Cloud computing is convenient: It stores your data on remote servers so you can access and share the information from any device, at anytime and from anywhere. But it also can present cyber security risks. Take steps to protect the information you store remotely:
Research trustworthy cloud service providers
- Search the web for complaints against the company.
- Review the provider's safety systems and privacy policies.
- Make sure the provider encrypts your data. Look for the "s" after "http" in the web address to know whether data is encrypted.
- Check that the provider alerts users to changes made to its policies.
- Create strong passwords. Use at least eight characters, mixing in symbols, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Create unique login information for each of your online accounts.
- Change passwords regularly.
- Never share your account login information.
- Use two-factor authentication processes when they're offered. These require users to sign in with a username and password plus a verification code that's typically sent via text message or displayed through an application on your device.
- Keep track of passwords with a password manager. Available as a desktop program or as an app, this tool stores passwords locally and securely, and some even generate unique passwords for you.
Be a safe Internet user
- Always back up the data you store in the cloud.
- Update your operating system and/or web browser often to take advantage of security patches and updates.
- Invest in anti-virus and malware programs. Keep these updated as well.
- If possible, customize privacy settings so you control who can view your information and what information they have access to.
- Restrict the amount of information you share online. Protect personal information by keeping it personal.
- Avoid directing all password recovery messages to a single address — a practice known as "daisy-chaining." A hacker who gets hold of your email login could gain access to all of your accounts.