Working from home for the past year has given us all a new appreciation of online services. The ability to access services and information regardless of your location is one that has been invaluable in recent months as we all adjust to ways of working that we never anticipated.
At the heart of all this is the cloud. But the cloud isn’t just for business use. It can be handy for backing up your personal files, sharing with family and keeping a copy of your important information so you can access it anywhere.
The cloud stores all your data on the internet rather than on a physical drive in your possession. Once you have an internet connection, it is easy to keep your files saved and updated across multiple devices. You can collaborate with people, watching as your files update in real time and are saved to your shared account.
But there are some drawbacks. You need good internet access to get the most from cloud. If your connection goes down, you may find yourself cut off, even temporarily.
If your service permits offline access to files, your changes will be saved as soon as the internet connection comes back.
It goes without saying that any service to which you are entrusting your personal, private or business files must have adequate security. That means encryption, strong passwords and extra security hoops you should jump through before being given free rein among your personal data.
There are other things you can do to secure your files as much as possible.
Implement two-factor authentication If your cloud storage service offers two-factor authentications, implement it. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account, by requesting an additional code when you log in with your password. That can be delivered either by text message, through an authenticator app or by using another trusted device to approve a log-in. It won’t prevent every security threat, but it will certainly make it more difficult for anyone trying to break in.
Don’t re-use passwords. Always use unique, hard-to-guess passwords for each log-in you create. If one service is compromised, then you are leaving the rest of your accounts open to malicious users.
Be wary of connected apps Third-party apps can sometimes ask for access to your online file storage to make it easier for you to share files and folders. But once that access is no longer needed, revoke it. Check in regularly to see what apps have access to your online storage – and do a clear out.
Deactivate old devices Similarly, you probably have an old phone or two that still has access to your old accounts. Google and Apple, for example, allow you to check in on what devices have access to your account, and revoke that access when necessary. Keep a close eye on that list, and prune it when necessary.