Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our data backup services: we love having a physical copy of our data, all on one hard disk system. But by nature, HDDs are prone to failure, and we end up losing most of our backup data in the process. Thankfully, one great solution is the cloud backup system! After all, it’s cheap, it’s convenient, and most importantly, it’s almost future-safe. Of course, we’re all paranoid about cyber theft and hackers, but if you follow these ten tips you will have absolutely no reason to worry.

cloud-backupThou Shalt Not Pass…Without a Password?

This is the first and obvious step, but many people seem to forget the need for a good password. Just watch the John Oliver interview with Edward Snowden, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration. A good password usually comprises of a mix of capital letters, small letters, digits and symbols, focusing on length to give you a better chance of security. So, a password like MaryWilliamsis100%awesome stands a much better chance of holding up against cloud attacks, than say, the name of your pet cat.

When in Doubt, Add a Security Question

You should seriously consider the merits of a two-step verification process that lets you access your cloud data after you answer some private question. Now, remember that data like your birthday or your best soccer player team can be easily guessed, so make it something more personal like the home-town address of your first crush, your mother’s middle name, or something else that no one but you can know.

Beware the Dangers of Not Encrypting Mail

Encryption is an absolutely essential part of securing your cloud backup data. The first advice we have is that you encrypt data BEFORE you move it to the cloud. The second is that you should use a storage service that provides cloud security encryption. It is even better if your data storage service can provide encryption through the download/upload process too, for ensuring maximum protection. (Psst! Look for AES-certified encryptions for best results.)

Find an Effective Password Management System

By this, we mean that you should probably not save sensitive information on your cloud network anyway. However, if you must store sensitive matter, it is advisable to keep it all in a protected security suite with encryption facilities. For instance, if you need to keep cloud back-up of all your passwords, it is best if you use an app or software that keeps data safe while still in one place. Options include the LassPass utility software.

BackupCode-generated Access with Two Step Verification

We’ve talked about security questions and passwords, but a two-step verification process can also work in another way. Some cloud data storage services will let you have a code-generated access policy. This means that when you want to access your data, the system will ask for a password and simultaneously send an OTP for you to unlock your data. If it works for banks and payment gateways, it should definitely work for you too.

Burn the Bridges When You’re Done, Maybe?

There’s no alternative to this step when it comes to cloud protection. Once you are done, it is best to remove sensitive information from your cloud data system. If you make sure to remove all traces from the SPAM, TRASH and Restore Erased Items sections of your backup storage utility, you should be able to rest easy knowing that you’ve effectively erased all the sensitive data. Speaking of which, some cloud data services provide shredders: you should check that out too in case you have some super-sensitive info on your hands.

Choose the Device of Access Very Carefully

We know the dangers of leaving ourselves logged in on a friend’s machine: and in such cases, the negative impact is only at best a prank FB status update. However, imagine how much worse this can be if it comes to your cloud backup folder. When logging in to your data from an untrusted device, always use the incognito mode, make sure to uncheck “Remember me on this Device”, make sure you’re not accidentally logged in through Google Chrome profile (which remembers your passwords even if you log out of your mail), and so on. Be responsible with the device you choose when it comes to accessing your cloud data backup.

Kick-back with some Stand-Up Antivirus and Security Suites

Whenever we think of cloud security, we keep forgetting that the technological devices we use to access cloud data are still computers and mobiles that are prone to software vulnerabilities. Key-logger Trojans, for example, can track key presses and thereby get your credit card, address, login ids and passwords. A good antivirus and internet security suite is therefore essential if you want your online data to be totally safe. Any free or paid tool with internet security can be helpful in this regard, especially if you access your cloud backup while in the sand-boxing mode.

Learn the Wisdom of Keeping things Private

When it comes to cloud storage systems, it is useful to be hyper aware of the word “Private”. For instance, accessing your data while on an Open Wi-Fi can often put you at risk because these networks are often unsecure and prone to random hacks. This is a problem especially if your data is unencrypted, in which case it’s a cake-walk for any random hacker using the same network as you. You must make sure that your data isn’t put to risk by the lure of free (but unsafe) public networks.

Choose the right service provider

Your cloud backup won’t be any better than a failed HDD if the data providers’ systems are easily compromised. When you choose an online platform for cloud backup, do a bit of a background check and look into factors like encryption, data center security, on-site data recovery from cloud partners, scalability factors and SLA details that demarcate cloud security levels. Some cloud storage service providers offer virtual backup, replication features, firewalls and encryption solutions built-in: those are the ones to look out for.

Mauricio PinzlauNote: this post is the first guest post on vinfrastructure.it blog site. In the past, I have done some guest posts on other sites, so this is a way to return the favor and could be maybe the first of several other posts.

Mauricio Pinzlau, the author of this blog post, is the CEO of Cloudwards.net, a data and user feedback driven comparison engine for cloud apps and services. He enjoys writing and producing educational videos around the cloud to help people find the best cloud service for their needs.