With All the Hacks Lately, Do You Still Trust Saving Your Files to the Cloud?

Security is often a concern we have with technology. One area we’re never too sure about is the Cloud. Since we don’t physically have the files we place in the Cloud, it makes it hard to trust it, especially in relation to hacking. We asked our writers, “With all the hacks lately, do you still trust saving your files to the Cloud?”

Miguel doesn’t mind storing his non-sensitive data in the Cloud, noting, “A hacker wouldn’t be interested in pictures of cats doing silly things or my shopping list.” However, with sensitive data, he encrypts it before he stores it in the Cloud. He helpfully adds that the best applications for that “will never store a key on a server anywhere” and will instead “encrypt the files with a key based on a passphrase you create yourself.”

Phil replied to the question, stating, “it depends whose corner of the Cloud you are speaking of. If their business is predicated on tight security for people’s data, then a loss will impact their business, probably terminally.” He trusts that they will take necessary care to keep data safe. “It’s a bit like flying with major airlines – you minimize risk if you place your trust in the majors.”

Fabio does still put his trust in the Cloud, as if “a hacker really wants to get into something, he/she will.” He also notes that some companies have some really great minds working for them, so that makes him believe the data is safe.

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Ada agrees with Miguel. If it’s not sensitive, she’s okay with storing stuff in the Cloud. But if it’s really sensitive data, she doesn’t even keep it on her hard drive, going with external devices. “I guess I trust myself even less than I trust a cloud file hosting provider.”

Simon does the same, noting that cloud services are fine for “documents which I wouldn’t mind a total stranger seeing,” making the analogy that if he could print it and leave it on a park bench somewhere and still sleep soundly, he doesn’t see a problem storing it in the Cloud as backup. However, with sensitive documents, he doesn’t take the risk and uses external hard drives and memory sticks.

Alex uses a professional data center, Backblaze, trusting it far more than his own backups. “They make it their business to store data safely,” but even though he attempts to make his backups secure, he knows he’s more likely to make a mistake. He trusts their “specific expertise and ability over my own jack-of-all-trades tech knowledge.” His sensitive data is encrypted with a unique key so that even the best hackers would only get a heavily-encrypted archive.

I do the same as Fabio. I don’t take any special measures. I don’t store many really sensitive things anyway. I do all my computing on iOS, so anything stored just goes to iCloud, but I’m not saving anything really important. The few times I do, like when we used to file our taxes ourselves, I still trust iCloud.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you also separate your data with regards to what’s sensitive and what isn’t and store it accordingly? Or do you have more faith in the Cloud? With all the hacks lately, do you still trust saving your files to the Cloud? Join our conversation in the comments section below!

6 comments

  1. I never trusted the cloud and never will. Storing data in the cloud relinquishes all control over that data to the cloud owner.

    • Agreed, I have exactly the same policy. What I have stored in my external SSD is there, it is safe, under my control. It is kept away from home when we are away.

  2. A statement made by Facebook/Instagram shortly after FB acquired Instagram sticks in my mind. Basically, what they said amounted to “any pictures stored on our servers are for us to do with as we see fit. We do not need owner’s permission. We do not have to reimburse the owner(s)” While my pictures of cats doing funny things may not impact my security or privacy, if anybody wants to use them for any reason, I want them to 1) ask permission, and 2) give me a cut if they are making a profit on them. Am I mercenary? NO. When we borrow items from friends, libraries or rental stores, we are customarily expected to pay, either in coin or in kind. Why should documents (pictures, music) stored in the cloud be subject to different rules?

  3. Like it or not, the bigger you are, the bigger the target is that’s on your back. The “big guys” are the ultimate hack goal. It does a professional hacker little to no good to hack a single computer where he may find personal info on one or two people. His goal is to get data on millions – thus that is where his main resources are aimed. That is where the gold can be found! I trust my backup far more than I do the cloud, especially the “big guys”. Sure they have smart people working for them, but so do the “bad guys” and in many cases, the good guys are hiring the bad guys – that alone should scare the hell out of anyone!

    Keep your sensitive data to yourself. If you use credit cards online, ask your bank about using a “one-time use” number.

    • ” It does a professional hacker little to no good to hack a single computer where he may find personal info on one or two people.”
      WRONG! If the hacker gets your contact list, he will use it to attack the people on it and get their contact lists, so on and so forth. This method may not as fast but it gets results just the same. Besides, private computers are, as a rule, not as well protected as the ‘big guys’. Consequently, they are much easier to hack into.

      “That is where the gold can be found!”
      The pros may go after the gold of large companies. But the script kiddies and fledgling hackers settle for the silver of the individual users.

      Bottom line – security by obscurity is a very iffy proposition. You may or may not be safe.

  4. Read this carefully:

    SOMEONE ELSE HAS YOUR DATA!

    You may think none of the information is useful or interesting, but that does not mean that some nefarious person elsewhere would have no interest.

    As inexpensive as USB storage is today, there is no reason a private individual should consider storing his information in ‘the cloud’.

    As innocent as a ‘cloud’ sounds (folks, it ain’t stored in any cloud – it’s on SOMEONE ELSE’S SERVER OVER WHICH YOU HAVE NO CONTROL), there is nothing soft or fluffy about it.

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