’s no free lunch, and if you’re not paying for a product, you’re probably the product.

Google Drive (opens in a new tab) is a great example. Yes, their collaboration features are top-notch and widely adopted, but the company is notorious for its privacy breaches. Your data enriches Big Tech – privacy and security are far from their priority.

Read the cloud privacy policy

Who actually reads the terms and conditions before clicking “Yes”, right? You should when it comes to a service that will house all your valuable information. Companies are legally required to tell you what they do with your data. It is crucial to understand what it is BEFORE you start storing files and photos with their cloud service.

It will take some of your free time, but you will discover dirty little secrets that will be an automatic break. Also check information on a company’s website. Their mission, views on privacy, and how they generate revenue can give you clues to their overall trustworthiness.

Get a second opinion

Still unsure if a cloud is safe, secure, or private? Still not sure if the provider is one of the privacy good guys or bad guys? You don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

Lots of privacy (opens in a new tab) online safety and human rights organizations work to protect the fundamental digital rights of humanity. These organizations have tons of educational resources and information designed to help you make smarter choices on the World Wide Web.

Learn what these advocates say about certain cloud services (and the company that provides them) while you search for secure storage. Knowledge is your best ally in finding safe and secure web services.

Is cloud digital storage safe?

Yes! Cloud storage is safe, and it’s a good idea to back up your files and photos to the cloud.

That said, not all clouds are created equal. Some are safer, more secure, and more private than others. You need to do your research before jumping into a service. Consider the five ways to determine if cloud storage is safe above, and you’ll be fine.

Be vigilant, be curious and curious about your privacy online. Being proactive is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your data on the Internet. Now go ahead and find yourself the perfect cloud!

We’ve featured the best online cloud backup services (opens in a new tab).

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