Storing & Sharing in the Cloud: Finding the Right Provider to Protect Your Privacy

Storing & Sharing in the Cloud: Finding the Right Provider to Protect Your Privacy

Right alongside messaging people in a secure manner, we have to think about how and where we are storing files in the cloud, and how those files are being shared with others. Likely the most common forum of storing files and data in the cloud is to use a service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Mega, One Drive, or the like. Most of these services have been developed to keep the user safe from account compromise – allowing two-factor or step authentication/verification to keep everything locked up. Google Drive would be my top pick of the above for account security as they manage millions of accounts every single day and have quite the automated system for authenticating and fighting hackers/jackers from compromising your account and stealing your sensitive information. They make use of things you know and things you have, like your password and your cell phone to block unwanted access.

See: Encrypted Cloud Storage Services on

However, the thing these services don’t do is prevent more powerful bodies from accessing your information and peeking in on the things you are storing with these services. Say you decide to store a Microsoft Excel document that you use for keeping track of all your financials inside of your Google Drive account. This file would not be encrypted on their server in a manner that only you could decrypt and could technically be viewed by anyone with enough credentials or clearance. This includes a government entity with a warrant. However, the majority of the population isn’t defending themselves against large entities like that so Google Drive is a fairly good solution for many of us.

The question stills remains on whether the average, ordinary person needs more security than what these services provide. I am an advocate for our privacy and a believer in encrypting everything we do online, so I would say yes! Because we can’t account for all the “what ifs” in the world, but we can eliminate a large chunk of them. There are services out there that provide complete security of your files with strong encryption. These services give us full control of our files in the cloud and keep them secure from even the company being able to snoop on them. I was and still am a user of ownCloud, a service that lets you host your own cloud-based storage. However, it isn't encrypted in a manner that keeps files at top-level security so I ended up switching. There is also room for question on whether just encrypting your sensitive information gives an adversary knowledge of what to target. If the majority of what you do online is in a plain-text manner, does that make your encrypted data more susceptible to attack?