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Rick Delgado

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What to Store in the Cloud By @RickNotDelgado | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Three things that are safe to store in the cloud (and three things that aren't)

When businesses talk about their latest strategies, you can almost bet the cloud will feature prominently. Cloud computing has become increasingly popular, and with notable vendors like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple's iCloud out there, many companies see the cloud as a necessary element of future operations. The cloud does provide some significant benefits, but one of the major concerns businesses have deals specifically with security. With so many companies using the cloud for storage purposes, they want to make sure that valuable data is kept safe. Stories of security breaches and the recent iCloud celebrity photo leaks likely don't do much to ease these fears. Keeping this in mind, it's important for you to understand that there are certain risks when it comes to storing information on the cloud. The possibility of hackers stealing or damaging data is always going to hover over every business's decision making process. Considering the dangers involved, here are the items you can feel safe putting in cloud storage, along with several items you're better off keeping close at hand.

Safe for Cloud Storage

1. Basic Data Files
Not everything you put in the cloud is a vital company secret or sensitive customer information. In fact, there are many files filled with normal data that you can use the cloud for to facilitate greater collaboration among your employees. Cloud computing can be especially important for smaller businesses, which have limited resources and need to stretch every dollar. The cloud provides easy access to these basic files, allowing you and others to use them whether you're in the office or out on the road.

2. Email
You probably already use this type of cloud storage in your personal life as well as your professional duties. Email has made the cloud a more common tool for people all around the world. If you have a Gmail account, for example, you're already taking advantage of the cloud's capabilities. Plus, using the cloud for email purposes means you can give and receive messages from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. If you follow proper security precautions while using email, then you have nothing to worry about.

3. Backups
Disasters happen and sometimes systems shut down. If that should happen to your business, you could find yourself out of operation for a few days or even more. However, if you have saved basic operational information in the cloud, you can get your business back up and running in a matter of hours. Remember to keep your backup data relatively basic, with only the essentials that can help your business recover quickly. Also remember that this information only needs to hold your operations over for a short amount of time, so there is less need for it to be extensive.

Not Safe for Cloud Storage

1. Personal Information
There are several things that should be kept as far away from the cloud as possible. Information that can personally identify you or your employees is one such item. Identity theft is very real, so any data that may aid a criminal in performing this act should be separated from cloud storage. This can include information such as social security numbers, medical files, files with a date of birth, passport information, personal addresses, and any other sensitive data that can be linked to your or others.

2. Legal Documents
Similar to the first point, legal documents can have highly personal and confidential information that's best kept close to you. Some of these legal items may include tax information and even litigation strategies. The consequences of losing these documents may even amount to lawsuits brought against your business.

3. Sensitive Business Data
Unlike backup information, sensitive business data includes valuable information critical for a company's daily operations. This is the information that, if lost, would be a disastrous blow to the business and adversely affect numerous systems and others sources of data, while negatively impacting daily revenue. You'll want to have this mission critical information nearby at all times instead of on the cloud, in case your cloud vendor has technical problems.

Storing data of any kind on the cloud can be a risk, but there are ways to mitigate the risks. With such an abundance of cloud providers, there are plenty of options for you to choose from for security purposes. Finding a vendor that encrypts data in motion as well as data at rest is a wise move, making it safer to store information of all types in the cloud. Just make sure you're aware of all the security measures a vendor takes, and you'll make an informed choice.

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“I’ve been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I’ve started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.” – Rick DelGado (@ricknotdelgado)