Updated on July 15th, 2018
As data storage methods get more intricate, people also get more confused about how the process works. It is understandable. When you tell someone they are saving files on their computer, or moving those files to an external hard drive, it is easy to understand.
We can physically see where the files are located. The problem arises when you have to deal with things like cloud storage, because it is not so easy for people to visualize where their files are being stored.
If you are wondering whether you should be storing vital business data on the cloud, we are here to alleviate your concerns. Cloud storage means that you are getting your data onto massive servers and warehouses, which are offsite and heavily protected. Your data is not in some random, easy to access location. These service providers use encryption and every trick in the book to keep your data safe.
But you should still be taking precautions. Here are some things that you can do to preserve your data in cloud storage from a fraudster or hacker.
1. Ditch Weak Passwords
You would be shocked at some of the basic passwords that are used to protect sensitive information at many businesses. Do not make such a mistake. Using whole words is a bad idea on passwords. There are password cracking tools that would find it easy to get your passwordif it was something like “london1234”.
Go with longer passwords that have letters, numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special symbols. Those passwords cannot be guessed, and even a brute force method would take ages to have any chance of cracking it. If your password is just a word, the brute force methods would have your password in minutes. You do not want that to happen.
It is understandable that you would feel apprehensive about choosing complicated passwords, as you are worried that you would forget them. But there are so many ways to store passwords these days, and we will talk about some of these options a little deeper into the article.
Even if you are insistent on using some regular word in your password, just make sure you are surrounding it with enough symbols and numbers so that it is not easy to guess or hack through brute force.
2. Change Up Your Passwords
If you are using many different online services related to your business, having one password for everything is a terrible idea. If you happen to compromise your password or one of the services that you use is hacked, you are exposing all your accounts.
Never commit the mistake of having the same password for a company and personal account. Why? Because we use our personal accounts on websites that have much less security which makes our passwords susceptible to being stolen. You do not want someone to inadvertently get access to your company data or accounts because they happened to get access to your personal password.
3. Password Managers
Since we have so many online accounts these days, and you are being told to use different passwords for each account, it is probably getting to a point where you know that you will forget some passwords. That is understandable. It happens to all of us. Even if you remember all your passwords, you may get confused as to what password goes with what service. That is why you should be learning about the usefulness of password managers.
There are both free and paid password manager services that you can use. If you are worried about the reliability of such a service, just do your research and go with the password manager that has an impeccable record of security and openness. Whether you are using Linux or Windows, you will not have an issue finding a password manager.
There are even such programs that you can install into web browsers, but we would only recommend using those if you are managing personal passwords. For company passwords, always go with the paid solutions where you have to install a program onto your system.
When you use a password manager, you have to make an even bigger effort to create a perfect password for that program. If someone got access to that password, they can see all your other ones. That is the password you have to memorize, and it has got to be some incomprehensible combination of letters, numbers, words and symbols.
4. Security Questions
When you are signing up for sites, you will be asked to enter security questions. It is a great way to protect your account if you ever forget your password or lose access. For instance, when you sign up for a cloud VPS, you will have to enter one or two security questions as part of your signup.
The problem with security questions is they can serve another purpose too. A security question could be a method that others use to get into your account. That is why you have to make sure you are not making your answers something that anyone could find out. When you are the owner of a company you are in the public eye. And these days, it is not hard to do a bit of research and find out where someone grew up, went to school, attended college or lives.
If you are going to put in security questions and answers, they cannot be so generic. You may think it is smart to go with the name of your first school. But these days, we can find that information so easily. It is public record, especially if you grew up in the United States. You need something a bit more complicated.
There are two options. You can either forego the option of adding security questions, or you can come up with answers that only you know. For instance, the question is your favorite movie. Do not pick a movie that is generic or the one that you tell everyone is your favorite. Pick something random or funny that only you would know about. Think of it as an inside joke with yourself, but it is a password that protects your account.
Another type of question that you could use is the name of your best friend growing up. Again, you can choose some completely random name that you will remember but no one else has a clue about. That will ensure that even if someone does their research, the answers they input will be wrong, and they will have no way of getting into your account using this method.
5. Two-Factor Authorization
A great layer that can go on top of a secure password is two-factor authorization. You will use your smartphone to activate this security feature. You will have to enter a special code onto the site, and then you will have two-factor authorization enabled. What that means is it will take you some time to log into your account, especially from a new device, but it will mean that you have an extra layer of protection.
Even if someone were to guess your password, you would get emailed or texted a code that suggests you tried to sign in. If you know that it was not you that was signing in, you could quickly enter your account yourself and change up your passwords.