How Secured Is Our Data Stored In The Cloud?

It’s when instead of relying on a single, stand-alone computer, you take advantage of online processing power and data storage. Data moves from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones into computers and storage devices in large industrial facilities. Popular services like Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook, and Twitter are based on the idea of cloud computing.

Cloud computing has many advantages, such as:

  • People and organizations can buy as much computing power and storage as they need without having to set up and manage their own facilities.
  • Data in the cloud can be combined, analyzed, and shared, making the data more useful.
  • Data is much less likely to be lost. Your photos, for example, won’t be gone if you drop your phone in the ocean.
  • Cloud-based data are generally more secure than data stored on a home computer connected to the Internet.

Data stored in the cloud is typically encrypted, and anyone wanting to access that data needs to have the digital key. Also, big cloud computing companies have hired some of the world’s best data security experts. And they store the same data in multiple places in case hardware breaks or part of a system is compromised. To date, most of the biggest data breaches have exploited traditional computers at companies, not data stored in the cloud.

So, is it completely secured?

Well, no security system is foolproof. A rogue employee or government agency with access to the data could misuse the information. Or the software that encrypts data could be hacked, allowing others to access it. Or if your password is stolen, the thief could access your data.

Can the cloud computing company access the data?

Usually, the service providers have the digital key to the encryption so that they can process a user’s data—for example, by indexing the data for future searches. But some service providers enable only the users to have the key to their data, despite objections by governments that they sometimes need access for law enforcement or national security purposes.

How to protect data stored in the cloud?

Though data stored in the cloud are already encrypted, even greater security is possible.

  • People can encrypt their data before loading it into the cloud and unencrypt the information when the data is retrieved. But this can be inconvenient and limits what can be done with the data while it’s stored.
  • The same software used to encrypt data can be used to determine whether a file has changed since it was uploaded. That way, people can tell if their data has been tampered with.
  • Having a hard-to-guess password remains a good way to protect sensitive data.
  • Two-factor authentication—for example, using both a password and a randomly generated, time-sensitive “token” to connect to a cloud-based service—provides an additional layer of security.
  • People can also become more familiar with the security provisions of cloud service providers and pick a provider accordingly.

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