The cloud is convenient, but it’s not infallible. While it’s wonderful to have access to your documents from anywhere in the world, it’s not that wonderful in the event of a security breach. Certain things shouldn’t be trusted to the convenience of the cloud. Are you leaving yourself vulnerable?
1. Very Personal Photos
The cloud is great for photo storage, but some photos need a little more privacy. This doesn’t necessarily mean scandalous photos – it just means photos you wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable with a stranger seeing. Private family photos or photos from a beach vacation where your group is wearing swimsuits may not be a great thing to store on the cloud, just in case someone else gets a hold of them.
2. Medical or Insurance Information
If you’re dealing with your insurance company via the internet, you might have your medical or insurance information in the cloud. Believe it or not, these kinds of documents contain enough information to give identity thieves something to go on. You can easily be impersonated through the wealth of details these documents contain.
3. Legal Information
If you’re involved in a court case, don’t store your information in the cloud. If your legal strategy or private correspondences between yourself and your lawyer are intercepted, you can damage an expensive court case. This is just as true for business law as it is for personal matters, divorce, personal injury, or custody cases.
4. Your Tax Info
Filing taxes online is convenient, especially if you’re self-employed. You might use tax software throughout the year to help you keep track of your income and expenses. While anything you send to the government is secure and confidential, anything you store in the cloud is not. Your tax information probably contains your social security number, full name, and home address. All this information could prove very dangerous if it falls into the hands of a stranger with malicious intent.
5. Images of Your Passport or Official Identification
If you need to prove your identity to a secure entity online, like for government services or ordering medications online, you’ve probably had to submit images of your official ID or your passport. Make sure these images aren’t being stored in the cloud. Images of the real thing make it easy for counterfeiters to produce fake documents.
6. Any Customer Related Information
If you run a business, you probably deal with a lot of customer data. It seems like every day there’s a new data breech, and a lot of those can be solved through the secure storage of that data. Since the cloud allows remote access, it’s infinitely easier for hackers and malicious software to break into. Never keep any customer data on the cloud, no matter how insignificant it may seem. One breach can cost you your entire business.
7. Credit Card Statements
Online bill pay is usually a safe and secure process. If you’re scanning your credit card statements to keep track of your spending and make sure you’re making your payments on time, you’re doing your job as a great record keeper. If these images wind up on the cloud, an identity thief can easily access all your credit accounts. Don’t risk it – identity theft as it pertains to credit information can leave damaging impressions on your credit score than can take years to sort out.
In short, if you’re unsure, don’t put it on the cloud. It’s better to carry around an encrypted thumb drive than it is to take chances with private information. You can never be too careful.
About the Author
Audrey Robinson is a business and careers consultant, currently supporting Datastical, an online knowledge library. While not working, Audrey enjoys learning about new technological advancements and gadgets. If you wish to, feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson.