Data security and cloud storage

Cloud storage is a service that allocates an amount of online storage space to a member subscriber that is accessible through the account login user name and password. Its like having a remote hard drive that is available to only you and the people you allow to have access, regardless of where in the world you are. There are several providers of cloud services; Microsoft and Apple each offer one, with at least 5GB storage offered for free.

Moving storage and sharing to one of the various cloud services makes a lot of sense. It enables the data to be available across various devices, often between PCs and Macs without issue. Whether personal photos and files or business info, it makes good sense to become familiar with these tools.

But there can be a dark side to this convenience. This article from ZD Net explains a new threat to iCloud accounts. As the article explains, the compromised account credentials were taken from third-party sites. The potential number of accounts affected can be in the tens of millions.

Then, there is this article, again from ZDNet, regarding an outage at Microsoft that kept users from logging in to the cloud services. While not a security breach, its still a shortcoming of a cloud-based service. Luckily, OneDrive, the Microsoft cloud service like iCloud, saves a copy of the file on the local PC, so when your Internet connection goes out, or you can’t log in to the service, at least you can get some work done. The files will re-synchronize the next time you can log in.

Even with some downsides, I still recommend putting your business data in one or more cloud services. But with these tools as with any essential business tools, I strongly urge you to take no chances and change your passwords to these services now. And set a reminder to change the passwords every 90 days or so. That way, if the passwords do get compromised by someone else’s negligence, you will still have control of your accounts. I know that keeping track of all these passwords can be a burden, so consider using a password vault like Keepass or LastPass.

Leave a comment on which services you use, and why, and how you keep your data safe.

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