cloud_storageA 2013 Pew study indicates that 70% of Americans have access to broadband service, and they use the faster service in cloud computing for webmail, as well as for the data storage of photos, videos, and other files. You and your family may have started with Gmail or Yahoo, but now your content and online presence is on a number of cloud computing platforms. Cloud computing has seamlessly integrated into your everyday online existence. So, how do you protect yourself and your family, while using all those great storage and processing services online?

Protect Against Corruption or Loss

You’ll never forget that time your computer fried or your hard-drive crashed, or coffee destroyed your laptop. You lost most of your files and had to start over. Those horrible memories of corruption or loss stay with you, and it’s likely part of the reason you’ve started using cloud storage. You can save all those cherished baby photos “safely” up on the cloud, and then access them from anywhere, at any time.

Your most precious data and files are still vulnerable to attack, while they’re en-route to the cloud (in transfer), so make sure you use secure file transfer protocol–whether through a browser or via an application. Corruption and data loss are also inevitable possibilities. Something as simple as accidentally deleting the wrong folder or your 4-year-old haphazardly “playing” can destroy portions, (or all) of what you have saved in cloud storage. So make sure that you have your data saved in more than one location.

Password Protection

Password implementation and memorization is complicated, even under “normal” circumstances. You need a password sophisticated enough to withstand dictionary or brute-force hacker attacks, but still accessible enough for you and your family to easily remember. Then you must lay down rules for who will know the password. Any part of that process can be corrupted. You could tell the wrong person, or your child could give the password away. Be aware of what permissions each family member has, and stress on every person the importance of keeping those passwords secure.

Terms of Service – Do Your Research

It’s so easy to become comfortable with cloud services, and your online identity in general. It’s never too late to do your research on the cloud computing companies you’re using every day. Make sure you are putting your trust (and your data) in the right hands. Reputable companies have safe-guards in place to protect your baby pictures and your content, but it’s easy to become associated with the less reputable companies.

While you’re doing your research, you may want to take a look at some of the monitoring services like LifeLock’s identity theft protection. You do all you can to protect your family’s data (all those memories–in pictures and videos), but you must also be constantly vigilant to protect yourself and your family from identity thieves. Your personal files, pictures and other data offer a treasure trove of information that will allow thieves and criminals to gain access to your credit. By monitoring your online presence (or those activities associated with your name), you’ll also become more aware of what’s available for public access, both about you and about your kids. Don’t fear cloud computing, but do use care and monitoring services to ensure safety and security for you, your family, and all those files you hold dear.

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