Cloud Security

Over the past few weeks I have written about the local cloud and how it might be a secure option for you if used wisely and after what happened to Apple recently cloud security should be high on your agenda. This week I will talk about the cloud and how you can use it as a safe secure environment to store documents, movies, music and photographs.
Most people these days have at least one and possibly more of the following; a computer, a smart phone and a tablet. It is also highly likely that you are already using cloud storage and never give it a second thought especially if you have a smartphone and or tablet.

The most popular cloud storage solutions are Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Flickr, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive and Mega. Mega is one which you may probably have never heard of but it offers a lot for its basic free service.

Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive is Amazons cloud service for storing your documents, movies, music and pictures. It works with Android devices, iOS devices, Amazon Devices, Windows computers and Apple Macs. Amazon offers all users an initial 5 GB of online storage space. It is already installed on all Amazon devices.

Dropbox offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Dropbox allows users to create a unique folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronizes so that the same folder (with the same contents) can be viewed on any computer with access to that specific Dropbox account. Files placed in this folder are also accessible via a website and mobile device applications. With Dropbox you get 2 GB free with the option to buy more storage space.

Flickr is owned by Yahoo and it’s an online storage facility for photos and videos. It is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Flickr works with Windows computers, Apple Macs, Linux, Android, Blackberry, iOS. If you have a Windows Phone you will have to use third party apps to access Flickr. The basic Flickr account gives you 1 Terabyte free with ads and for $50 dollars extra a year you can have the account ad free.

Google Drive
Google Drive is Google’s cloud service and it enables user cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing. Google offers all users an initial 15 GB of online storage space that is shared across three of its most-used services: Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos (aka Picasa Web Albums. Google Drive works with Windows computers, Apple Macs, Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone.

If you have an iPhone or iPad you will be using Apple’s iCloud service to store your iPhone and iPad backups, which includes photo library, accounts, documents, text messages and iMessages and settings. You can either backup manually or let your iOS device do it once a day when it is connected to WiFi. With iCloud you get 5 GB free with the option to buy more storage space.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud service and is primarily used by computers running Microsoft Windows as well as smartphones and tablets that run on Windows. It can also be used with Apple Macs, Blackberry devices, iOS devices, Android devices as well as Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. With OneDrive you get1 5 GB free with the option to buy more storage space.

Mega is a cloud storage and file hosting service and states its main feature is all files are encrypted locally via JavaScript before they are uploaded and 50 GB of storage space are available for free and up to 4 TB for paid accounts. Mega can also be used with Android, BlackBerry OS and iOS devices.

Once you have chosen your cloud provider you may be given the option to refer family and friends and get more free space but there is a limit to how much free space you can receive. All of the cloud providers mentioned above have their pros and cons, photographers may like Flickr and if you like the idea of your files being encrypted locally then you may like Mega. If you are using the cloud to store data and files from your mobile device (mobile phones and tablets), there is two things that you have to do to guarantee the security of your cloud account:

Proper Passwords
Make sure that all passwords that you use are not the same and one of my earlier blog posts shows you how to do this. If you are using your computer to store data and files in the cloud, you may already have it automatically to one of your cloud accounts. If this is the case anyone with access to your computer can access your cloud account, so limit who can access your computer and make sure that there is a password set on your computer. If you are accessing the cloud via your mobile phone or tablet make sure that a password or passcode is setup on it and that you follow the step outlined below.

Have 2 Step Verification setup
When, accessing the cloud via your mobile phone or tablet then you have to make sure 2 step verification is setup as it makes your account safer. When you set up two-step verification, you register one or more trusted mobile devices. A trusted mobile device is a mobile device you control that can receive 4-digit verification codes via SMS or iMessage.

By having proper passwords and 2 step verification you are greatly reducing the risk of your cloud account/accounts being compromised. You don’t want any data or pictures falling into the wrong hands.