Businesses and financial institutions store all sorts of sensitive customer data in the Cloud, including email addresses, Social Security numbers, and bank account log-ins by the millions. This makes the Cloud a potentially rich hunting ground for hackers.
Jim Barry, digital answer man for the Consumer Technology Association, explains the nature of the system. “The Cloud,” he says, “really is just an array of computers or storage devices that’s somewhere else, not on your desktop, or on your smart phone, or on your tablet, laptop, [or] computer.”
Not on your computer means not under your control. To help limit access to your data stored elsewhere, Barry recommends the use of a “strong password”: “You’d be surprised how many people do not use a password at all if they have a home network, for instance, or use one of the basic ones, like ‘password’ or the name of their dog.” For financial or banking records on the Cloud, he recommends the use of a 2-step password.
Another source of useful security measures, Barry says, is “your manufacturer of your different devices. Make sure you know what kind of security they have. And if you’re storing in the Cloud, you might want to look into what their security protocols are.” He also recommends the use of a firewall for your home computer, adding that “a lot of inexpensive products” are available.
But do you really need to store data in the Cloud in the first place? “You might want to think right off the bat whether you want to store anything in the Cloud, or whether you want to store it in your own house,” Barry suggests. “Maybe you only have a certain amount of memory in your computer, but you can get very inexpensive backup hard drives.” In this way, he says, you can create, in effect, “your own personal Cloud.”