Steps to securing data in the cloud and keeping your files safe

Securing data in the cloud involves a few small steps that any user can follow. Learn how to fortify your storage and prevent data breaches.
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Some people are still skeptical about cloud storage due to security concerns. Having your private files saved on a physical drive in your possession feels safer than entrusting them to a remote service.While it’s true that a typical cloud service carries a certain degree of risk, you can take numerous steps to ensure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. To help you safeguard your sensitive information, this guide will outline the most effective ways of securing data in the cloud.
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How to secure data in the cloud

Many people assume that securing cloud data involves complex processes and significant investments. In reality, it boils down to a set of simple security measures:
  1. Set strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication
  2. Beware of phishing attacks
  3. Secure endpoints and networks
  4. Have a data backup and recovery system in place
  5. Read the cloud provider’s privacy policy
  6. Choose services with end-to-end encryption

Don’t underestimate the power of complex passwords

Setting a strong password is the first and crucial step toward cloud security. Even the most advanced protection tools won’t do much if you leave your account vulnerable to password attacks, such as:
  • Brute force attacks
  • Dictionary attacks
  • Password spraying
Your passwords must contain a complex combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s also essential to vary them between your accounts, which many people don’t do. According to a LastPass survey from 2021, 65% of people use the same password or slight variations across different accounts.If an attacker steals a password that is the same or similar across all your accounts, they can access them all. Set a unique, strong password for each account to prevent this.Regardless of password strength, you should set up two-factor authentication as an additional security layer. It generates a one-time passcode sent to a trusted device, and nobody can access the account without it, even if the login credentials are correct.If you store extremely sensitive data on the cloud, you can go a step further and enable multi-factor authentication, which requires extra login steps beyond the one-time passcode. According to Microsoft’s research, multi-factor authentication stops 99.9% of password attacks, so you can rest assured your account is safe.

Look out for signs of phishing

Not every cyberattack involves a direct attempt to guess your password. Threats like phishing are designed to extract login credentials from you through social engineering and manipulation.Email is the most common phishing vector, as it’s the easiest way for an attacker to impersonate a legitimate sender. They might ask you to log into your account by following the provided link, which leads to a spoof page designed to record your credentials.In Q4 2022, the five most impersonated businesses were:
  1. Yahoo
  2. DHL
  3. Microsoft
  4. Google
  5. LinkedIn
Besides taking advantage of a brand’s reputation, phishing emails can be quite sophisticated. To avoid giving your credentials to an attacker, always check for common red flags:
  • Strange email address—The address typically won’t match the sender’s name and will be a random one
  • Unusual greetings—Reputable businesses almost exclusively mention your name in the greeting, so “Dear Customer” or “Sir/Madam” are common signs of phishing
  • Grammar errors or misspells—Even the smallest errors might indicate it’s a phishing email
  • False urgency—“Your account will be suspended if you don’t take X action”
If you receive any random requests for login credentials, it’s best to ignore them. When in doubt, reach out to the service in question and confirm the request before taking action.

Keep your devices and network secure

Your cloud drive isn’t the only attack point a malicious party might target. Endpoint vulnerabilities are a major concern, so you must secure devices with access to cloud storage. This is especially true for shared devices due to lower access control.Besides password-protecting your device and user accounts, you should install a robust antivirus solution. While capable platforms often come at a price, it’s usually a fair one and won’t significantly impact your budget.For additional safety, limit your connections to secured networks exclusively. Public Wi-Fi should be used as a last resort, and try not to access any sensitive data while connected to it. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) might offer some protection, but only if you choose a reliable provider.

Back up your data

Most cloud services let you create secure backups to prevent data loss. You should be able to access different versions of your backup and restore any of them.Many providers will back up your data and any changes automatically, so check to see if such features are available. If not, perform manual backups regularly and consider using multiple cloud drives to diversify your storage and mitigate the risks.

Read the fine print before committing to a provider

When thinking about cloud security, most users focus on external threats. They fail to acknowledge the dangers coming from the service provider, mainly in the form of privacy invasion.Many cloud services—especially Big Tech solutions—collect and monetize user data. They track your behavior and often use the findings to target you with personalized ads.While this, in most cases, doesn’t directly harm you, every user has the right to privacy and confidentiality. Much like you wouldn't want a bank official to look into your safe deposit box, you shouldn’t give a cloud provider access to your data and online behavior.
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Use end-to-end encryption for ultimate security

Encryption is a crucial cloud security measure. It turns your data into ciphertext, making it unreadable to everyone but the decryption key holder.This technology is used to protect all cloud data types:
Data in transitAny information traveling between endpoints
Data in useData actively used by a platform
Data at restArchived and stored data sitting on the cloud server
While almost every cloud provider offers encryption, most don’t go beyond securing data in transit or at rest using weak or outdated protocols. Worse yet, they encrypt your data using the key stored on their server, which means a provider can decrypt and see all your files.If you want complete privacy, choose a service offering end-to-end encryption. Unlike other types, it encrypts data on the device level and enables only the chosen recipients to decrypt it using a private key the provider has no access to.Your files reach the cloud server in the encrypted form, so nobody can see plaintext versions, even if there’s a breach. As long as you keep your device safe, you can enjoy full confidentiality.Finding a cloud provider that offers this level of security isn’t easy. If you need a privacy-first service that gives you full ownership of your files and data, sign up for Skiff Drive.

Skiff Drive—the best choice for cloud storage data security

Skiff Drive uses advanced end-to-end encryption to provide complete protection of all your files and data. Once your files reach the servers, nobody—including Skiff’s team—can decrypt and access them. Only the users you decide to share your files with can see their contents.To ensure total privacy, Skiff doesn’t store your login credentials or personal details—you don’t even have to provide any to get started. Using the Secure Remote Password algorithm, the platform supports zero-knowledge authentication, protecting every user’s confidentiality.You can set up two-factor authentication using the Authenticator app to safeguard your account from password attacks and phishing. As long as your device isn’t compromised by malware, nobody can steal the decryption key or access your account.Skiff is an open source platform, so you can visit its GitHub to inspect the code and verify all security measures. You can also read Skiff’s whitepaper for more information on the platform’s cryptography and features.

High-end security for everyone

Unlike many providers, Skiff doesn’t keep security and privacy features behind a paywall. The robust free plan gives you 10 GB of end-to-end encrypted storage alongside all of the above measures.Thanks to a carefully-designed user interface, you can leverage Skiff’s security practices regardless of your tech skills. Every feature is laid out intuitively to ensure a smooth experience.Skiff Drive offers optional IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) integration to let users store their files in a secure decentralized environment. You can also log into Skiff using various crypto wallets:

Four privacy-first platforms with one account

Besides Skiff Drive, you can use three additional end-to-end encrypted platforms with one account:Here’s how each platform can enhance your workflow and help you stay safe online:
Skiff MailSend end-to-end encrypted emails to keep your correspondence safe from prying eyes
Skiff PagesCreate and share unlimited docs to facilitate streamlined collaboration in a secure environment
Skiff CalendarSchedule events and meetings using the built-in video conferencing tool without privacy concerns

Get started for free, upgrade as needed

You can create a Skiff account and secure your files in three quick steps:
  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Choose your account name and password
  3. Upload your files to Skiff Drive and explore other privacy-first products
If you need more storage or additional features, you can choose between three paid plans:
  1. Essential (15 GB)—From $3 per month
  2. Pro (100 GB)—From $8 per month
  3. Business (1 TB)—From $12/user per month
Skiff is available on iOS, Android, macOS, and browsers. If you’re switching from another provider, you can use the one-click migration to transfer all your files and store them safely. Skiff won’t save unencrypted copies, so you can enjoy security and privacy immediately.

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