How Private or Safe Is Your Personal Data in the Cloud?

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

Cloud Storage is now the order of the day. More and more people are opting for cloud-based storage options. Before now, it was compulsory to have a hard drive or some storage device where you keep your digital data. While that method is still functional, Cloud storage is now the ultimate option for storage. Many Cloud-based storage platforms now exist that offer cloud-based storage services to the public. While these cloud services may defer in one way or another, their primary purpose is to store data. 

While the cloud may be considered safe and private, it is worth investigating how secure and confidential it is. Is your data safe on the Cloud? Well, let’s answer that question. 

What Is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a cloud computing platform that allows users to store data on the internet via a service provider. What this means is that your data is stored on your chosen platform on the net. Different services allot different storage thresholds. The advantages of using cloud storage include:

1. Cost-effectiveness

Using cloud storage is less expensive than using a hard drive. Hard drives are expensive to purchase. On the other hand, the cloud space comes at a monthly subscription, which does not compare to the cost of a hard drive. Maintaining extensive physical storage requires many hardware and even software handling and maintenance, which incurs additional expenses. With cloud storage, there is no need for such extra expenditures on maintenance. All you pay for is your space. 

2. Scalability 

When you use hardware storage, you have to buy as much as you need. However, after purchasing the hardware, it can become a liability when you no longer need it. Cloud storage, on the other hand, is scalable. You can choose to scale up when you need more space or scale down when you need less space. You can always adjust cloud storage to suit the needs of your business. 

3. Ease of Access 

You can access your files stored in a cloud from wherever you are in the world. All you need is an internet connection. You can use the services on multiple devices; it is also straightforward to share files and data with others using cloud settings. All you need is to create an access link for the file and send it to whoever you want to grant access to. 

4. Disaster Control

Most times, your hard drive could malfunction, crash, or stop working altogether. Such anomalies do not happen with cloud storage. Your files are kept safe in the cloud. If your data is on the cloud, then you can be sure there would be no such disastrous anomalies.

How Safe Is Cloud Storage?

It depends on what is considered ‘safe.’ If safety here is the ability to keep your files safe in the cloud so that you don’t lose them, then the cloud is by all means secure. However, if what you consider safety is impenetrability, then the cloud is not safe. Hackers and cybercriminals abound. You haven’t heard from them because your data is not of any importance to them.  Cloud storage accounts are liable to hacking, and so it is safe to say that your information is not safe in the cloud storage. 

Is Cloud Storage Private?

Just like the previous question, it’s a bit dicey. Again it depends on what you mean when you say privacy. If Mr “A” keeps his data in Cloud storage, Mr “B” cannot have access to it except Mr “A” shares it with him. Only Mr “A” knows the content of what is stored in the Cloud. He alone knows the password to his cloud account. This, in a sense, is privacy. But when you begin to expand the scope to include the Cloud service providers and the government, then the issue of privacy becomes null and void. 

In the first place, the Cloud service providers mostly have access to the data saved on their Cloud services. You might claim that there is no proof of this. But when you bring the government into the picture, you see how possible it is. 

It is no secret that the government demands data from these service providers every year. It is up to the service providers to either agree or not. There are cases when these companies oblige and give data to the government. If the government and the service providers can view and make transactions involving your data, there is no privacy. 

Can the Cloud Be More Secure?

Yes, the cloud can be more secure. There are steps that providers take to make their cloud services more secure. There are different types of cloud security controls that cloud services can put in place to make their security systems more effective. Do take note that not all cloud services use these different means to secure their data. Let’s look at a few ways that data can be secured. 

1. Deterrent Controls

Deterrent controls are put in place to reduce attacks on a cloud system. They are placed as warning signs to wade off potential attackers by informing them of the adverse consequences that would follow should they proceed with their intent to infiltrate the cloud system.

2. Preventive Controls

Preventive controls are put in place to eliminate all vulnerabilities (where possible). It is to protect the cloud against all kinds of attacks. An example is the use of strong authentication for cloud setups. It is impossible to infiltrate such a system with such authentication settings, especially if the authentications are Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).  

3. Detective Controls

Detective controls are put in place to detect any breach in a cloud system’s security setup and then act appropriately. In the case of an attack, a reasonable detective control will trigger the preventive or corrective controls to take action. This is an essential aspect of a cloud’s security system as there may be no preventive or corrective action taken if the detective control is not functional. 

4. Corrective Controls

In the case of an attack, a corrective control measure is more likely to be triggered. It can significantly reduce the damage that can be inflicted due to an attack. Locking down an account and restoring systems backups after an attack are examples of corrective measures. Another example of corrective control is the prompt to change your pin or password after an attack or attempted attack. 

Measures You Can Take to Secure Your Data

While the company can try to secure your data the best possible, it is also your responsibility to secure your data on the cloud. Here are a few precautionary measures you could take to secure your account. 

1. Data Encryption 

You can encrypt data before uploading it to the cloud. This makes it impossible for anyone without the key to decrypt the document. This helps add an extra layer of security to your file. Also, there are cloud systems that offer data encryption. Using such service providers further secures your data. 

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Finding a cloud service that uses MFA is another way you can protect your data. A cloud system that offers MFA would be close to unhackable. This is because your account is secured with two or more security layers, most of which are peculiar to you. 

3. Data backup

Another preventive major you can consider is backing up your data. You’ve indeed backed it up on one cloud service. But have you considered backing up to a hard drive or another cloud system? You never know what might happen. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Conclusion

There is no system, either online or offline, that offers 100% security and privacy. While the cloud does what it can to secure your data online, you must put in the necessary effort to also secure your data.

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