5 Things You Shouldn't Store in the Cloud
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Mobile users and enterprises are turning to the cloud to meet their storage needs, backing up a variety of data from emails to pictures. While the cloud can act as storage expansion and major cost saver for those with limited storage space, there are a few things that are best stored elsewhere.
1. Medical Files
This may seem like a no brainer but people do store vital information like medical files in the cloud, making their organization a high-risk target for identity theft. If storing such information in the cloud is the only option, a strong encryption protocol should be put in place. Data that needs to be HIPPA, FIPs, or SOX compliant shouldn’t be stored in the cloud because current technology isn’t required to meet industry standards.
2. Personally Identifiable Data
Any type of personal information tying back to employees or customers in the cloud is regarded as a big mistake by industry experts. Anything with passport numbers, date of birth, or Social Security numbers should be kept on secure servers if storing such information is necessary.
Periodically refreshing passwords and security is one precaution companies can take to protect personal data. Cyber criminals can use employee and customer data like a favorite color or first elementary school to make educated guesses about sign-in credentials. By enabling two-step authentication on online account services like Google Drive, hackers can be prevented from getting into company databases via the cloud. Two-step authentication requires users for a second pin code to sign in and use an account on a new device. When updating security settings, opt into the two-step process for greater data security.
3. Mission-Critical Information
Revenue can be directly impacted if the cloud were to go down with information central to day-to-day operations stored in it. Businesses run the risk of a major data breach and possible failure if they don’t put local servers to work for them. One solution to protect mission-critical information is to use an encrypted cloud service if the cloud is the only option for data storage.
Some cloud storage services provide local encryption and decryption of files as well as backup. There is a chance that no one will have access to files like service providers or even server administrators. Spideroak is one such service with 2GB of space for full featured backup, sync, share, access, and storage for free.
4. Tax Information
Data thieves getting a hold of company tax information can be bad news for all involved, resulting in millions of dollars lost. While the IRS is a large organization, it’s not always able to help victims resolve their tax information theft cases quickly. Storing tax information in the cloud can make any enterprise an even bigger target. If cloud storage is the only option, companies should have a backup storage plan scanning all records. They should also seriously consider an off-site storage space. Remembering that not all tax forms are the same will help identify what types of security measures need to be taken as well as the degree of encryption. Lower-end tax forms with less vital information may be open to lower-levels of data encryption.
5. Litigation strategies
Protecting litigation strategies is key to covering loose ends and preventing any major lawsuits. If safe guarded, litigation strategies will potentially save companies from any legal issues with competitors or disgruntled customers. Storing litigation strategies in the cloud can increase the risk of information theft. Companies can take steps like data mapping, records retention and management, early assessment, litigation hold processes, and protecting the attorney-client privilege to secure its litigation strategies. Through data mapping, in-house counsel will know what information the company and its employees have and where it is. Having this knowledge will help legal know where to turn to in times of crisis. When data is identified, a retention program will help legal determine what information is important and what to discard for business and legal operations, preventing businesses from storing more information on the cloud than needed.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.