Financial records? You bet.
The easy answer is this: if it exists digitally, it can find a home in the cloud. A better question is, “How secure is that home?” The answer depends on you. Here are three things to consider.
Cloud storage providers are no different from other retailers in that some are better than others at what they do. So look for the best in class. You can start your due diligence with a simple Google search and continue it with direct questions to cloud storage providers.
For example, has the storage company you’re considering been the victim of a cyberattack? Several attacks? Or has it won awards for multiple layers of security and the strength of its private network? Is the company a trusted name that’s been around for decades, or is it a small start-up offering a $9.99 sale in the cloud? Is the company compliant with privacy regulations? Will your uploaded information always be encrypted? Never assume that all cloud storage providers offer the same levels of security.
Private cloud storage vs. public cloud storage
According to Wired.com, close to $20 billion annually will be spent on combined private and public storage by 2017. Both options are fueled by a voracious demand for data storage; however, each has its own pros and cons depending on the user’s needs. A private cloud is a virtual private data center that exists solely for you, is therefore customizable, and is usually hosted at your location with private access and the highest level of security. A public cloud supports multiple clients, is usually hosted at the provider’s location, and is often accessed over a less secure network. The benefit of a public cloud is its price — it runs about half of the cost of a private network. Depending on what you’re planning to store — customer information, for example — it may be worth investing more for peace of mind.
- Passwords are meant to be private
This can’t be emphasized enough. Your cloud storage is about as safe as your password is private. Don’t share it with friends, co-workers, or your assistant. Create a strong password that isn’t based on information that could be found on your Facebook profile. Change it regularly, and don’t write it down. A password like OhwPR3yago (our honeymoon was Puerto Rico three years ago) will be harder to crack than Fido123. The password you engineer to protect your cloud data is more effective at keeping your private data private rather than the actual cloud service that you might choose.
Your cloud storage is about as safe as your password is private. Don’t share it with friends, co-workers, or your assistant.
The cloud is a powerful solution, but with great power comes great responsibility. Remember: it’s not what you store in the cloud that matters as much as what you expect of — and the accountability you take for — that storage.