Can I Really Trust the Cloud?

Everything goes in the cloud now. It’s an easy and reliable location to put your secure files without having to worry about losing them to physical disasters. Many companies and individuals use cloud services safely.

It’s also easier than ever to store files there. Amazon, Google and even Microsoft offer cloud services for low prices. Sometimes you can even find a reliable cloud service for free such as Google’s Drive. But the million-dollar question is – are these cloud services safe?

What Are The Risks?

The initial, obvious risk is that you’re allowing someone else to protect your data. It’s easy to trust a big company like Amazon or Google. However, there’s no guarantee that data will stay protected in the event of a disaster that affects the cloud services data centres.

If the cloud servicer experiences an attack, your data could be lost, corrupted, stolen, or wiped. Although these are unfortunate scenarios, they’re still possible.

The worst-case scenario is that your cloud has a trusted name but outsources their data and file management to a third-party company. If your information is on a cloud with a third-party company providing the data management, you could face more apparent risk as your data may be less secure.

The other concern is that if your data is set up to refresh or save over the files on the cloud regularly, you can easily save a corrupted file over the healthy file that was on the cloud. Most of the security with the cloud is within your control. If you periodically check your files and review your data for corruption, this isn’t an issue.

How Cloud Services Secure Your Data

There are a few tools of the trade used in could security, but most of them are dependent on the company hosting the cloud service.

Amazon uses encryption which is basic, but the level of encryption relies on the user. Users set their passwords and Amazon provides a secure environment with about 1,800 security controls. Many cloud services take this approach and place the majority of the security concerns back into the hands of the user.













However, other cloud giants such as Dropbox use another basic but effective security method. Google uses a method called “sharding” which splits each file into multiple pieces. After each file is split into many pieces, those pieces are individually encrypted.

The concept here is that if someone did get access to the raw data, they would have to decrypt each segment and then piece the files back together.

Choosing Your Cloud Provider

If you’re a business owner, it’s important to discuss the cloud options with your IT department. They can offer a variety of cloud provider options that are known for security. Unfortunately, there is inherent risk with any cloud service.

Always consider the level of security that the cloud service offers to its customers before committing to that company.

But data breaches still exist for companies that use either cloud services or physical data storage. Companies like Target and Ashley Madison would have been at risk of breach whether they were in a private cloud, public cloud, or physically stored. Similar to the iCloud hack that recently exploited the privacy of several high-profile celebrities.

Always consider the level of security that the cloud service offers to its customers before committing to that company.

The Trade-Off

Many people and companies turn to cloud data storage, so they don’t have to store the data physically themselves. Data storage is expensive and finding the right equipment is time-consuming. A lot of this hardware is becoming obsolete because of available cloud options.

Many IT specialists are willing to take the tradeoff of the risks that come with using cloud storage services for the savings you get by moving away from expensive data storage hardware.

It’s also easy to gauge how much space you need for cloud storage and change your business or personal plan accordingly. Whereas buying equipment you typically want to buy more space than necessary, so you don’t have to reinvest in new equipment shortly after.

The decision to use the cloud or not though isn’t so much based on security anymore. People can maliciously attack and infiltrate your cloud. However, with phishing and ransomware attacks, any data stored on your computer is equally at risk.


Overall, the cloud is fairly safe. However, a lot of that safety lies in your hands. Not only do you need to select a secure password but you need to protect that password. Many clouds offer two-factor authentication, and their users don’t use it, but you should if your cloud service has it available.

Only trust in clouds that explain their encryption and security methods. Unfortunately, security explanations are usually in the terms and conditions, or you’ll have to search for the information independently.  But, with a good cloud service and great passwords, the cloud is a safe space to store your data.

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