Uploading files is something we do daily, even though we might not be aware of it. Every single time we share something on Google Drive, or any other cloud service like OneDrive or iCloud, we are using cloud storage. Cloud services such as cloud storage and cloud computing means that we are using storage and services which are hosted on servers who knows how far away, meaning that we only need a browser and an internet connection to access our files and start working or backing up data. But, are the files secure? How safe and secure are cloud services?
The short answer is, very safe. In any case, let us break down cloud services to see how safe they are.
Cloud servers are very robust. Most servers use technology which is far superior than what we purchase as consumers. Consumers can purchase server-grade equipment, but most do not, unless they have specific needs and use cases.
From the hard drives to the SSDs used for storage, the cloud servers are simply built to last. They have backups and the backups have backups, which are automated to the point when one hard drive fails, others are there to replace it, in the sense that the data has already been copied, long before the drive failed. Everything from the power supplies to the processors and RAM are better than what we have, most of the time. These components are built with durability and security in mind, making our data as safe as it can be, from a hardware point of view.
As far as the hardware is concerned, it is not worth a lot if the software is not as good. The software ties everything together and makes it safe and accessible to users. The software also takes care that any instances of your data are monitored and copied and fixed in case they get corrupted. The software is what monitors the drives for physical and logical errors.
There are various NAS solutions which we can implement at home, however, they are always less likely to be better than what Google or Microsoft have, which has a lot to do with their budget and ability to hire more developers.
Security and Encryption
Data on the cloud is more secure than it would be on your own computer, unless your computer is hidden in a basement and has no internet access. All data on cloud servers is encrypted, meaning that nobody but you can get access to it. It is scrambled, and like most encrypted data, cannot be viewed unless decrypted.
This is a great way to make sure that the data is not accessed by cybercriminals or opportunists. The only risk is on the user’s side, if they lose account credentials, or if their accounts get stolen via a keylog or similar attack.
In short, cloud services are very safe, much safer than homemade solutions, from the hardware, software and cybersecurity standpoint. Choose a popular cloud service and stick with it, for both data security and ease of use.