Safeguarding your Data in the Cloud

Cloud Storage Security...

Cloud storage is a service that enables users to manage and maintain files away from controlled hardware devices to remote storage on the internet. In most cases, cloud storage platforms are primarily owned and maintained by third parties with users limited to transferring and deleting the files. One of the central benefits of cloud storage is the ability to access files from any device that is connected to the internet from anywhere in the world. As a result, users often resort to using cloud storage services to manage large sized files that they need regular access to without conceding physical storage space on hardware. Other benefits include the ability to create remote backups and share files with third parties.

An important disadvantage of using cloud storage is that users give up some of the control they have over their by ceding control to third parties. You are therefore trusting your information with a particular entity, some who may have other objectives whether business oriented or otherwise. It is therefore very important that users understand the need to encrypt files and data before uploading them to cloud storage. This is especially important for at risk users such as journalists and human rights defenders operating in threatening environments. Keeping your information safe and encrypted when on the cloud can not only protect your private information but the information of your contacts linked with particular files.

Cloud storage services are now provided by many companies most prominently Microsoft, Google, Drop Box and Apple. These companies also enable your files to be synchronised between devices meaning that once you add or edit a particular file on one device, it will be automatically updated in the Cloud. This allows you to have one copy of the file on your hardware device and one in the Cloud account.

When choosing which Cloud storage service to use you should take into account the type of data you are working with. You should also take into account the amount of space offered by different services, many which are limited unless you pay an extra fee.  If you want to keep your data private and secure, always choose a service that allows end-to-end encrypted file transfers to ensure your files are encrypted on the device and cannot be decrypted until it reaches its end point. This way you can ensure that data is protected during transfers to the Cloud. You can also take extra safeguards by encrypting the data itself before the transfer.

Services are also accessible in different ways depending on which one you choose. Some like those offered by Microsoft, Google and Drop Box allow you to access your files through internet browsers or through applications that can be downloaded on your hardware devices. You can use these applications on Windows, Mac, Android or IOS devices. Other companies do not offer the ability to access your files through applications and only through the web.

For the best security on the Cloud, we recommend the following services:

One by SpiderOak

SpiderOak provides a secure and easy to use cloud storage service that enables end-to-end encryption for your files. Files are encrypted on your device before they are transferred to the Cloud, are stored securely using a password and cannot be accessed by anyone including SpiderOak. They operate a No Knowledge policy which means that in addition to the data being encrypted from the start point, SpiderOak has no knowledge your password which is the only way to decrypt the data. As such, it is important that you store your password securely as there is no way to reset or retrieve it if lost.

You can download SpiderOak One here.

Tresorit

Tresorit enables users to store data and files on the Cloud using end-end-encryption meaning that your data is secure when being transferred from your device. It also encrypts these files while on the device before the transfer which means that not even Tresorit can access the data. It allows your data to sync between the hardware and Cloud safely and gives you the file sharing capabilities. It however does not offer the capability to access files through the web which means users must install the application on their devices to access their files.

You can download Tresorit here