- How secure are cloud storage services?
- Does the cloud storage service encrypt your data?
- Weak vs strong passwords
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- What happens if you delete your account?
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- Do I need to worry about sharing files with other people?
How secure are cloud storage services?
Reports of data breaches keep rolling in thick and fast. Unfortunately, we share a world with hackers who work hard to get their hands on our personal data. Millions of people upload personal documents and photos to cloud storage services.
So, it's imperative that the brands behind those services protect all the data they hold to withstand breaches from even the most devious attackers.
Does the cloud storage service encrypt your data?
Website encryption and traffic encryption are both extremely important.
Website encryption relates to whether the cloud storage website itself is secure – ie whether there is a safe connection between the cloud website and your own web browser.
Traffic encryption is about whether the data you're transferring to a website is travelling through a secure tunnel.
Ultimately, the combination of website and traffic encryption means that a hacker would have a tough job of trying to intercept your data.
Weak vs strong passwords
Part of the onus of creating a strong password is on you, the user.
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But, that doesn't mean a cloud storage service should let you get away with one that's too easily guessed by a stranger. The best cloud storage services won't even accept weak passwords.
Instead, they will encourage you to provide one with a combination of eight or more characters, numbers, and upper and lower case letters. They also often give an assessment of how strong your password is to prompt you to improve it.
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Yet, some cloud services will let you use a password that's easier to crack, such as your surname.
It's also good if two-factor authentication is available.
This form of security requires you to enter your password, but then an extra code is sent to one of your personal devices (usually a phone), which you'll then need to enter to log in.
What happens if you delete your account?
If you delete your cloud storage service account, you'll also want to know that every file you've previously uploaded will be wiped securely.
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Some services make the process of deleting your account very straightforward, whereas others require more time and effort. While some services will let you know that everything has been deleted, others don't tell you all that much, so your files may be left dwelling long after your account has closed.
Do I need to worry about sharing files with other people?
Lots of people like to share files they've uploaded to a cloud storage service with other people, whether that's pictures of your holiday with your family or a document with work colleagues.
When doing this, make sure that you're sharing files with people you know and trust. Also, make sure you're happy with the rights that you're transferring when transferring – some only let people view and download the file whereas others allow editing and commenting rights.