The recent adoption of cloud services is something to get excited about, as storing and accessing data has never been easier. Leveraging cloud data storage provides a scalable, reliable, cost-effective storage solution. It’s still worth acknowledging that with this reward, comes great risk, as a breach or loss of data can be devastating without having taken the proper steps to protect your time, effort, and vital information. There’s only so much businesses and services can do to protect consumers, while there’s many things consumers can do to protect themselves. Data integrity is an issue in public cloud environments, and its best to think that you don’t own the hardware, the hardware is what anchors trust.

Here are several small measures that’ll protect your data in a big way:

Diversify your passwords:

​For each respective account you have using cloud storage, create different passwords. Security experts recommend even writing these passwords down on a single piece of paper and storing them in your wallet, which I personally wouldn’t take the risk by being mobile all the time with important information. Rely on memory, and if it happens to fail you, check behind a framed picture or another obscure spot in your home. Nowadays, “paper trails” that are of actual paper have taken a back seat to digital data, which is even more accessible with the click of a mouse and stroke of a few keys.

This also goes without saying, but make passwords difficult by keeping them alphanumeric (using both numbers and letters), adding punctuation, varying caps, along with other curveballs that are varied and difficult to guess. There’s plenty of software out there designed to crack passwords, and your best bet to neutralize them with due diligence. In consideration of the severity a security breach might bring, it’s more than worth the time. Identity theft is on the rise and is in fact the fastest growing crime in the United States, according to the FTC – don’t be a victim. Simple sites like www.passwordmeter.com are designed to help you through this, and have a dynamic percentage of complexity scale. You’ll notice for instance, the difference an exclamation point might make in comparison to the number 1.

Back it Up:

​Mat Honan recently wrote a story detailing how he lost all pictures of his daughter to a hacking escapade. Although angry, Honan stated, “I’m mostly mad at myself. I’m mad as hell for not backing up my data. I’m sad, and shocked, and feel that I am ultimately to blame for that loss.” Don’t feel that sort of regret, cover all bases and have fallbacks in the event data is lost or stolen. Even if you’re using a cloud hosted PBX for your business, don’t totally depend on that subscription to keep everything internal, consolidated, and safe.

Aside from having multiple storage sites online, make sure to have several back-ups on real-life, physical hard drives. It’s even better to use external hard drives, as a hardware failure or power outage could cause data to be corrupted or permanently damaged. At the very least, it’s prudent to have two external HDs that are kept in multiple locations. Maybe it sounds like the activity of a schizophrenic, but I assure its an action that’ll be taken by the wisest of the wise.

​Keep Accounts Exlusive:

​If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Google to log in to other social networks or websites, the fall of one could mean the fall of them all. This practice is called daisy-chaining, and it could have a disastrous domino-effect as all your accounts could be compromised at once since they’ll all require essentially, the same log in information and password. In this case, think to yourself if you were the perpetrator and whether it would be challenging to compromise your own data. Reverse engineer your original configuration, and if it somehow leads back to your bank account, reconsider the path you’ve paved and create some detours and dead ends wherever applicable.

Elad Yoran, CEO of Vaultive, on keeping business storage data safe stated, “I would argue it is never the responsibility of the cloud provider. It is my data, my R&D (research & development) and my business plan in there and I want to maintain the secure ownership…it should never be the responsibility of the cloud provider. “You can believe that a cloud provider is doing a reasonable job when it comes to implementing security and industry best practise, but ownership and control are not addressed. I believe that companies should have ownership of their data if they use the cloud. Some people see it as best practise, I see it as important.”

Beyond safety for individuals, comes integrity for businesses. Protecting data can sometimes include conservation of client and customer information – losing this could be crippling for a company’s future. Keeping data under more than a virtual lock and key is crucial as cloud storage sees widespread adoption and use. Overall, cloud storage is a great tool for personal and commercial utilization. With business VoIP, keeping data in the cloud goes hand in hand with collaborating and reaching out to colleagues in seconds to minutes. Rather than become a statistic, safeguard precious and pertinent data like you would any other valuables, thoroughly and to the best of your ability.

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