Nowadays, the term “cloud” has come to mean more than overcast skies. It’s not just an opaque mass of water vapor, it’s also the mysterious place where digital data can be stored. Companies of all sizes advertise their cloud storage capabilities, and all the data you can securely save in their cloud. But many of us are foggy on what this big, powerful, data-filled “cloud” really is.

Demystifying cloud storage

Don’t let its name deceive you. The data storage bin we call “the cloud” is actually a farm (a server farm to be precise). Stacks of racks of hard drives store the data that we “save to the cloud.” The hard drives are stored in temperature-controlled rooms around the world. If you’re curious where your specific data lives, you can always ask your cloud provider. With cloud storage growing in popularity, there are many laws that govern the security and safe keeping of data, and governments continue to pass regulations to protect your information.

Preparation is key

Just like bringing an umbrella on a stormy day, there are measures you can take to protect the data and files you save to cloud storage. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • Be sure and use a strong password for all of your accounts. For tips and tricks on this topic, see Passwords & Furry Friends.
  • If possible, use a service with multi-factor authentication which prompts you to enter not only your password, but also your fingerprint or a secure access code (for example) to add another layer of security. For details on this topic, check out Three Free Ways to Protect Your Personal Information.
  • Read the fine print. Make sure that your cloud provider guarantees the integrity and protection of your data. If the website or app is using proper safety procedures, then they should state their process and your protection.
  • If you are uncomfortable using cloud storage, you have other options. Removable hard drives with massive storage space have become even more affordable. A 1TB hard drive will likely store all your essential personal files and a good amount of music and movies (which are much larger files). Be sure to back up important data here and disconnect them from your device to keep them safe. This can be a standalone solution or used in conjunction with cloud storage. Either way, using an external storage device will give you physical control over your data as well.

Your digital files and personal information are incredibly valuable. Whether you’re choosing to store information like your birthday and favorite restaurants, or you’re selecting which bank to entrust your personal data and financial information, we recommend you make your selections carefully.

Here at Camden National Bank, data security is a top priority. When you bank with us, we not only protect your personal information, but we’re also here to help. If you ever have questions or needs, please give us a call at 800-860-8821. Here for you 24/7!

And as always – have a cyber secure day!

By Will Klotz, CISSP, Information Security Analyst at Camden National Bank