The cloud technology is here to stay and as we move towards better connectivity and faster processing more and more of our activities will involve constant interaction with the cloud.
Whether you talk about cloud-based data or cloud-based applications, the biggest benefit of switching over to the cloud is that you need to rely less and less on a single device. For instance, if you are storing your data in the cloud it is no longer restricted to your computer, laptop or the mobile device of your choice. Provided you have the application that can access and process that data, you can access it from any device hooked to the Internet.
The same goes with applications. Long gone are the days when you had to install expensive and resource hungry applications on your desktop. Most of the cloud-based applications require just a browser and occasionally, a few plug-ins and extensions. Precisely this is why recently Google launched a browser-only laptop called Google Chromebook that is entirely browser-based. The moment you switch on the laptop, the browser is loaded automatically and every saving and processing happens in the cloud.
The cloud technology is not new. Have you been using web-based email for the past 15 years? Well, you have been using a cloud-based application. Similarly services like YouTube and Flickr save your media files in the cloud. These days even mainstream applications like Word processing, photo editing and database management, that previously used to work only on desktops, are available through their cloud-based interfaces.
Anyway, the most prevalent use of the cloud is online storage. By now you must have heard about services like Dropbox and Google Drive. These services let you save your files in the cloud with automatic syncing so that your files become available on multiple devices without you having to copy them from here today. Just imagine, you are in Beijing and while working there you store all your files in the Dropbox folder using one of the local machines. Then you go to New York, leaving the machine behind, you login to your Dropbox account and all your files are there. The same is true for Google Drive.
But just like any technology, the cloud technology comes with its own pitfalls and just like any technology, you need to take some measures to ensure the safety of your data. Here are a few things you can do to make the best use of the cloud technology:
Take backups regularly, in fact multiple backups
Just because you have uploaded all your precious files and images and videos to Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud or one of the Amazon services it does not mean you can forget about them and live a peaceful existence. Recently one of the senior Wire magazine writers lost all his data that he had stored in the cloud when his accounts were hacked. Known people are more prone to being hacked because, well, they are known, but it does not mean that you cannot be a target of hacking. And it is not just about hiking, a catastrophe can happen at their data centres and you may lose all the files and you may never recover them if you have not backed them up. Most of the cloud backup services are quite inexpensive so you can use multiple services to backup your data. If possible you should also routinely backup your data locally in a USB drive.
Spread your data across multiple regions
Data centers can be prone to natural disasters. They can be hit by hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. They can also be affected by regional strives such as wars and social unrest. So if you have mission-critical data it is advisable that you use different cloud services to host an backup your data and make sure that these services are situated in various parts of the country, and preferably, in various parts of the globe.
Use stronger passwords
Also, do not use the same password, and if you can manage, not even the same email ID to manage your multiple cloud-based data backup services simply because in case test one email ID is hacked, the hacker will be able to access all your backups.
These are the basic measures you can take to keep your data safe and secure in the cloud.
You may also like to read How to create a strong password and remember it.