iCloud, SkyDrive, DropBox, etc. – Are they secure? How do you know how much to trust “the cloud?” Here are the answers…
In most cases, when any service gets breached, they step up their security. One of the biggest reasons that services provide tight security is because they know their reputation depends on it. If they do suffer a breach, they might become more secure that anyone else – at least for a while.
Any data that is non-sensitive in any way, feel completely confident using any of the “cloud” services. This is both for convenience (so you can share between devices and share with people outside of your organization) and or “backup” or archival purposes.
Any data that you deem as slightly sensitive, but the consequences of a breach would be minimal, store that information in the cloud too. When you are making your decision, assume there is a 10% chance that this data will be exposed while in the cloud. In reality, the chance of exposure is probably significantly less than 1%, at least from a technology standpoint. I want you to be overly cautious when you choose what not to put into the cloud. User and Employee error is also an important factor to consider.
For an added protection: Encrypt the files and data before you put it into the cloud. If you use a service to backup your computer to the cloud, make positive to set the proper settings to encrypt those backups.
For your most sensitive data, store it only on computers that you have direct control over. Do not store any data in the cloud if the loss of the data would be devastating to you, your business, or your customers who trust you with their sensitive information. Period.
The key to knowing what to (and what not to) put into the cloud is to categorize your data and consider risks vs. benefits. Cloud storage can save you time, money, and provide added functionality. Make informed decisions about what to store there.