Tech Tips

June 29, 2014

The Files You Should Never Store in the Cloud

Most cloud services are reasonably safe. Still, there are files you should never store out there in the cloud. Here's what types of files you should keep safely local.
Dropbox is very handy for storing & sharing files between people. Some files, however, you should never store in Dropbox. Or any other public cloud storage platform.

Why not? Because data stored in cloud storage is not always secure. Some storage platforms do not use encryption. This leaves data vulnerable to theft during transmission from your computer to the cloud storage provider’s server.

Even if encryption is present – Dropbox does have encryption now, but didn’t always – you must also consider if the storage provider could potentially share your data with other businesses or the U.S. government. Dropbox was targeted by the NSA’s PRISM spying program last year. (Dropbox denied any involvement or willingness to cooperate.)

In either case, better to simply not put files in cloud storage which you don’t want getting out. Files like these:
  1. Business-Critical Data – Company mission information, future plans, customer data, proprietary product/service data, financials etc.
  2. Personally Identifiable Data – Social Security records, passport information, birthdate, etc.
  3. Information Related to Litigation – Files pertaining to legal proceedings of any kind
  4. Medical Files – Your medical history contains lots of identity-related data
  5. Tax Information – So does your annual tax filing information
Other files, which do not have such valuable personal or business data, should be safe to store in the cloud.

Play it safe when it comes to important data. Either keep it stored locally, or use a dedicated off-site storage from a trusted provider. If you try the latter, make sure to vet their security AND privacy practices. It’s your data we’re talking about!