Cloud computing and cloud storage are still one of the most talked about phenomenon in today's digital world. Cloud storage is a model of computer data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools. The physical storage spans multiple servers, and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company. The cloud storage providers are responsible for keeping the data available and accessible, and the physical environment protected and running. Companies and schools have been increasing their use of services like Google Drive for some time, and lots of individual users also store files on Dropbox, Box, Amazon Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and the like. They’re no doubt concerned about keeping their information private.
Let’s dive into the deep of this topic and find - is cloud storage safe?
With cloud computing, we can now store all information and data remotely, without relying on physical standalone machines like in-house servers to do the job. What’s more, it’s available to both individuals, small companies and large. It even helps companies cut their IT costs significantly. Now, the question concerning how secure cloud storage has to some extent kept people from completely adapting this technology.
How is the Cloud storage protected?
To keep data secure, the front line of defense for any cloud system is encryption. Encryption methods utilize complex algorithms to conceal cloud-protected information. To decipher encrypted files, would-be hackers would need the encryption key. Although encrypted information is not 100% uncrackable, decryption requires a huge amount of computer processing power, forensic software, and a lot of time. That being said, your cloud-stored data is generally safer than your locally stored data. Cloud services utilize more complex security methods than the average computer owner is able to devise, giving your cloud-stored data an added level of protection.
What really could make your cloud storage safe is, in fact, 2-factor authentication, which is controlled by the user. This is done by choosing a unique password followed by a one-time code which is then generated separately to a different device, like a smartphone. Passwords remain the weakest link so users should be extra vigilant as they are generated by people. Use computer-generated ones which cannot be guessed.
It may seem that on the surface of it all, the likes of Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Box and iCloud all offer the same security benefits.
Commercial cloud storage systems encode each user’s data with a specific encryption key. Without it, the files look like gibberish.
But who holds the keys?
It can be stored either by the service itself or by individual users. Most services keep the key themselves, letting their systems see and process user data, such as indexing data for future searches. These services also access the key when a user logs in with a password, unlocking the data so the person can use it. This is much more convenient than having users keep the keys themselves.
Are there any disadvantages of Cloud Storage?
Unfortunately yes, the biggest disadvantage to cloud storage is that users are limited by bandwidth. If your Internet connection is slow or unstable, you might have problems accessing or sharing your files. Organizations that require a large amount of storage may also find costs increase significantly after the first few gigabytes of data stored.