3 Tips to Secure Your Data in the Cloud

Author: C. Galoozis Date: April 03, 2012

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In recent years, the U.S. Senate, the CIA and companies such as Lockheed Martin and Sony Corp. have fallen prey to hackers. Dropbox, the cloud document storage service, made headlines last year when a security breach left any user’s account accessible by any password for four hours. 

So when it comes to keeping your business documents secure in the cloud, diligence is paramount. What can you do as a small business owner to keep your documents secure in the cloud? Here are four tips.

1. Back up your data locally. 

It’s always good to have electronic duplicates of your most important financials and documents. For example, if you have files saved in the cloud, consider having them stored on an external hard drive as well. 

2. Understand the vendor’s security precautions. 

Before you contract with a cloud vendor, make sure you do due diligence to understand what security measures they implement to protect your data. Most of these companies have a specific section on their website explaining what they do to protect your data. Ideally, these companies will encrypt your data—basically, scramble it so only you can access it in a readable version—and back it up redundantly as well. 

3. Make sure your data is encrypted.

If you are storing your data in the cloud with a high-profile cloud vendor, odds are it encrypts the data. But it can’t hurt to do it yourself before you store it there as well. To do this, you can simply use a free service such as TrueCrypt (for Windows and Mac) or GNU Privacy Guard (also for Windows and Mac). Doing this, though, might render some of the services a vendor offers not available. Dropbox, for example, won’t let you use their “share file” feature if your files are already encrypted. 

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